Scholastic Notebook – 05/13/2016

Friday, May 13, 2016 | 9:59 PM

Plum High School’s nickname is Mustangs. But when it comes to athletes, Plum has a thoroughbred in Ashley Amato.

The MSA Sports staff doesn’t name a female athlete of the year until late June. But you would think Amato will get serious consideration.

There are three-season rooms in houses, but Plum houses a three-sport standout in Amato. And in the spring, she shines brightest. So far this track and field season, Amato has the best 200-meter time in WPIAL Class AAA at 25.3 seconds. She has the third-best 100 hurdles time of 14.69 and is tied for the third-best 100 time at 12.2.  She is has the third-best AAA long jump at 18-2 ¾.

At the Baldwin Invitational last Friday, Amato won the long jump, was second in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 200.

But Amato’s outstanding athletic ability isn’t limited to sprints, hurdles and jumps. She has made a mark on the pitch and court also.

In soccer, Amato was the WPIAL’s sixth-leading goal scorer during the regular season with 30. She was an all-section performer. But Amato also played on Plum’s girls basketball team.

So what is Amato’s best sport and her future sport? Soccer. She has signed to play soccer at the University of Akron.

Wiltrout Makes Few Throws Count

Connellsville’s Madison Wiltrout isn’t going all out yet in javelin competitions because of elbow surgery last summer. But it has taken only a handful of throws this spring to put Wiltrout among the best throwers in the country.

Wiltrout, a junior, set a national high school record in the javelin last year with a throw of 185 feet, 8 inches. She easily won WPIAL and PIAA titles, but injured her right elbow at the PIAA championships and had “Tommy John” surgery last summer.

WIltrout has thrown in only three competitions this year. She has thrown a total of five times, but won every competition. And on Thursday, she threw 158 feet to win a WPIAL qualifier. That was the best of her five throws this season and it also is the third-best in the country this spring, according to Track and Field News.

Wiltrout threw only once in her first competition this year and twice at last Friday’s Baldwin Invitational. She threw only twice at the WPIAL qualifier. WIltrout said she hasn’t let loose yet this season. She is hoping to do that at the PIAA championships in two weeks. She also is qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in July.

Forfeits Cost Belle Vernon Softball

The WPIAL released playoff brackets for softball Thursday. Belle Vernon should have been on the brackets, but three forfeits cost the Leopards a shot at defending their WPIAL Class AAA title.

On Wednesday, Belle Vernon informed the WPIAL that it forfeited wins against Trinity, West Mifflin and Ringgold because Belle Vernon used two ineligible players in those games. The players were ineligible because they were freshmen who played on the ninth-grade team and then were moved up to the varsity later in the season, which is not allowed under PIAA and WPIAL rules.

Under the rules, an athlete who starts the season and plays even just one game on the ninth-grade team, must stay on the ninth-grade team the rest of the season. Ninth-graders can’t be moved up to the varsity/JV under any circumstance once they play a game on a ninth-grade team.

Belle Vernon had qualified for the playoffs as the No. 2 team in Class AAA Section 3. The three losses moved the Leopards to fourth place. One of the forfeits was to Trinity. The forfeit win moved Trinity from fourth place to third, ahead of Belle Vernon.

Foxes on a Roll

If you want a sleeper team for the WPIAL baseball playoffs, how about Fox Chapel?  The Foxes could be a team to watch in the Class AAAA tournament for one reason: Pitching.

Fox Chapel has not allowed a run in three consecutive games and those three games were against pretty fair competiton. Fox Chapel beat Mt. Lebanon, 3-0, Shady Side Academy, 8-0, and North Hills, 1-0.

But shutouts are not rare for Fox Chapel this season. The Foxes are 14-5 and eight of their wins came by shutout.

Stepping Up the Schedule

The Vincentian Academy baseball team had impressive records the past two regular seasons, but fizzled quickly in the postseason, losing Class A first-round games both years.

Many questioned Vincentian’s legitimacy the past two years because the Royals beat up on some weak non-section opponents. This year’s team is 14-6, but you have to feel a lot different about Vincentian heading into the playoffs this season because the Royals stepped up their non-section schedule big time.

Vincentian played Riverside in a non-section game early in the season. Riverside is one of the top Class AA teams. At the end of the season, Vincentian has played two good Class AAAA teams (North Hills and Butler) as well as another good Class AA team (Avonworth).  And Vincentian was very competitive in the games. Vincentian lost to North Hills, 4-3, lost to Avonworth, 9-8, and lost to Butler, 6-2.

Vincentian Hires Boys Coach

Speaking of Vincentian, the Royals hired a new boys basketball coach this week. The school hired Shelton Carney, who played at Robert Morris fro 1990-94. Carney replaces George Yokitis, who was highly successful before leaving recently to become Montour’s coach.

Top Soccer Coach Retires

One of the top boys soccer coaches in the WPIAL has decided it’s time to step away from the game.

Ron Wilcher has retired as Mt. Lebanon’s coach. He had been at the helm for 31 seasons and won six WPIAL championships. The Wilcher name has been associated with Mt. Lebanon soccer – forever. Or at least as long as there has been soccer at the school.

Ron’s father, John, was Mt. Lebanon’s first coach in 1972. He stayed until he left to become Allegheny College’s coach in 1985. That’s when Ron took over.

0 for the Season – Again

Another baseball season has come and gone at Aliquippa – and it’s another winless campaign for the Quips.

It is not known what is the longest losing streak in WPIAL history in any sport. But Aliquippa baseball would have to be near the top of the list, if not at the top.

The Quips went 0-11 this year and stretched their losing streak to 105 games. They were 0-10 in section, including a forfeit to Sewickley Academy to end the season. Aliquippa came close to winning once, losing by only 8-5 to Cornell in a non-section game.

Aliquippa hasn’t won a baseball game since 2008

‘Bama Recruits WPIAL

Alabama has offered a scholarship to another WPIAL football player. The Crimson Tide offered Beaver Falls lineman Donovan Jeter this week.

That makes four WPIAL players known to have received offers from Alabama, the NCAA national champion. The others are Clairton junior defensive back Lamont Wade, Pittsburgh Central Catholic junior lineman C.J. Thorpe and Pine-Richland sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec. But Thorpe already has committed to Penn State.

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