Westmoreland HS notebook: Steelers draft goes from Ricketts to Pickett

Saturday, April 30, 2022 | 3:49 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ seismic move to select Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round of the NFL Draft had fans buzzing, debating and reminiscing.

While Pitt has only had one other quarterback go in the first round — former Central Catholic great Dan Marino — Pickett actually followed a local player in the history books.

Before Pickett was taken with the 20th pick Thursday, the last Pitt player to be drafted in the first round by the Steelers was Tom Ricketts, a Franklin Regional graduate. An offensive tackle, Ricketts was the 24th pick in the 1989 draft.

An interesting note on Ricketts (6-foot-4, 295 pounds), who was a three-year starter at Pitt: He took over for Panthers’ great Bill Fralic in 1986 after Fralic (Penn Hills) was drafted, also in the first round, by the Atlanta Falcons.

Pride of ‘97

Hempfield plans to honor its 1997 football team, the last in the program to host and win a WPIAL playoff game. A ceremony will take place Sept. 2, and players and coaches from that team will be recognized.

It will have been 25 years since Hempfield defeated Woodland Hills, 30-25, at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans lost in the quarterfinals to Upper St. Clair, 33-0. Upper St. Clair went on to edge Penn-Trafford, 28-27, in the championship in the “Kevin Topper Game” at Three Rivers Stadium.

More information will be released at a later date.

Playoff teams

With a little more than a week left in the WPIAL baseball and softball regular season, a number of Westmoreland teams have qualified for the playoffs.

Baseball qualifiers are: Hempfield in Class 6A; Latrobe and Penn-Trafford in 5A; and Greensburg Central Catholic in A.

Softball qualifiers are: Hempfield in 6A; Franklin Regional, Kiski Area and Penn-Trafford in 5A; Burrell in 4A; Valley in 3A; Ligonier Valley in 2A; and Greensburg Central Catholic in A.

P-T Hall of Fame

Penn-Trafford announced its 2022 Warrior Football Hall of Fame Class.

It comprises: Mike Enick (1996), Aaron Miller (2004), Ryan Moore (1998), Manny Simpson (2012), Justin Williams (2012), coach Erv Guzik (1972-94), Dave Bucar (contributor) and the 2011 team.

The induction banquet will be Oct. 1 at Manor Valley Golf Course.

Schiller injured

Norwin freshman Ryan Schiller took fifth in the 110-meter hurdles at the Butler Invitational, but later suffered an ankle injury.

He finished in a time of 16.17 seconds.

Norwin coach Tim Van Horn said Schiller is done for the season after his injury in the 300 hurdles.

He said the freshman clipped a hurdle and, while trying to correct himself in mid-air, fell awkwardly and fractured his ankle.

“Ryan is an awesome kid who works his tail off every workout,” Van Horn said. “He competes in every rep and loves facing the top dogs. He is like a silent assassin. He doesn’t say much, but when he lines up, you know he is going after everyone else on that line.

“He will be a huge loss for us, but I know he will battle back and will be a force the rest of his career. We are all hoping for a speedy and full recovery.”

Mihalov player of week

Norwin junior middle hitter Michael Mihalov was named a Class 3A player of the week by the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association.

Norwin held strong at No. 3 in the association rankings, behind No. 2 Seneca Valley and powerhouse North Allegheny.

Other area teams Hempfield (5), Penn-Trafford (6) and Latrobe (10) stayed in the top 10.

WPIAL golf outing

The inaugural WPIAL Scholarship Golf Outing is set for 11 a.m. June 20 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver.

The event will raise money for the WPIAL/James Collins Scholar-Athlete Awards and scholarships. The WPIAL has awarded $678,000 in scholarships since 1991.

The outing also is seeking sponsors.

More info: wpial.org.


Latrobe senior Vinny Amatucci is headed to nearby Saint Vincent to play hockey. A 6-3 goaltender, Amatucci had an 87.8 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against average in 14 games last season.

• Penn-Trafford senior Chase Crissman committed to play golf at Washington & Jefferson.

Derry senior Sydney Williams will play college soccer at Susquehanna, a Division III school in Selinsgrove.

Notebook doodle

Derry has qualified for the WPIAL boys volleyball playoffs for the 25th straight time. … In addition to naming Scott Seltzer its executive director, the WPIAL announced its bord of directors for 2022-23. They are: Senior high reps Brian Geyer (Peters Township), Ricci Rich (Trinity), David McBain (West Allegheny), Heather Lewis (Seneca Valley), Ron Ledbetter (Moon), Michael Allison (Hopewell), Scott Heinauer (Mars), Michael O’Brien (Fox Chapel), Nathan Milsom (Carlynton) and Jason Olexa (Brentwood). The junior high rep is Tom Evans, the former Yough athletic director and current event coordinator at Hempfield.

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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