Westmoreland County high school notebook: Franklin Regional establishes sports hall of fame

Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 10:01 AM

From now until April 29, Franklin Regional is taking nominations for its inaugural hall of fame class.

A longtime idea that was finally brought to fruition, the Franklin Regional Athletics Hall of Fame will launch this year.

While halls of fame are not as popular as one might think, at least in Westmoreland County, Franklin Regional believes its strong sports history should be recognized and preserved for years to come.

Norwin and Jeannette have halls of fame, while Penn-Trafford has one for football.

“In short, this is overdue,” athletic director Zach Kessler said. “We have a rich tradition of interscholastic athletics and it’s time to honor those people who have helped establish our legacy.”

Kessler said the original plan was to induct the first class in fall of 2020, but the pandemic did not allow that.

“Our committee has worked hard to lay the groundwork for this Hall of Fame,” Kessler said. “It will continue to evolve and grow over time. It’s also important to tell the story of those folks who found success early on in the history of our school district that people now may not know much about.”

The hall of fame committee includes Kessler, Franklin Regional principal Ronald Suvak, board of directors president Herbert Yingling and alums Roberta Chunko, Dom Berardinelli, Eli Visnick, Richard Bullock, and Tina Gillen (ex officio).

Initial inductees will be chosen by the committee and notified in the summer. They will be invited to an induction ceremony before a home football game that has yet to be determined.

Nomination forms and additional information can be found at www.frsdk12.org.

Governing body

Southmoreland senior Anthony Govern believes in the merits of playing multiple sports. He will play football and wrestle in college at Waynesburg.

But before his high school career comes to a close, he is going to throw the javelin this spring.

Govern competed in the PIAA wrestling championships on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday and was back in baseball mode Monday.

Govern has made the playoffs twice in football and wrestling, helping the Scotties to their first playoff win in the latter sport. He was a conference offensive player of the year as a quarterback in football.

His wants his final go-round in baseball to last.

“Baseball was my first love,” Govern said. “I would love to see us make the playoffs this year.”

Salvino coming back

Boys basketball coach Joe Salvino plans to return for a fifth season at Belle Vernon, and 39th overall. The longtime coach led Monessen for 34 years.

Salvino earned his 700th win this season when Belle Vernon defeated Obama Academy, 73-51, in the PIAA Class 4A first round. He said he has unfinished business with the Leopards.

“There are things I want to accomplish here,” said Salvino, 70. “I want us to win a WPIAL championship.”

Always anxious to get to the next game, Salvino isn’t one to reflect much on the past — at least not at this time.

“The 700th win was nice, but it’s not like they’re sending me to Disney World or giving me a new car,” he said. “It shows how long I have been doing this. It’s about the players, not me. Maybe when it’s all said and done, I’ll have a chance to look back on the accomplishments.”

Volleyball ranks

Several Westmoreland County teams made the cut for the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association preseason polls.

North Allegheny (3A) and Seton LaSalle (2A) own the No. 1 spots.

Seneca Valley, the 3A runner-up, is No. 2, followed by Penn-Trafford, Hempfield and Shaler.

In 2A, Ambridge, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, North Catholic and Hopewell round out the top five.

Norwin checks in at No. 6 in 3A and Latrobe is No. 10.

In 2A, Derry is No. 10.

Helping out

Some former standouts are giving back to their alma maters this season as assistant coaches.

Cousins JP Pellis and Tommy Pellis, both former stars at Greensburg Central Catholic, are serving on the Centurions’ baseball staff. JP Pellis pitched at IUP, while Tommy Pellis was a standout hitter at Penn and Seton Hill.

And at nearby Hempfield, Ali Belgiovane has joined the softball staff under new head coach Tina (Skelly) Madison.

Belgiovane played shortstop for the Spartans before finishing her playing career at Pitt-Johnstown.

Rocco on the rise

North Catholic sophomore basketball player Alayna Rocco is fast becoming one of the top WPIAL guards in the Class of 2024.

Rocco is the daughter of former Penn-Trafford boys basketball coach Jim Rocco.

A second-year starter for the WPIAL champion Trojanettes, Rocco was often the top scorer this season.

“She was great last year but has really elevated her game,” North Catholic coach Molly Rottman said. “She started to get to the hoop more. And she is improving defensively. She often had to guard the other team’s best player.”

Rocco also has Division I college offers from Bowling Green, Toledo, Charlotte and Akron.


Greensburg Central Catholic soccer standout Mason Fabean, a senior midfielder, announced his intentions to play at Division II Seton Hill. Fabean had 27 goals and 14 assists for the Centurions, who returned to the PIAA playoffs. He was an All-WPIAL selection.

• A pair of Hempfield senior girls have secured their college plans. Julianna Paronish will play field hockey at Washington & Jefferson, while Taylor Fordyce is headed to Allegheny to play lacrosse.

• Senior Dwight Sarver of Greensburg Salem will continue his track and field career at Seton Hill. Sarver throws the javelin, discus and shot put. Also a wrestler, he was a WPIAL qualifier in the discus and shot put last season.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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