Westmoreland high school notebook: Girls soccer talent abounds in area

Sunday, November 6, 2022 | 4:09 PM

Girls soccer talent is bubbling over in Westmoreland County, as evidenced by postseason playoff runs, career scoring milestones and Division I commitments.

The proof also lies in the All-WPIAL list, which was released last week.

Mt. Pleasant, which made the WPIAL Class 2A final for the first time, had five selections: sophomore forward Rylin Bugosh, senior midfielder Marissa Garn, freshman forward Morgan Gesinski, junior midfielder Riley Gesinski, and junior defender Maggie Piper.

Latrobe, a WPIAL 3A semifinalist and PIAA qualifier, had four picks: junior midfielder Ella Bulava, senior goalkeeper Sofia DeCerb, junior midfielder Regan Reilly and sophomore midfielder Robin Reilly.

Also making the list were Greensburg Central Catholic’s Sara Felder (Sr., F) and Riley Kerr (So., F), who guided the Centurions to the WPIAL semis and PIAA tournament in Class A; Aris Lamanna (Jr., GK) and Sierra Todero (Sr., F) of Franklin Regional; Norwin senior defender Reagan Casper; McKenzie Pritts (Sr., F) and Kendalyn Umbel (So., MF) of Yough; senior midfielder Kendall Fabery of Southmoreland; Belle Vernon senior forward Farrah Reader; and Burrell senior midfielder Ali Hughes.

Heisman pose

Belle Vernon’s Viva Kreis and Grady Smith of Ellwood City are Pennsylvania’s winners of the annual High School Heisman Scholarship, given to a senior male and female from each state “who understand that the most important victories happen not only on the field, but also in their schools and communities.”

Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship. They are now eligible for national awards.

Twelve national finalists from six regions will receive an additional $2,000 in scholarship money, and one male and one female will win the national award and $10,000.

Regional finalists will be announced today.

Kreis plays basketball and runs track and cross country at Belle Vernon.

Smith plays basketball, golf and tennis. He played on Ellwood City’s 2021 WPIAL championship team.

New Derry baseball coach

Derry hired Tom Kelly as baseball coach after the August resignation of veteran coach John Flickinger.

Kelly, who also is a Derry alum, was Flickinger’s assistant.

Like Flickinger, Kelly played baseball at Derry and at the college level, at Westmoreland County Community College and Penn State Altoona. He was the junior varsity coach for four years after serving as the middle school coach.

He played semi-professional baseball in Arizona’s Desert Sun League.

Flickinger, a former All-American at IUP, was in charge of the Trojans for 11 seasons and guided the team to an 85-95 record with five WPIAL playoff appearances. In 2021, he led them to their first section title since 1992 and their first playoff win since 2005.

Sign of the times

Wednesday is national signing day for all high school sports except football.

Athletes can begin signing with Division I and II schools from then until Aug. 1.

Basketball and football have a slightly different schedule. Basketball’s early signing period goes from Wednesday through Nov. 16, while the regular period if April 12-May 17.

The football early period is Dec. 21-23, and the regular signing window runs from Feb. 1-April 1 (Division I) and Feb. 1-Aug. 1 (Division II).

Three-horse race?

It is very early and the season is five months long, but the PIHL Class A Blue Division is shaping up to be a three-team race.

Greensburg Salem is 5-0 and tied for first place with Fox Chapel (5-1) at 10 points. Norwin stood at 4-1, with its only loss to Greensburg Salem.

Not surprisingly, Greensburg Salem leads the classifcication in goals with 41. Fox Chapel and Norwin are tied for second with 37 apiece.

A game to watch tonight at Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar features Greensburg Salem visiting Fox Chapel for a 6 p.m. faceoff.


Norwin senior Xander Smith accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play football at Buffalo.

Smith brings a unique talent as a long snapper. Kohl’s Kicking Camps rates him as the No. 1 player at the position in Pennsylvania for the Class of 2023.

Franklin Regional senior soccer player Riley Phillips committed to play at Division III Christopher Newport in Newport News, Va., which plays in the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference.

Christopher Newport is the defending national champion.

Phillips comes from an athletic family. Her father, Doug, was a football and basketball standout at Jeannette, and her cousin is Hempfield quarterback and lacrosse player Jake Phillips.

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

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