Westmoreland high school notebook: Norwin softball standout commits to St. Francis (Pa.)

Sunday, October 16, 2022 | 5:40 PM

Power-hitting catcher Madie Kessler is a Division I commit.

The senior from Norwin gave a verbal pledge to Saint Francis (Pa.) of the Northeast Conference.

Kessler is a standout catcher who also has played in the outfield and some third base at the travel level.

Kessler said the educational environment was just as important to her as the softball amenities.

“My decision was easy,” Kessler said. “The first time I walked on campus it just felt right. I talked to professors, and I knew that I wanted a smaller class size with intimate learning where the professors care. Saint Francis provides just that.”

Kessler hit .362 with five home runs and 16 RBIs last season for Norwin. As a sophomore, she hit 10 homers, drove in 24 and scored 20 runs.

“I went to a camp this fall on campus and met a lot of the girls on the team who were all working toward a common goal,” Kessler said of visiting SFU in Loretto. “The atmosphere that the players and coaches made was just the place where I felt comfortable and wanted to be. Coach (Jessica) O’Donnell, coach (Elysse) Petrie and coach (Jackson) Frank push their players to be their best while caring for them on and off the field.”


Polosky to Pitt

Latrobe senior Hannah Polosky will continue her diving career at Pitt.

Polosky, who used to be a competitive gymnast when she lived in Norman, Okla., took up 1-meter diving when she moved to Latrobe.

She won the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championship last year and broke the Latrobe record (held by Taylor Miller) with a score of 324.60. She finished second at the WPIAL Class 3A championships and qualified for the PIAA meet.

She also had interest from Arkansas, East Carolina, Colorado State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Wyoming and Kansas.


Interest grows in Tapper

Major college offers are coming in fast for Hempfield throwing ace Liz Tapper.

The senior, considered one of the top throwers in the nation, is now up to seven Division I offers after she added Michigan, Ohio State and Kentucky last week.

Tapper won the PIAA Class 3A discus (153 feet) and shot put (46-4 1/4 ) titles last spring.

She went on to win a discus title at the New Balance Nationals with a throw of 163-2.


Williams to SRU

Kayla Williams, a junior softball player at Latrobe, committed to play at Slippery Rock, a Division II program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Williams is a pitcher and utility player for the Wildcats. Last season, she went 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 21 walks in 81 innings.


Dynasty continues

Greensburg Central Catholic won its eighth consecutive girls golf championship — the first without a Zambruno in the lineup — to keep its reign alive in the WPIAL.

GCC has won the second-most girls golf titles in WPIAL history. The record is 12 held by Upper St. Clair (1994-2005).

GCC will go for its third PIAA title as it competes in the state tournament at Penn State. GCC won state championships in 2018 and ‘19.

The Lady Centurions have finished second in the PIAA five times.


State golf

The PIAA golf championships will be Monday through Wednesday at the Blue Course at Penn State.

The tournaments previously had been played at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

Local boys qualifiers are: junior Nick Turwoski of Penn-Trafford (3A); and seniors Hunter Jurica of Derry,

Wade Boyle of Greensburg Central Catholic and Josh Harbert of Ligonier, and junior Rogan Maloney of Belle Vernon (2A).

The only local girls qualifier is Greensburg Central Catholic junior Izzy Aigner.

This year’s finals are 36 holes.

Turowski tied for fourth last year, while Jurica tied for sixth.

Aigner carded a tie for 10th.

The last Westmoreland boys player to win a state golf title was Palmer Jackson of Franklin Regional in 2018.

The last local girl to win was Olivia Zambruno of Greensburg Central Catholic (2016, ‘14).

The GCC and Mt. Pleasant girls will compete for state team titles.


Good sports

Kaia Conte of Penn-Trafford and Avery Massaro of Latrobe were winners of the new Western Pennsylvania Girls’ Tennis Sportsmanship Award for Class 3A.

Opposing players and coaches or WPIAL officials can make nominations. Juniors and seniors are eligible.

A similar award will be announced in the spring for boys tennis.


Skatell wins

Latrobe sophomore Emerson Skatell won the girls race at the YouthTowne Clash cross country meet in Clinton. Skatell finished in 18 minutes, 16.22 seconds.

Another Wildcats sophomore, Carley Berk, took eighth in 19:40.13.


Club level

The WPIAL is using a four-course rotation for its individual golf championships between Oakmont Country Club, Allegheny Country Club, Valley Brook Country Club and Butler Country Club.

The league announced 2023 and ‘24 sites.

The boys 3A finals next year will be at Oakmont, with 2A at Butler. The girls’ 3A and 2A finals will be at Allegheny.

In ‘24, Valley Brook will host 3A boys, and 2A will be played at Allegheny. The girls tournaments will be at Oakmont.

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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