Westmoreland high school notebook: Flickinger stepping down as Derry baseball coach

Sunday, August 28, 2022 | 5:35 PM

Derry baseball coach John Flickinger is stepping down after 11 years at the position.

“Flick,” who coached for 23 years overall with the program, is leaving to spend more time with his family.

A 1992 Trojans alum, he will go out on top, in a sense. He led Derry to a section title last season, the program’s first since his senior year of high school.

Flickinger, 48, who was an All-American as a senior third baseman/catcher at IUP, had a record of 85-95 with five WPIAL playoff appearances in 10 seasons. The 2020 season was canceled because of the initial covid-19 outbreak.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was time,” Flickinger said. “I need to be there for my kids. I am going to coach at the 8U and 10U level now. I really enjoyed the time here as coach, and to do it at my alma mater is special. It’s not about the wins and losses. I couldn’t tell you how many wins we had this year or that year.

“But I can tell you what my former players are up to nowadays. It’s about the relationships and helping the kids become better people. I’ll miss that. That is what it’s all about.”

Flickinger will continue to work as a health and physical education teacher at Derry, where he began working in 2005.

Tapper offered

Hempfield star thrower Liz Tapper continues to see an upswing in her college recruiting as she begins her senior year.

Tapper received a Division I scholarship offer from Michigan State. The reigning PIAA Class 3A discus and shot put champion, she also has offers from Penn State and Duke.

Tapper won the New Balance Nationals title in the discus with a throw of 163 feet, 2 inches at Franklin Field in Philadelphia this summer.

Bilinsky Erie-bound

Mercyhurst will be the college destination of Norwin senior basketball player Adam Bilinsky.

The athletic guard made a verbal commitment to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference school in Erie.

The 6-foot-3 Bilinsky also had offers from West Chester, Seton Hill, Pitt-Johnstown and D’Youville.

Bilinsky averaged 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks last season for the Knights.

Cernuto to play in PSAC

Southmoreland three-sport standout Olivia Cernuto not only settled on a sport for college, but she also nailed down a school.

The senior announced she will play basketball at Gannon of the PSAC.

Cernuto, also a talented soccer player and jumper in track and field, had basketball scholarship offers from IUP and Seton Hill, also PSAC schools.

The 5-foot-9 point guard averaged 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season. Southmoreland is 60-12 with her in the lineup. The Scotties have made the WPIAL semifinals three straight years and reached the finals when Cernuto was a freshman.

Low Leps

Belle Vernon’s boys golfers took down a team record that lasted nearly 15 years.

The Leopards posted five sub-40 rounds to post an even-par 175 on Monday in a win over Frazier at Cedarbrook Golf Course (Red) in Rostraver.

Jordan Mocello led with a 2-under-par 33, Patrick Bush and Sam Tomalski matched 1-under 34s, Rogan Maloney finished at even 35 and Jack Edwards shot 39.

The record of 186 was set by the 2007 team.

Record breaker

Hempfield has a new school record for cross country. Senior Owen Dematt broke the previous mark with a time of 17 minutes, 55 seconds.


Norwin football player AJ Clemens, the team’s only returning starting lineman, has an opportunity to play at Division III Waynesburg.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Clemens is an offensive tackle and defensive end.

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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