Westmoreland high school notebook: PIHL all-stars headed to RMU

Sunday, January 8, 2023 | 5:48 PM

Robert Morris’ Island Sports Center will be the place for the PIHL All-Star Games on Jan. 29.

The Division 2 all-stars will play in the first of five games, beginning at noon.

Class A will have two games: Class A Gold will play at 1:40, followed by Class A Blue at 3:20.

Class 2A takes the ice at 5, with 3A to play at 6:30.

Players were selected by class and will be sorted into teams closer to the date of the games.

Westmoreland players selected include:

Division 2: Caden Canfield (F), Julian Kemp (D), Riley Wislie (D) and Conner Kariotis (GK) of Burrell. Class A Blue: Owen Turich (F), Carter Cherok (F), Chase Kushner (F), Colten Humphrey (F), Noah Outly (D), Landon Morrison (D) and Tristan Gonzales (GK) of Greensburg Salem; Ethan George (F), Kyle Guido (F) and Ethan Bombalski (D) of Kiski Area; and Mario Cavallaro (F), Alex Thomas (F), Dom Cerilli (F), Joey Vecchio (F), Dom Costantino (D) and Owen Burmeister (GK) of Norwin. Class 2A: Matt Knizner (F), Luke Lavrich (F), Max Rutkowski (F) and Brett Bowser (D) of Franklin Regional; Peyton Myers (F), JD Robinson (F), Fletcher Harvey (F), Jack Beddick (D), Reid West (D) and Connor Keddie (GK) of Latrobe; Nick Bruno (F), Caden Horton (F) and Chase Sankey (GK) of Hempfield; and Xavier Solomon (F), Nate Loughner (F), Bryce Kropczyinski (F), Chase Bonson (D), Cam Kiste (D) and Jackson Kerrigan (GK) of Penn-Trafford.

Corey Mentch of Greensburg Salem will coach the Class A Blue team.

100 for Thomas

Norwin hockey standout Alex Thomas reached a career milestone Thursday when the Knights defeated Greensburg Salem, 8-5.

Thomas recorded the 100th point of his career.

This season, the crafty forward has a team-leading 17 goals and 20 assists. He has four power-play goals.

Football openings

Five county schools have head football coaching vacancies to fill. Two could be filled this week.

Norwin has a board meeting Monday and will vote to hire Mike Brown, who resigned Friday from Hempfield after two seasons as coach.

Dave Brozeski stepped down at the end of October after nine years leading the Knights.

Greensburg Salem will meet Wednesday to vote on Ty George to be head coach. George was an assistant with the Golden Lions.

Mt. Pleasant began interviews last week after opening a position held by Jason Fazekas for six years. The district advertised the position and accepted applicants until Dec. 21.

Fazekas can reapply.

Greensburg Central Catholic, meanwhile, is in the initial stages of the hiring process after learning of Marko Thomas’ resignation last week.

Thomas guided the Centurions for two years.

Tapper No. 1 in U.S.

Hempfield had another strong showing in its second indoor track and field meet of the season.

Senior Liz Tapper broke the school record in the shot put with a hefty toss of 49 feet, 1.5 inches, which is the No. 1 mark in the country and seventh-farthest in state history.

Tapper, a Michigan commit, also won the weight throw.

For the boys, senior JP Gera won the weight throw with a personal-best 52-8.5, which is the top throw in the state. Junior Peyton Murray won the shot put with a throw of 52-2. Gera was second.

Senior Tyson Gregory won the high jump at 5-6.

Belle Vernon junior Sienna Steeber also had a strong showing by winning the pole vault with a height of 9-8.

Jeannette girls snap streak

Jeannette had been close.

The girls basketball team lost by three to Geibel and was dealt five-point losses to Propel Montour, Sto-Rox and Hundred, W.Va.

But last Wednesday night, the Jayhawks finally broke through.

The team broke a 51-game losing streak with a 68-13 home victory over Hillel Academy, a WPIAL newcomer from Squirrel Hill.

Venecia Vignoli and Jordan Bass each scored 19 points, and Franke Crosby, Zoey Vincent and Mary Jones each added eight as the team also gave Anna Leonard her first win as a varsity coach.

It was the Section 3-A opener for Jeannette (1-10, 1-0).

Jeannette’s last win has Jan. 30, 2020, a 47-33 triumph over Springdale.

“I’m so proud,” Leonard said. “We’ve gotten back in a lot games, but we hadn’t been able to finish them out. Breaking the streak was a relief for those girls. These young woman get better every day. My players’ growth makes me more proud than any win the scoreboard can give me.”

Ranked wrestlers

SB Live released its national high school wrestling rankings, and a pair from Latrobe made the cut.

Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary came in at No. 8 in the 126-pound weight class, and his teammate, Luke Willochell is No. 25 at 113.

Both are ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class 3A: Kilkeary at 127, Willochell at 114.

Siko returning

Ligonier Valley is bringing back Wesley Siko as athletic director. Siko oversaw the Rams’ transition from District 6 to the WPIAL in 2020 before he left to be the AD at Ringgold.

Joe Skura was AD at Ligonier Valley until he resigned in November.

Brett Marabito has been the interim AD and will hold that position until Siko returns in March.


Hempfield senior Eli Binakonsky received a preferred walk-on football offer from Jacksonville State (Ala.). Binakonsky is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker who has a number of Division II offers.

He had more than 300 tackles in his high school career.

• Senior lineman Elijah Morgan-Washington (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) of Greensburg Central Catholic has a preferred walk-on offer from Division II Seton Hill.

He was an All-Class A Eastern Conference left tackle and defensive tackle.

• Norwin senior football captain and lineman AJ Clemens added another Division II scholarship offer, from Frostburg State.

Clemens, a 6-3, 240-pounder who played offensive lineman and defensive end, also has offers from Baldwin Wallace, Wittenberg, Washington & Jefferson and Notre Dame College (Ohio).

• Senior tight end and defensive end Noah Vogel of Norwin picked up a Division II offer from West Virginia Wesleyan. Vogel (6-3, 230) was a first-team all-conference defensive end.

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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