Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Honors roll in for Franklin Regional boys soccer

Saturday, November 16, 2019 | 8:31 PM

Franklin Regional was lauded for its unbeaten regular season and its second straight WPIAL boys soccer championship.

Sophomore forward Anthony DiFalco was awarded WPIAL Class 3A Player of the Year, and the Panthers’ Rand Hudson is coach of the year in the classification.

Additionally, senior Connor Hudson and junior Cole Kaforey joined DiFalco on the All-WPIAL team.

A number of Westmoreland-area players also garnered All-WPIAL recognition. They are:

• Class AAAA: Matt Federovich, Sr., Norwin

• Class AAA: Niko Apodiakos, Sr., Belle Vernon; Daniel Sassak, So., Belle Vernon; and Ross Ziemianski, Sr., Kiski Area

• Class AA: Jake Guerrini, Jr., Burrell; Nick Kariotis, Jr., Burrell; and Noah Kinter, Sr., Southmoreland

• Class A: Carlo Denis, Fr., Greensburg Central Catholic; Cam Frolo, Sr., Monessen; and Nate Ward, Greensburg Central Catholic.

Tyler Solis of GCC was named the Class A Coach of the Year.

Local girls All-WPIAL players are:

• Class AAAA: Lacey Bernick, Jr., Norwin; Eva Frankovic, Sr., Norwin; Megan Giesey, Sr., Penn-Trafford; Dani Iannuzzo, Sr., Norwin; Katelyn Kauffman, Jr., Norwin; Malia Kearns, So., Penn-Trafford; Sarah Nguyen, Sr., Penn-Trafford; and Emma Rain, Sr., Penn-Trafford

• Class AAA: Jillian Butchki, Jr., Belle Vernon; Marissa Grubbs, Sr., Belle Vernon; Sydney Lindeman, So., Franklin Regional; Courtney Moyer, Sr., Kiski Area; Christa Palla, Sr., Kiski Area; Sydney Palla, Sr., Kiski Area; Alyssa Poleski, Sr., Kiski Area; and Victoria Rothrauff, Sr., Franklin Regional

• Class AA: Gianna Appolonia, Sr., Yough; Justine Appolonia, Sr., Yough; Amber Biros, Sr., Yough; Danika Johnson, Sr., Burrell; Jordyn Kowalkowski, Jr., Burrell; Mackenzie Leeder, Jr. Mt. Pleasant; Delaney O’Brien, Sr., Burrell; Brooke Ulery, Jr., Mt. Pleasant; and Allie Vescio, Sr., Burrell

• Class A: Samantha Felder, Jr., Greensburg Central Catholic; Tatum Gretz, So., GCC; Samantha Nemeth, Sr., GCC; and Brenna Springer, Sr., GCC.


Beard gets a steak

Ligonier Valley senior John Beard walked away from the District 6 title game Friday with a steak dinner.

He rather would have had a third Class 2A district title.

Richland defeated Ligonier Valley, 34-6, at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona, ending the Rams season.

The seniors at Ligonier Valley finished with a combined record of 51-4 and played in four consecutive District 6 championship games, winning in 2016 and ‘17.

Beard earned his steak dinner with a first-quarter interception in the end zone. It was his seventh of the season.

Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel, who graduated from Penns Manor and had six interceptions his senior season, told his players if any of them got seven, he’d buy them a steak dinner.

“After he caught it, he came over to remind me,” Beitel said. “He earned it.”

Beitel called Beard the unsung hero of the team. He led the team in receptions with 50.

“I’m so proud of these seniors,” Beitel said. “They had an unbelievable career.”

It was probably Ligonier Valley’s final game in District 6. The WPIAL Board of Directors is meeting Monday and is likely to vote to bring Ligonier Valley back into the district after it left in 1969.

The PIAA will vote in early December to accept the transfer back to the WPIAL.


Fralic finalists

The six finalists have been selected for the inaugural Bill Fralic Memorial Award, which will recognize the WPIAL’s most outstanding lineman from this season in the name of Fralic, the late Penn Hills, Pitt and NFL standout.

The winner will be announced during a pancake breakfast Dec. 7 at Oakmont Country Club.

The finalists, one from each classification, are: 6A: Fintan Brose, Hempfield; 5A: Brenden Luffey, Moon; 4A: Logan Danielson, Thomas Jefferson; 3A: Elijah Mike, Aliquippa; 2A: Gerald Comedy, Washington; A: Zach Crutchman, Jeannette.


New showcase

There is a newly sponsored girls soccer showcase, and it is open to all WPIAL seniors who made all-section or All-WPIAL teams this season.

East Suburban Sports Medicine Center will host the ESSMC WPIAL Classic on Nov. 23 at Franklin Regional’s Panther Stadium in Murrysville.

The event begins at 1 p.m., and there could be multiple games, depending on the number of entries. The initial idea was to have one game for all-section players and another for All-WPIAL players.

College coaches have been invited to watch and the fans can purchase video of the event.

Senior players can register with a profile form and sent it to Rich Garland, the Franklin Regional girls soccer coach who spearheaded the event, at wphsgsca@gmail.com.



Franklin Regional senior football player Anthony Bonacci picked up his first Division I-FCS scholarship offer, from Valparaiso.

The 6-foot-1, 266-pound Bonacci was selected first-team Class 5A All-Big East Conference as a center.

Southmoreland senior softball pitcher Sophia Gatti signed a letter of intent to play at St. Francis (Pa.). What makes Gatti’s commitment unique is she did not play last season. She decided to take a year off from high school softball but played travel with 18U Outlaws Premier.

She is the sister of former Greensburg Central Catholic star pitcher Anna Marie Gatti, who played at Syracuse.

The elder Gatti is the pitching coach at St. Francis.


Winter is here

Official practice for WPIAL winter sports — basketball, swimming, wrestling, rifle and gymnastics — begins Monday. The first scrimmages are Nov. 23, and each season opens Dec. 6 (rifle starts Dec. 2.).

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

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