Westmoreland high school notebook: Norwin pair going D-I

Sunday, April 4, 2021 | 4:28 PM

Norwin will send two more girls soccer players to NCAA Division I programs.

Junior forward Paloma Swankler announced she has committed to play at Robert Morris, and senior Morgan Sigut is headed to Long Island (N.Y.).

One of several speedsters for the Lady Knights, Swankler, an All-Big 5/6 Conference player, was a scoring threat who also helped facilitate goals.

Sigut also fits that description and has been a goal-scorer in the lineup since she was a sophomore.

“Paloma is a special player who gives every ounce on the field and will be sure to make a huge impression at RMU,” Norwin coach Lauren Karcher said. “We are lucky to have her and look for her to make the most of her senior season.”

Swankler had four goals and six assists last season for Norwin. She had 13 goals and seven helpers the previous season.

Sigut played mainly defense in two previous seasons. She missed much of her senior season with an injury. In 2019, Sigut had three goals and helped Norwin post nine shutouts on the way to a WPIAL runner-up finish.

“Morgan is an extremely versatile player whose talent and dedication will make an impact at the next level,” Karcher said. “I’m excited she found the right place to call home the next four years.”

Norwin’s 2020 team also featured Division I players in Pitt commits Lacey Bernick and Katelyn Kauffman, William & Mary recruit Anna Durmis and Maddie Rose, who is headed to Duquesne.

Swankler plays for the Beadling 2003 Girls North Elite team. Sigut plays for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy.

Tracking Whitlock

Belle Vernon two-sport star Devin Whitlock has added a third sport to his repertoire.

The junior is out for track and quickly made his presence known.

In the Leopards’ season opener, Whitlock won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and took first in the high jump.

Whitlock has Division I and II interest in football and basketball.

Discus record

Hempfield senior Bella Gera broke the school’s girls discus record Tuesday with a throw of 156 feet, 2 inches.

Mackenna Orie, now a thrower at DePaul, held the previous mark of 153-11 from 2019.

Gera is a Wake Forest commit.

On the ice

With a 6-2 victory over Mars on Monday, the Franklin Regional hockey team locked up a PIHL Class AA playoff berth after a year away from the postseason.

The team finished second in the Southeast Division behind Hempfield.

Luke Beatty had a hat trick for the Panthers in the clinching victory.

The Panthers will meet Hempfield again in the first round, but the game is far from local. The teams play at 9 p.m. Monday at the Belmont Ice Complex in Kittanning.

Franklin Regional (11-6-1), which has won two Penguins Cup titles, will be the No. 7 seed.

Penn-Trafford is an interesting story. The Warriors started the season 6-1, then lost six in a row to plummet into last place in the PIHL Class AA Southeast Division. They went winless in February.

But then the team won four of its final five to seize a playoff spot.

The clincher was a 6-1 win over Shaler as Xavier Solomon scored three goals, Josh Goldberg had a goal and two assists and Ben Chen and Bryce Kropszynski had a goal and assist each.

Norwin lax back

The Norwin boys and girls lacrosse teams recently returned from a 12-day shutdown over covid-19 issues.

The girls have played two games so far, and the boys won’t open the season until Tuesday when they host Peters Township.

Getting his kicks

Another Belle Vernon multisport athlete, junior Tyler Kovatch, is expected to be one of the top kickers and punters in the area in the fall.

He is starting to find a spot on scouts’ radars. As a result, he earned an invitation to a Chris Sailer Spring Kicking Camp in Las Vegas on May 15-16.

Sailer, a national kicking guru, and his staff will select two kickers and two punters for the 2022 All-American Bowl high school all-star game in Hawaii.

Net gains

Four Westmoreland boys teams are ranked in the latest Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association polls.

Penn-Trafford is No. 4 in Class AAA, with Hempfield, Norwin and Latrobe checking in at 6, 7 and 8.

In Class AA, Derry is ranked seventh.


Franklin Regional senior basketball player Kadyn Hannah, who had a breakout season for the Panthers, will continue his playing career at La Roche.

Hannah, a 6-foot-4 forward, averaged 17.8 points and seven rebounds a game and shot 57% from the field.

• Abby Krieger, a senior at Franklin Regional, will play tennis at Grove City.

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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