Thomas Jefferson athletes sign letters of intent, break records

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Friday, April 5, 2019 | 1:50 PM


Notebook items in and around the Thomas Jefferson High School campus:

• The senior class has hit double digits.

No less than 10 seniors have signed letters of intent for college, where they will continue their academic/athletic careers.

They include Darius Barrett (Clarion/football), A.J. Meshanko (California, Pa./soccer), Jenna Clark (Yale/basketball), Josh Reynolds (Pitt-Johnstown/baseball), Max Shaw (North Carolina/wrestling), Alex Territ (Washington & Jefferson/football) and Dom Serapiglia (Tulsa/football).

Three others — Sydney Moran (Duquesne/volleyball), Alex Weber (Pitt-Johnstown/wrestling) and Haleigh Karcher (West Chester/softball) — signed with colleges earlier in the school year.

Also, Mac Duda had approximately 15 offers from MAC and Ivy League football programs, but had not made a decision prior to the South Hills Record deadline.

• Shaw was a WPIAL wrestling champion and third-place finisher in the state at 195 pounds this season. He placed third in both the WPIAL and PIAA last year.

“Max took third (at PIAAs) after suffering a tough loss in the quarterfinals,” coach Michael Ladick said.

Shaw ended up with a perfect 33-0 record against WPIAL competition in 2018-19, and was 38-1 overall. He compiled a 34-4 mark as a junior and wrapped up his career 86-30 overall.

Weber also was a PIAA qualifier this season, racking up a 38-5 record. His career mark stands at 108-30.

“I’m very proud for Alex,” Ladick said, “as he suffered an injury at the WPIAL tournament and did everything he could to compete.”

• The highly talented gymnastics squad has won back-to-back state titles. The Jaguars also won the WPIAL championship this year, and have won three consecutive section crowns with undefeated records all three years.

Three of the catalysts in the program are juniors Natalie Galioto, Natalie Moore and Demi Kondos. They were flanked by seniors Kylie McCormick, Angelina Gambino, Adara Getsy and Courtney Kelley; and juniors Jade Conway and Maria Costa.

Rounding out the team were sophomores Erin Grueber, Jackie Gunther and Anna Weber; and freshmen Kaylee Rehak, Sophia Stoicovy and Kamryn Kameg.

Two of the unsung team members were Gambino and Getsy.

“I’m thrilled to be an original member of TJ’s very first gymnastics team,” Gambino said. “It’s truly an honor to be able to say that myself and four of my friends formed a gymnastics team for our school. My best friend since second grade, Courtney Kelley, has been the pioneer, anchor and captain of our team. Athletic Director Bill Cherpak and our head coach, Jodi Cummings, helped us to become a school-sponsored sport. Members of the school board have also been so supportive.

“This group of girls and coaches have been like a second family to me. Often, in the world of athletics, you hear about teammates and the bonds they form. My teammates and I have created that close bond. We are together in and out of school, and are truly like sisters.”

Getsy enjoyed her time at practices and at the meets.

“Deciding to join TJ gymnastics was a great experience for me,” Getsy said. “I love the coaches, my teammates, and being able to compete in this sport with them. It has taught me to work hard for the goals I want to achieve, and to never stop until I accomplish them. This program is growing and will continue to do so.”

• Liz Brock was a two-year starter at first base on the softball team.

Brock, a 2018 graduate, also was the No. 1 player as a senior on the girls tennis team, and held the anchor position on the girls bowling team for four years. On the lanes, she was named section MVP three times, first-team All-WPIAL twice and league MVP once.

Brock is continuing her bowling career at St. Francis in Loretto on an academic/athletic scholarship, and is studying nursing.

TJ was a WPIAL finalist and PIAA semifinalist in Class 5A last year.

“No one expected us to make it as far as we did,” said Brock, who hit .320 as a senior. “That gave us more motivation to prove them wrong. Our underclassmen really stepped up.”

• Shaw and junior Dan Deabner were named to the 2018 Pennsylvania Football Writers Class 4A all-state team at the running back and wide receiver positions, respectively.

Shaw, who also started at linebacker, rushed for 1,971 yards and 35 touchdowns last season and set a new team record of 9.2 yards per carry.

Deabner reeled in 59 passes for 1,365 yards and 19 scores. He averaged 23.1 yards per catch, and set a new team record for receiving yards in a season.

• There are 10 juniors in the softball program this spring.

They are Jenna Kisner (OF), Abby Chalovich (IF), Jackie Burich (OF), Mackenzie Zang (OF/C), Tyler Turk (P/1B), Bella Regna (3B), Bella Bucy (P/OF), Haley Woods (OF), Alana Cleary (OF) and Hannah Singo (IF).

There also are nine freshman prospects in the program, consisting of Julia Rayman (IF), Graci Fairman (UTIL), Delaney Beasock (OF), Emma Stock (3B), Jessica Lee (UTIL), Natasha Davis (OF), Savannah Mallozzi (IF), Brianna Kibe (P/OF) and Kameg (OF).

Rounding out the list of players on this year’s roster are seniors Haleigh Karcher (C) and Mackenzie Alava (OF); and sophomores Lillian Rockwell (1B), Jessica Prezioso (OF/IF), Paige Truax (2B), Claire Whalen (OF) and Jordan Snyder (IF).

Coach Heidi Karcher’s assistants are Kylie Hartbauer, John “Hoppy” Mitruski and Skylar Meier.

• Four team records were broken in the swimming program this winter.

Hallie Findlan posted a 24.22 time in the 50-yard freestyle, beating her own record. She also registered a 53.61 in the 100 freestyle to again break her own record.

Luke Pletz logged a 58.13 time in the 100 butterfly, shattering his record from last year’s WPIAL championships. He also clicked for a 58.43 in the 100 backstroke, eclipsing the record held by Zach Virgin since 2010

Findlan and Pletz are sophomores.

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