Westmoreland high school notebook: Big year for Belle Vernon sports

Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 6:27 PM

It is far from finished, but Belle Vernon already can look back on a successful 2019-20 sports year.

With the boys basketball team making it to the WPIAL Class 4A championship, the Leopards were well-represented in the district postseason in recent months.

The basketball team had not played in the finals since 1978.

Junior Ian Shahan broke his Class AAA record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 49.02 seconds at the WPIAL swimming championships on Thursday at Pitt’s Trees Pool. He also won the 100-yard freestyle (44.68) to break another one of his meet records. Shahan is a five-time WPIAL champion.

In wrestling, junior Cole Weightman advanced to Saturday’s 195-pound final at the WPIAL Class AAA championships and is headed to the PIAA tournament in Hershey.

In November, the football team made its first appearance in the WPIAL championship in a decade, going head-to-head with conference rival Thomas Jefferson at Heinz Field.

The boys soccer team won a section title and reached the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals before finishing at 17-2. The Leopards posted the best regular season winning percentage in program history (94.1).

The girls soccer team followed suit, winning a section title with a 12-0 mark and reaching the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals. The Leopards were 16-5.

Senior Jake Caldwell and freshman Patrick Bush tied for the Section 2 golf title, and Caldwell went on to a third-place finish in the Class AAA semifinals to qualify for the WPIAL championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Junior Maria Kruppa advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA girls golf finals at Diamond Run Golf Club.

“Special year …,” athletic director and football coach Matt Humbert said. “It’s not hard to see when a group of kids that stick together and work extremely hard, success can happen. We have had many underclassmen contribute in all fall and winter sports so far, but this group of seniors is a special one.”

State hoops

Three teams from Westmoreland will continue on to the PIAA playoffs, the Belle Vernon and Ligonier Valley boys, and the Southmoreland girls.

All three teams reached district championship games.

State game times and sites have not been announced.

Belle Vernon (19-7), the WPIAL runner-up, will play the District 9 champion Clearfield (15-9) in the PIAA Class 4A first round Friday night.

District 6 runner-up Ligonier Valley (23-3) will take on WPIAL fifth-place team Carlynton (15-9) in the Class 3A state first round Saturday.

And WPIAL runner-up Southmoreland (24-1) will play Huntingdon (13-11), the runner-up in District 6, in the opening round of the Class 4A state tournament Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

Hockey playoffs

The PIHL postseason is here, and several local teams will compete for championships. The playoffs begin Monday.

In Class AA, Southeast Division leader Latrobe (16-1) will host Armstrong (7-9) at 7:15 p.m. at Kirk Nevin Arena, and second-place Hempfield (11-7) plays Plum (9-8) at 8 at Pittsburgh Ice Arena.

Northeast first-place team Kiski Area (12-7) will take on Norwin (15-4) at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday in Class A.

Burrell (8-9) made the Class B playoffs and faces Carrick (15-1) 9 p.m. Monday at Ice Castle Arena.

Maund fundraiser

Penn-Trafford is renovating its baseball field in Harrison City, and the project includes artificial turf for the infield.

But a special memorial also will be set up to honor a former Warriors standout pitcher.

The Penn-Trafford Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club is having a “Give It Your All” online apparel fundraiser to purchase a bench in the name of Maclean Maund, who was killed in an auto accident last month on Route 130 near Jeannette.

Maund, who was 18, also played for the Bushy Run Legion team. He was a freshman pitcher at Seton Hill.

“Give it your all” was a quote from a college essay Maund wrote to Seton Hill.

A donation also will be made to the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.

SADD will be selling T-shirts ($15-20) and hoodies ($30-35) from Sunday through March 31.

The website is https://macmaundfundraiser.itemorder.com/sale.


Franklin Regional soccer player Chris Daugherty will continue his playing career at Waynesburg. Daugherty was a midfielder for the Panthers, who have won back-to-back WPIAL Class AAA championships.

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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