Thomas Jefferson notebook: Kulish coaches prep for boys soccer opener

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Friday, August 9, 2019 | 8:56 PM


News from around the Thomas Jefferson campus:

• Michael “Doc” Kulish is beginning his 27th year as coach of the boys soccer program. He has 364 wins in his career at TJ.

His son, Michael Jr., is starting his 18th season as the junior varsity coach. Michael Jr. has registered his fair share of victories as JV coach.

“We have never been big on keeping track of wins and losses for the JV team,” Doc Kulish said. “We’ve always had a philosophy the JV team is more of a developmental program.”

The varsity team finished 16-6-1 in 2018, advancing to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals and PIAA first round.

The home opener is at 10 a.m. on Sept. 17 against Baldwin.

• Mike Huber, a rising senior, competed for the Renegades Elite 17U baseball team this summer, traveling to tournaments in Atlanta, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Huber played first base most of the summer. That was his primary position at TJ, coached by Tim Vickers.

“I have been, and always will be, a huge fan of my players playing high-level travel baseball in the summer,” said Vickers, who recently returned from a vacation at Riviera Maya. “I’m sure Mike has seen great overall competition and pitching all summer.

“I’ve always been the type that stays in contact with my players over the summer. Mike has told me he is (looking) a bit more (while batting) and hitting mistakes. His power numbers were way up as a result. I fully expect Mike to be a huge contributor for the Jaguars in 2020. He has the ability to be one of the rare natural leaders that every team needs to be successful.”

Huber led the Jaguars in several offensive categories last season and proved to be an offensive catalyst for the Renegades.

“Mike is the type of player that simply needs reps,” Vickers said. “He has a ton of natural talent, from his swing to his defense to his overall baseball IQ. We talked a lot this past season about his patience at the plate and how it may have hurt his power numbers.”

• TopDrawerSoccer, which covers recruiting and ranks teams on a nationwide scale, lauded recent grad A.J. Meshanko as a 2018 all-state selection.

Meshanko, who also was the starting kicker on the football team, will continue his soccer career at Cal (Pa.) this fall.

• Mac Duda, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior lineman, committed to Princeton after receiving offers from all eight Ivy League schools.

An all-conference selection at offensive tackle last year, Duda had nearly 30 football offers.

Three other TJ gridders — Shane Stump (QB/DB), Dan Deabner (WR/DB) and James Martinis (TE/LB) — have offers from Valparaiso.

As of the end of July, Stump also had offers from Dayton and Howard.

Deabner recently was named to the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason All-Star team.

• The first day of classes is Aug. 23 for students attending the newly built high school, which is patterned after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Va., with a red brick facade and white pillars at the entry.

The 300,000-square-foot school is located on 161 acres off Old Clairton Road. One of the new features in the building is an eight-lane swimming pool.

A unique feature in the school’s athletic wing is the synthetic turf that lines one hallway. The hallway is long enough for indoor training.

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