Westmoreland County high school notebook: Softball field to be named for beloved Jeannette employee

Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Jeannette athletic director Adrian Batts thought the softball field behind the high school needed more than bleachers and well-manicured grass for an up-and-coming program.

It needed a name, too.

Jeannette this week will name the field after a longtime and well-regarded district employee, Dana Hall, who died in 2020 from covid-19.

A dedication will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday at the field.

“When we play teams, they reach out to me wanting to know, ‘What is the name of your field?’” Batts said. “I just tell them, ‘Jeannette field. It’s behind the high school.’ But now, I can put Dana Hall Field on the schedules.”

Hall was 55 when she died in November 2020. She worked in the school district for 17 years as a secretary at McKee Elementary and as a special education secretary.

She and her husband, Larry, were married for 30 years. She is the sister-in-law of former Jeannette football coach Roy Hall.

Dana Hall did not have a prolific softball background, but she is known for her positivity around the district.

“Since I have been in Jeannette for 16 years, nobody has ever had anything bad to say about Dana,” Batts said. “She was always upbeat and happy. She always had a smile on her face.

“There are a lot of all-stars here, but she was one of the brightest.”

The softball team (5-2) is nearing its first WPIAL playoff berth since 2019.

All-state hoops

Four girls from Westmoreland County schools were named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers all-state basketball teams.

Mt. Pleasant senior forward Tiffany Zelmore, the Trib Westmoreland’s player of the year, made the Class 3A second team.

The Norwin pair of junior Lauren Palangio and sophomore Kendall Berger were selected for the Class 6A third team.

Erica Gribble of Greensburg Central Catholic was picked for the Class 2A second team. She was one of three freshmen statewide to earn selection.

Zelmore averaged 28.8 points last season and finished with 1,629, second-most in school history, for a playoff team.

The 6-foot-1 Palangio (11.9 ppg) and backcourt standout Berger (13.2 ppg) helped Norwin to a 24-5 record and a trip to the WPIAL and PIAA semifinals.

Gribble had a breakthrough year, averaging 16.9 points for a PIAA semifinalist. She already has two NCAA Division I scholarship offers.

Kessler player of week

Penn-Trafford senior Andrew Kessler was selected as one of the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 3A players of the week.

The 6-foot-5 senior plays outside hitter for the Warriors, who are ranked No. 2 behind Shaler.

Hempfield is No. 5, and Norwin is No. 6.

In Class 2A, Latrobe is holding onto the No. 1 spot, while Derry is No. 6.

Records fall

Belle Vernon had a pair of track and field records fall last week.

Farrah Reader became the new record holder in the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 9.5 inches. Luke Henderson, meanwhile, set the standard in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 45.73 seconds.


Several Hempfield student-athletes signed college letters of intent to play at the next level.

They are Camryn Watters (Penn State Behrend), Dan Jeffries (Washington & Jefferson) and Liam Randolph (Washington & Jefferson) for swimming; J.P. Gera (Walsh) and Lindsay Simmons (Point Park) for track and field; and Abby Blahovec (Penn State) and Madi Dingler (Penn State) for cheerleading.

Franklin Regional junior soccer player Leah Brockett made a commitment to play at Allegheny. Brockett is a midfielder for the Panthers.

• Ashley Baker, a senior at Derry, will continue her track and field career at Ohio Northern. Baker is a long- and triple-jumper. She is a three-sport athlete for the Trojans, competing in track, cross country and diving. She has qualified for WPIAL championships in each sport.

Yough senior soccer player Alexis Wieland committed to Waynesburg.

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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