Westmoreland County high school notebook: WCCA hands out scholarships

Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 11:01 AM

The Westmoreland County Coaches Association announced its latest scholarship winners.

The 2024 Nicholas Pecoraro Memorial will go to Mikaela Shine of Derry, Noah Mulac of Norwin is the recipient of the Robert Van Atta Memorial Scholarship and Breann Poole of Southmoreland will take home the Dr. Larry Sellitto Memorial Scholarship.

All three will receive $2,000.

Five others from the county earned $1,200 scholarships: Sidney Campbell of Monessen, Ryan Long of Valley, Hannah Uhrinek of Hempfield, Gabrielle Feth of Valley and Henry Krom of Latrobe.

The recipients will accept their checks at the WCCA Wrestling Championships in January.

First since ‘Koko’

Mt. Lebanon senior pitcher David Shields, with his entourage of pro scouts lining up three rows deep to get his fastball on their radar guns, recently was named the Gatorade Pennsylvania Baseball Player of the Year.

While the WPIAL has done quite well with this award over the last decade-plus, the hard-throwing lefty Shields was the first WPIAL player to win the award since a local name did it seven years ago.

Latrobe’s Zach Kokoska was the last District 7 player to collect top-player honors, in 2017 when he helped the Wildcats win WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A championships.

Shields is committed to Miami but is expected to be an early-round MLB Draft pick next month.

A 10th-round pick in 2021, Kokoska is in Double-A with the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies).

Other WPIAL winners of the Gatorade award are Alex Kirilloff of Plum (2016), Brendan McKay of Blackhawk (2013, ‘14), Zak Sinclair of West Allegheny (2008), Neil Walker of Pine-Richland (2004), Josh Wilson of Mt. Lebanon (1999), Paul Failla of North Allegheny (1991) and Doug Peters of Shenango (1986).

Another for Gribble

Erica Gribble welcomed another NCAA Division I scholarship offer, the latest in a bunch of them coming from Richmond of the Atlantic 10.

Gribble, who eclipsed 1,000 career points in the WPIAL playoffs last season, averaged 19.4 points for GCC, which won the WPIAL Class 2A championship.

Softball ends early

Who knew softball season in Westmoreland County would be over just three days into June?

Norwin made the WPIAL Class 6A final, but only the champion from that classification advances, so the Knights’ season ended against Seneca Valley at Cal (Pa.).

With Ligonier Valley, Penn-Trafford and Latrobe losing in Monday’s PIAA first round, there are no local teams left in the state tournaments.

This is the first time since 2006 that a Westmoreland County team has not reached the PIAA quarterfinals.

The area produced a state champion five straight years from 2016-21.

A local team has made the state finals six times in eight seasons.

LV co-op

The Somerset Area Hockey Association formed a co-operative sponsorship with Ligonier Valley, North Star and Cambria Heights for the 2026-27 ice hockey season.

The SAHA fields teams in grades five through 12, which includes the Laurel Mountain Developmental Hockey League (grades five through eight), junior varsity and varsity.


Hempfield senior Adam Hess will continue playing baseball at Cal (Pa.) of the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Hess is an outfielder and first baseman who also did some pitching for the Spartans.

This season, he hit .281 with four doubles, a home run, 14 RBIs and 16 runs scored. He was 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six appearances (11 1/3 innings) on the mound.

Dunn coaching again

Longtime Mt. Pleasant boys basketball coach Joe Dunn will be back on the sidelines at another WPIAL program in the winter.

Dunn, who has been out of coaching for more than a decade, was hired to coach the Charleroi boys.

He also coached the Trinity boys for 11 years and led the boys team at Seton LaSalle before that.

He led significant turnarounds at Mt. Pleasant and Trinity.

At Mt. Pleasant, he won 145 games.

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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