Scholastic Notebook – 05/24/2013

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Friday, May 24, 2013 | 3:05 PM


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Seneca Valley, North Allegheny and Pine-Richland are all located within 19 miles of each other in the Northern suburbs. In WPIAL baseball terms, the area between the three has turned into the Championship Triangle.

No area of the WPIAL has produced so much championship baseball lately – and this year just adds to the notion that the beasts of baseball are in that corridor just off Interstate 79 North or Route 19 North.

Seneca Valley and North Allegheny will meet Wednesday for the WPIAL Class AAAA championship. They play in the same section (1). Seneca Valley beat Pine-Richland in the semifinals. Pine-Richland also used to play in Section 1 before being moved to Section 4 this year.

The numbers point out how strong the North has been lately.

* In the past 10 seasons, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley have seven WPIAL titles in the largest classifcation.

* Overall since 2003, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley have nine WPIAL titles between them. Pine-Richland has four (three came in Class AAA and two of those came when NA and Seneca Valley were in Class AAAA), North Allegheny has three and Seneca Valley two.

* Over the past 10 seasons, Pine-Richland, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley have 12 championship appearances between them – five by North Allegheny, five by Pine-Richland and two by Seneca Valey. That number will go up to 14 this year because of North Allegheny and Seneca Valley meeting in the AAAA final.

“I think things are cyclical and we’re going through a cycle right now where the North is strong,” said North Allegheny coach Andy Maddox. “You have to remember that Shaler [another North suburban team] always is tough. When you’re playing tough games over and over it helps come playoff time. I know the rivalry and the competition between us, Seneca and Pine, I think, brings out the best in all of us.”

A Royal Debut

Vincentian didn’t have a track team in the WPIAL until this spring. The Royals’ venture of joining the WPIAL provided Ally Bartoszewicz and Ryan Archer an opportunity to make smashing debuts.

Bartoszewicz and Archer both won WPIAL Class AA championships last week – and Bartoszewicz won hers in grand fashion. Bartoszewicz won the 200-meter dash and set a Class AA championship meet record with a time of 24.93 seconds, breaking the mark of 24.95 by Quaker Valley’s Christa Rogers in 2008.

Bartoszewicz also finished second in the 100.

Archer won the 1,600 and also finished fifth in the 3,200.

There were 19 athletes (nine girls and 10 boys) on Vincentian’s team this year and four others brought home WPIAL medals in individual events.

Kayla Key finished fourth in the 400 and fifth in the 200. Kristyna Finikotis finished second in the 800 and third in the 1,600. Archer’s twin brother, Alex, placed sixth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 3,200. Andrew Koryak was fifth in the 800.

Also, Vincentian’s girls 400 relay team placed second.

Top Seeds From WPIAL

Bartoszewicz is one of only seven athletes from the WPIAL who are No. 1 seeds in individual events for the PIAA track and field championships today (Friday) and tomorrow at Shippensburg University. Bartoszewicz is the No. 1 seed in the Class AA girls 200.

Also in Class AA girls, California’s Kailyn Clancy is the top seed for the shot put at 43-0 and Fort Cherry’s Jenna Lucas No. 1 in the javelin at 145-8.

In Class AAA girls, Shaler’s Brianna Schwartz is the No. 1 seed in the 1,600 with a time of 4:47.07. Also, Ambridge’s India McCoy is tied for the No. 1 seed in the high jump at 5-7.

In boys competition, Riverview’s Tyler Murphy is the No. 1 seed for the Class AA 300 hurdles at 38.89 and Woodland Hills’ Isaiah Brooks the top long jumper in Class AAA at 23-8.

Vincentian Coach Still Suspended

While Vincentian’s track program provided some good news for the private school in McCandless, Vincentian got some bad news Wednesday when the PIAA upheld an earlier WPIAL decision, suspending Vincentian football coach Tim Storino for this season for allegedly recruiting players.

The WPIAL originally suspended Storino but he appealed the ruling to the PIAA. After a hearing with Storino Wednesday, the PIAA voted, 5-2, to uphold Storino’s suspension for the 2013 season.

Finding His Niche in Volleyball

Tommy Keisling was once in line to be the starting quarterback at North Allegheny. Then Mack Leftwich moved into the North Allegheny district in the spring of 2011 and became the star QB at NA, beating out Keisling and leading the Tigers to back-to-back WPIAL titles in 2011 and 2012.

Keisling eventually gave up football after his junior year and became a smash hit in volleyball.

Keisling was named the WPIAL Class AAA vollebyall MVP Thursday night, the same night he helped North Allegheny win its 10th title in 11 years. NA beat Bethel Park, 3-2, in the title match.

Volleyball also is Keisling’s future sport, playing next season at Juniata.

Practice Change

There is a slight change to how Pennsylvania high school football teams can practice next season.

On Wednesday, the PIAA passed a rule that prohibits teams from having practice with contact more than three days a week. The rule goes into effect once the season starts.

The new rule shouldn’t affect teams much. Most practice light on Thursdays, the day before a game.

From Coach to Wild Thing

Andrew Heck recently completed his first season as Sewickley Academy’s baseball coach, helping the Indians to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2006. Now he goes from coach to player.

Heck is an outfielder for the Washington Wild Things independent minor-league team. The Wild Things are 3-3 so far and Heck is hitting .182. He is a graduate of North Hills High School who played at Duquesne University until the program folded. He finished his career at Oklahoma State.

Coaching News

Tis the season for coaching moves – in all sports.

* Dave Keefer is the new football coach at Greensburg Salem. He was an assistant for the Lions for the past eight years.

* Wrestling power Canon-McMillan needs a new coach after highly successful Chris Mary stepped down this week. The Big Macs coach since the 2000-01 season, he had a 213-44 record in 13 years and guided the team to an unprecedented four consecutive WPIAL AAA team titles.

* The Burrell wrestling team has won seven consecutive WPIAL Class AA titles and it now has a new coach in Josh Shields, who knows a thing or two about winning. He had 147 victories during his career at Burrell before going to Mercyhurst, where he won an NCAA Division II title and finished second once. Shields was a Burrell assistant last year.

* Shawn Bennis didn’t stay out of coaching long as he was hired as Burrell’s new boys basketball coach. Bennis coached at Kiski Area and Highlands. He was at Highlands for three years before stepping down after the 2011-12 season.

* Dan Palm coached the Belle Vernon baseball team to the WPIAL Class AAA championship game last year, but the Belle Vernon school board voted, 8-0, this week to open his position. Despite Palm’s success he was suspended by the district three games this year for unspecified reasons and the PIAA placed the baseball program on two years probation after a fight erupted in a PIAA playoff game last year. Palm was ejected from that game.

* North Hills hired Lauren Wilmus as girls basketball coach. Wilmus played at Carlynton and Seton Hill and was an assistant coach at Bishop Canevin, which won the Class AA state championship this year.

* Joe Eisaman was named girls basketball coach at Greensburg Central Catholic. He was an assistant for the Centurions.

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