Westmoreland County high school notebook: Franklin Regional star picks Washington & Jefferson

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Saturday, April 27, 2024 | 11:01 AM


After a season to remember, Franklin Regional senior basketball player Cam Rowell made his college decision.

The 6-foot-5 guard announced he will play at Washington & Jefferson.

Rowell recently was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class 5A All-State Second Team.

The TribLive Westmoreland player of the year showed his end-to-end athleticism with finishes at the rim and slam dunks as Franklin Regional went 27-4 and finished as the runner-up in the WPIAL and PIAA.

A 1,000-plus-point career scorer, Rowell averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals a game as the Panthers made the state final for the first time in 27 years.

His backcourt counterpart and the other half of the “R&R” combo, senior point guard Cooper Rankin, also will play at the Division III level. Rankin will play at La Roche. He averaged 14.8 points, 3,4 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the Panthers.

Big Monday

Local fans have an abundance of top baseball and softball games to watch Monday.

Baseball has five series openers featuring section contenders. The games are Norwin at Hempfield (Section 2-6A), Franklin Regional at Plum 1-5A), Belle Vernon at Latrobe (2-4A), Mt. Pleasant at Waynesburg (4-3A) and Greensburg Central Catholic at Serra Catholic (3-2A).

Local softball matchups with section-title or playoff implications include Frazier at Jeannette (3-A), Latrobe at Penn-Trafford (2-5A), Ligonier Valley at Mt. Pleasant (3-3A) and Steel Valley at GCC (2-2A).

Feorene hired

Mike Feorene will lead the inaugural boys volleyball team at Franklin Regional, which will begin WPIAL play next spring.

Feorene, 54, coached the Panthers girls team for eight years and led them to a WPIAL championship and PIAA runner-up in 2020 before resigning the next season for family-related reasons.

Feorene seems like the right man for the job. He did, after all, start the Norwin boys program in 1994.

He coached the Knights for 10 years.

Serve and volley

A look at the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association Week 6 rankings shows Norwin (10-1) at No. 4, Penn-Trafford (10-2) at No. 5 and Hempfield (5-5) at No. 9 in Class 3A.

Derry (5-6) and Latrobe (5-6) are Nos. 7 and 8 in 2A.

Norwin senior outside hitter Jackson Genicola was one of the WPVCA’s four 3A players of the week.

Quotable

“Just because I’m small doesn’t mean I can’t be powerful and run with the big dogs.” — Norwin junior Melani Schmidt, who won three gold medals and earned track MVP honors at the WCCA Track and Field Championships

Recruiting

• Norwin senior cross country runner Julia Walko will continue her career at Case Western Reserve in Ohio. Walko was the recipient of Norwin’s $50,000 Murdoch Scholarship.

• Latrobe junior football player John Wetzel added another Division I offer, from Robert Morris.

• Kendall Berger, a junior basketball player at Norwin, picked up her third NCAA Division II scholarship offer, from Wheeling of the Mountain East Conference. Her other offers are from Fairmont State and Seton Hill. Berger averaged 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists this season for Norwin, which won the WPIAL 6A championship and finished 23-4.

Belle Vernon senior Grace West will play college soccer at Marywood, a Division III program in Scranton.

• Franklin Regional senior Nathan Kociela will continue his track and cross country career at IUP.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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