Scholastic Notebook – 05/18/2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013 | 10:49 PM




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She is only a sophomore, but it’s not too early in Brianna Schwartz’s career to come to this conclusion: She is one of the top distance runners in the history of the WPIAL.

Schwartz had already done some impressive things during her career, and what she did at Thursday’s WPIAL track championships put her among the best in WPIAL history. Heck, you could even mention her in the same breath as Carole Zajac, arguably the best distance runner in WPIAL history.

Schwartz won the Class AAA 1,600 in the championships at Baldwin with a time of 4 minutes, 47.07 seconds. Not only was it a WPIAL Class AAA championship-meet record, it was the best 1,600 time in WPIAL history in any meet, bettering Zajac’s mark of 4:51.6 in 1990.

While that was impressive and garnered Schwartz attention, it wasn’t the only record-breaking mark for Schwartz. She also won the 800 with a championship-meet record of 2:10.38. It was also the second-best mark in any meet in WPIAL history. The only better mark was 2:10.31 by Kelly Langhans of North Allegheny in 2007.

So Schwartz is among the best in WPIAL history in two races. On top of all that, she won the WPIAL Class AAA cross-country championship last fall.  It could be said a running legend is in the making.

Shot for Shai

One of the more eye-opening performances at the WPIAL track and field championships was turned in by Washington’s Shai McKenzie, who won the WPIAL Class AA shot put title. What makes it rare is that McKenzie is a star halfback in football and has scholarship offers from Division I colleges across the country.

It’s not often you see a star halfback in football who is so successful in the … shot put? McKenzie also was fourth in the 100-meter dash and ran a leg on Washington’s 400 relay team that finished first.

A Rare Double Take

Fox Chapel’s Ethan Martin won the 1,600 and 3,200, which is a rarity in Class AAA. The last time a runner in the highest classification won both the 1,600 and 3,200 was North Hills Ian Fitzgerald in 2003.

What’s funny is that Fitzgerald’s coach at North Hills was John Wilkie. It turns out Wilkie also coaches Ethan Martin and his twin brother, Colin, a few days a week away from Fox Chapel.

It was a 1-2 finish for the Martins in the 1,600 as Colin finished second, less than one second behind Ethan. Colin finished third in the 3,200.

New Faces

The WPIAL baseball semifinals will be Tuesday and some old faces are still alive. Teams like Seneca Valley, North Allegheny, Hopewell, Serra and California are no strangers to such big games.

But this year, there are a number of new faces in the semifinals who have either never won a championship or won only one. Hempfield, Keystone Oaks, Deer Lakes and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart are semifinalists who have never won a championship. Quaker Valley and Western Beaver have won only one championship. Quaker Valley’s came in 1984 and Western Beaver in 2000.

Preston Power

OLSH’s Preston Falascino had one of the most powerful seasons of any player in the WPIAL. Falascino tied for second in the WPIAL for home runs with five. He also tied for fourth in RBIs with 29.

Falascino was one of the main cogs in OLSH’s strong offense this season. OLSH has scored double figures in runs in 12 of 20 games.

Panther Power

Not only has the Riverside girls softball team been unbeatable this season, the Panthers are close to being unscored upon.

Riverside has a 16-0 record and the only team to score on Riverside is Mohawk, who scored on Riverside twice. Mohawk scored five runs on Riverside in one game and one run in another.

Riverside has made it to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals and plays Steel Valley. Riverside has a scoreless streak of nine games.

Mary Gets National Award

It was already a memorable 2013 for Canon-McMillan wrestling coach Chris Mary. But it just got even more memorable. Mary was named this week as the national Coach of the Year by Wrestling USA Magazine.

Mary guided Canon-McMillan to an unprecedented fourth consecutive WPIAL team title and a PIAA championship. Also, three of his wrestlers won state titles. Now comes this coach of the year award. Mary has a 214-42 career record in matches.

Menhart Resigns

John Menhart’s second stint as Carmichaels football coach is over.

Menhart resigned earlier this week. He took over the Mike in 2009, but his first stint lasted from 1989-2002. He made the WPIAL playoffs three of the past four seasons.

Where Are They Now?

Three former WPIAL softball standouts won major awards for the Robert Morris softball team.

West Allegheny graduate Ashley Gerhart, a freshman, was named the Northeast Conference rookie of the year.

Ellwood City graduate Samathan Santillo, a Robert Morris sophomore, won the Northeast Golden Glove Award, given to the conference’s best defensive player.

Sophomore Nicole Sleith, a graduate of Yough, won the Northeast pitcher of the year.

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