Westmoreland high school notebook: GCC’s Kerr chooses college

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Sunday, December 10, 2023 | 3:45 PM


The recruiting process ended just as quickly as it began for Riley Kerr.

After the WPIAL girls soccer season concluded with a rare first-round loss for Greensburg Central Catholic, the junior forward began to get a feel for the lay of the land.

She gauged interest and looked for the right fit at a program that not only had a sound program but also was not too far away.

She found that in St. Francis (Pa.), a Division I program in Loretto.

“I really liked how it was close to home, I always had in mind that I wanted to be close to home going to college and a smaller school because that’s what I’ve grown up,” Kerr said. “I like the community feel to the school.

“I had other schools interested, but I just felt that school was the right fit. I liked the coaches and the campus, and I felt comfortable and at home there.”

Kerr had 40 goals and 18 assists last season for GCC and will take a total of 102 career goals into her senior season.

Leopards double up

Westmoreland County already had one for the thumb. Now it has a sixth state football title.

Belle Vernon won back-to-back WPIAL 3A titles and doubled down with its second consecutive PIAA championship with a 38-7 win Saturday over Northwestern Lehigh.

The Leopards (13-1) became the second two-time winner from the county.

Other local state champs are: Franklin Regional (2005), Jeannette (2007, ’17), and Penn-Trafford (2021).

Belle Vernon is the first repeat winner from the WPIAL since Central Valley in 2020 and ’21.

Other repeat champs were: Thomas Jefferson (2019, ’20), South Fayette (2013, ’14), Clairton (2009, ’10, ’11, ’12), TJ (2007, ’08), Rochester (2000, ’01) and Farrell (1995, ’96).

Belle Vernon will move up to Class 4A next season.

All-state netters 

Senior setter Ella Dindak of Penn-Trafford (Class 4A) and sophomore right-side hitter Ashlyn Black of Greensburg Central Catholic (Class A) were named to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state lists.

Position opened 

Penn-Trafford operates on one-year contracts, and the district decided not to renew the contract of boys soccer coach Ben Suchko, who coached the Warriors for one season.

Penn-Trafford finished 5-11-2, going 1-6-1 in its final eight games and missing the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

Suchko, a Hempfield graduate, was an assistant at Yough from 2008-11.

Then there were two 

With Deer Lakes winning its first playoff game in football, there are only two WPIAL teams that have not won a postseason game.

Southmoreland, the team that lost to Deer Lakes in the 3A first round, has made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. But the Scotties have yet to win a playoff game.

The other school without a postseason win is Summit Academy, a school for adjudicated youth near Butler.

Recruiting

Franklin Regional senior baseball player Blake Bertucci announced he will continue his playing career at Gannon. Bertucci is a right-handed pitcher for the Panthers.

Latrobe junior football standout Alex Tatsch, a running back and linebacker, added Akron to his growing list of Division I scholarship offers.

Norwin senior soccer player will continue her playing career at IUP, which plays in the Division II PSAC. Graham played at Norwin this season after transferring from Greensburg Central Catholic.

• Luke Denny, a senior football standout at Norwin, received a preferred walk-on offer from Division I Akron. Denny is a wide receiver and defensive back.

• Penn-Trafford senior football player Carmen Metcalfe was offered a preferred walk-on spot at West Virginia. The all-conference defensive back, known for his ball-hawking skills, also picked up a Division II offer from West Virginia State.

• West Virginia State also offered Hempfield senior H-back and linebacker Brennan Knight.

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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