Scholastic Notebook – 05/19/2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012 | 4:59 PM

Aliquippa High School doesn’t have a track where athletes can practice. But the Quips always seem to have kids in the fast lane.

On Thursday night at Baldwin, Aliquippa’s 400-meter relay won the WPIAL Class AA championship in grand fashion, setting a meet record and a school record with a time of 42.87 seconds. The team consisted of Hassan Thompson, Shaquere McBride, Dravon Henry and Kaylan Kenney.

While this team’s run was impressive, having a group of top sprinters is nothing new for Aliquippa, despite the school not having a track. It was the seventh time in nine years that Aliquippa won the 400 relay title.

“It’s what we do,” said Aliquippa coach Sherman McBride, whose son, Shaquere, was a member of this year’s team.

McBride has been the head coach or assistant for all of the championship relay teams.

“These guys got the school record and they deserve what they got,” McBride said.

But when asked if this was the best relay team he has ever had, McBride said, “I don’t know if I’d go that far.”

McBride brought up the 2005 400 relay team that won a PIAA title. That team included Tommie Campbell, Byron Wilson, Mike Washington and Desmond Patrick.

Some of the relay teams have included future NFL players. Darrelle Revis, Jonathan Baldwin and Tommie Campbell (all in the NFL these days) have all been part of gold-medal relay teams. Without a track, Aliquippa practices in a school parking lot, or hallways, or another school’s track.

Hempfield Shines

The Hempfield girls track and field team won the WPIAL Division I team championship this year. Obviously, the Spartans had a wide variety of talented athletes – and that showed at the WPIAL individual championships Thursday.

Three different Hempfield girls won Class AAA individual titles and Hempfield also won the 400 relay. Jasmine Jones won the 200-meter dash, Maddie Holmberg the long jump and Larisa Debich the pole vault. Debich set a Class AAA meet record. The winning 400 relay team was made up of Alexandria Rupert, Bridget Guy, Jasmine Jones, and Ravenne O’Lear.

Still Going Strong

It was pointed out on the MSA Scholastic Notebook a week ago that Thomas Jefferson pitcher Greg Schneider had a regular season for the ages. He allowed only two runs, one earned, during the regular season and had an 8-0 record.

Schneider kept up the torrid pace in the WPIAL playoffs.

Schneider pitched nine shutout innings in the Class AAA quarterfinals Wednesday against Hampton. Thomas Jefferson eventually won the game, 1-0. He had 17 strikeouts in the game.
Schneider will pitch in the semifinals Monday against Blackhawk (7 p.m. game at North Allegheny). He now has a 24-inning scoreless streak. During that streak, he has allowed only 10 hits.

Blackhawk will pitch top sophomore Brendan McKay, who has a 6-1 record.

Burgettstown Hires Football Coach

Burgettstown hired a new football coach this week, and he is pretty familiar with Blue Devil football. Terry Havelka is a 1975

Burgettstown graduate who played quarterback for the Blue Devils.
Havelka, 55, has been an assistant coach for 25 years. He will be a busy man the next school year, because he will continue to be Burgettstown’s head wrestling coach. He has held that job for 19 years.

Havelka succeeds Matt Taylor, who left to become Keystone Oaks’ coach.


Shaler hired Neil Martin as its girls basketball coach. Martin had been Northgate’s girls coach.

It will be Shaler’s third coach in two years. Eric Mozzetti was highly successful and won a WPIAL title in 2011. But he stepped down at the start of this past season because of health issues. Melissa McQuade was an assistant coach and took over the team after Mozzetti left. But McQuade decided not to return.

Where Are They Now?

Neil Walker isn’t the only Pine-Richland graduate in the major leagues now. Blake Lalli, a former Pine-Richland player, was called up by the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

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