Westmoreland notebook: Belle Vernon’s Henderson has a sport for all seasons

Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 7:20 PM

Grace Henderson is one of those rare, multisport athletes who can impact more than one sport in the same season.

She also has been known to affect the outcome of multiple sporting events over a few days time.

She might win a cross country meet one day and contribute to a soccer victory the next. It’s happened for Henderson, a senior at Belle Vernon.

Henderson stands out in track & field, cross country and soccer, and she also plays basketball. But she will only follow one sport to a Division I college career.

Henderson announced Thursday her commitment to run track at Akron.

She won the Tri-State Coaches Association Class AA cross country title earlier this season, a day after playing in a soccer game.

Henderson was the goalkeeper for Belle Vernon, which went 13-3 and returned to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

The 2020 WPIAL track and field outdoor season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but during the indoor season, Henderson competed in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, and the high jump.

She posted a pair of runner-up finishes at separate Tri-State Coaches meets at Youngstown State.

Jubert racing

Norwin senior Alex Jubert will run in the 2020 XC Town Meet of Champions on Sunday at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. There are four high school open races and two championships for boys and girls divisions.

Jubert, who will join Greensburg Salem senior Quintin Gatons in the “White Open” race at 1:45 p.m., finished fifth in the WPIAL Class AAA race this season with a time of 16 minutes, 21 seconds and qualified for the PIAA championship.

All-WPIAL soccer

Franklin Regional had five players selected to the All-WPIAL Class AAA team, including junior forward Anthony DiFalco, who was named the Class AAA player of the year.

Additional all-league players for the Panthers were senior midfielder/forward Blake Cooper, senior defender Cole Kaforey, senior defender/midfielder Luke Kimmich, and senior midfielder Zach Lorenz.

Belle Vernon had two All-WPIAL picks, both midfielder/forwards in junior Daniel Sassak and senior Nick Nagy.

In Class AAAA, Norwin senior midfielder Brendan Ash and Latrobe senior midfielder Nolan Agostini were All-WPIAL picks.

Rozier signs

Nyla Rozier, a senior basketball standout at Shady Side Academy who is from Jeannette, signed a letter of intent to play at St. Francis (Pa.).

The 5-foot-11 guard, who averaged 19.8 points per game for the Indians last season, is the daughter of former Greensburg Central Catholic standout Robin Mull.

A member of the 1997 GCC PIAA title-winning team, Mull played at Point Park.

St. Francis coach Keila Whittington likes Rozier’s complete game.

“She has an attack-the-basket mentality, as well as 3-point shooting range,” Whittington said of Rozier. “We will find ways to help her to be successful using all of her skills on the basketball court.”

Fralic Award

Six finalists, one from each classification, have been selected for the 2nd Bill Fralic Memorial Award, which honors the best senior football lineman in the WPIAL.

They are Dorien Ford of Baldwin (Class 6A), Miguel Jackson of Pine-Richland (5A), Colin Lyons of McKeesport (4A), Eli Podgorski of South Park (3A), Mitch Miles of Laurel (2A) and Aaron Gunn of Union (A).

Named in honor of the late Fralic, a former Penn Hills star who many consider to be one of the most dominating lineman from the WPIAL, the award will be given to one of the finalists during a private banquet Dec. 5 at Longue Vue Club in Verona.

Fralic, known for making the “pancake” block a thing at Pitt, went from All-American to All-Pro, becoming a star at Pitt before embarking on an eight-year career in the NFL, primarily with the Atlanta Falcons.

“The whole idea of this is to keep Bill’s memory alive,” said Dan Miller, a member of the William P. Fralic Foundation’s board of trustees and a former classmate of Fralic’s at Penn Hills. “He was a legend and we need to remember how great he was and the impact he had on so many people.”

Miller is the baseball coach at Penn-Trafford.

Logan Danielson of Thomas Jefferson was the inaugural winner and was recognized at a banquet at Oakmont Country Club.

At this year’s event, which will again include a pancake breakfast, former Pitt and NFL lineman and former Hempfield athletic director, Greg Meisner, will be the guest speaker.

Pittsburgh-based speed painter Cody Sabol will return to craft another portrait of Fralic, who died of cancer on Dec. 13, 2018.

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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