Westmoreland high school notebook: Soccer teams face changes to sections

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Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 9:16 PM


A new PIAA enrollment cycle means realignment of WPIAL sections in all sports. Soccer has not joined the six-classification movement, but there are notable changes that will affect the local scene.

The most significant change for Westmoreland is on the girls side, where longtime Class A rivals Greensburg Central Catholic and Shady Side Academy will be separated. Shady Side Academy moved up to Class AA.

The teams have met five times in the PIAA semifinals since they became rivals in 2010. Since that year, GCC won five WPIAL titles, and Shady Side won four.

GCC will be in Section 1-A with WPIAL newcomer Ligonier Valley, Apollo-Ridge, Jeannette, Riverview, Serra Catholic and Springdale.

Fox Chapel moves into the same section (3-4A) as Norwin. The teams played a spirited WPIAL quarterfinal last season, with Norwin winning 4-3 in overtime.

Connellsville and Penn Hills move out of the section.

On the boys side, Norwin and Penn-Trafford will remain section foes, like the girls, but Section 3-AAAA will be without Plum, Woodland Hills and Penn Hills.

Plum moves into AAA and joins neighboring Franklin Regional, the two-time defending WPIAL champion, in Section 4.

Ligonier Valley will play in Section 2-AA with Burrell, Deer Lakes, Derry, Leechburg, Shady Side Academy and Valley.

Defending WPIAL Class A champion Greensburg Central Catholic won’t have to worry about Avonworth anymore because the Antelopes moved to AA. GCC’s Section 2-A has Geibel, Jeannette, Serra Catholic, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian and recent playoff rival Winchester Thurston.

Recruiting

St. Francis (Pa.) made a scholarship offer to Franklin Regional senior football player Anthony Bonacci, his second Division I-FCS offer. The other is from Valparaiso. Bonacci (6-foot-1, 266 pounds) was a standout center and defensive tackle for the Panthers.

• Greensburg Salem senior football player Ryan Thomas gave a verbal commitment to play at Seton Hill. Thomas (6-3, 210) played tight end and punted for the Golden Lions.

Milestones

Boys basketball players Jake Johnson of Mt. Pleasant and Riley Comforti of Southmoreland joined the 1,000-point club Friday. Johnson had a career-high 43 points in a 72-68 overtime win over Derry, and Comforti netted 29 in a 57-53 win over McGuffey.

Sleith coaching

Former Yough and Saint Vincent softball star Alona Sleith has joined the softball coaching staff at her high school alma mater.

Sleith, a junior at Saint Vincent, decided to stop playing college softball, but she still attends SVC.

Sleith will coach alongside Dutch Harvey, who returned to the program after initially resigning. He had considered the Latrobe job, which later went to Bob Kovalcin.

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

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