Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine flu forces halt in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas officials on Wednesday postponed all public high school athletic and academic competitions until May 11 because of the swine flu outbreak.
The move suspends the baseball and softball seasons and eliminates the regional track championships that were to start Friday, said Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the University Interscholastic League. He said league officials acted on the recommendation of public health officials.
“The health and safety of our student activity participants is of the utmost importance,” Breithaupt said. “Taking every possible precaution to prevent the further spreading of this disease is an important contribution to the welfare of our great state, and altering the schedule of our events is a way to keep our participants safe.”
School officials say 53,000 students are out of school due to concern over the virus, and dozens of schools were closed to be sanitized.
The state golf and tennis championships are scheduled to begin May 11.
The state track meet, one of the largest high school track and field competitions in the country, has been extended from its normal two days to three and is scheduled for May 14-16.
All UIL academic competitions, including a state meet that was to begin May 7, were also postponed and will be rescheduled later.
With 16 confirmed cases of swine flue in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry announced a disaster declaration Wednesday for the entire state. The declaration will allow officials to begin emergency protective measures and seek reimbursement from the federal government.

TVL's WPIAL softball rankings

Franklin Regional and Mohawk are the only undefeated softball teams remaining in the WPIAL.

Class AAAA
1. Mt. Lebanon 12-1
2. Latrobe 13-3
3. North Allegheny 13-2
4. Kiski Area 10-2
5. Connellsville 11-3

Class AAA
1. Franklin Regional 15-0
2. Belle Vernon 13-1
3. Elizabeth Forward 11-2
4. Thomas Jefferson 11-2
5. Yough 11-2

Class AA
1. Mohawk 11-0
2. Bishop Canevin 11-2
3. Riverside 10-1
4. McGuffey 9-2
5. Waynesburg 11-3

Class A
1. Vincentian Academy 14-1
2. Serra Catholic 11-2
3. Leechburg 10-3
4. Bentworth 10-2
5. Fort Cherry 10-2

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TVL's WPIAL baseball rankings

The WPIAL Class AAA tournament looks like it will be a good one, judging by the number of quality teams at or near the top of their respective sections. Hopewell, Blackhawk, Trinity and Greensburg-Salem each only have one loss with a little less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Also, there's a new No. 1 in Class A – Serra Catholic. That's likely to trigger the ire of some posters.

Class AAAA
1. Pine-Richland 14-1
2. North Allegheny 11-2
3. Peters Township 10-4
4. Butler 10-5
5. Mt. Lebanon 9-5

Class AAA
1. Hopewell 15-1
2. Blackhawk 14-1
3. Trinity 11-1
4. Greensburg-Salem 11-1
5. Moon 10-3

Class AA
1. Shady Side Academy 14-1
2. Laurel 12-2
3. Seton-La Salle 9-2
4. Bishop Canevin 7-4
5. South Fayette 9-3

Class A
1. Serra Catholic 13-1
2. Neshannock 12-2
3. Chartiers-Houston 12-2
4. Carmichaels 10-2
5. Jeannette 8-2

No-hit streak ends

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A Florida high school pitcher came up short in his bid to throw a fifth straight no-hit game.
Mitchell High School ace Patrick Schuster had put together a string of four no-hitters going into Tuesday’s district tournament game.
With a horde of media and large crowd watching at a high school field in Clearwater, the lanky left-hander gave up a double in the third inning to Gaither High’s Drew Dotey, ending the streak.
The national record for consecutive no-hitters by a high school pitcher is six. Schuster captured the state of Florida record when he turned in his fourth straight last week at his home field in New Port Richey, northwest of Tampa.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

APB, Where are they now?

Back in 2001, the California High School baseball team was looking to win its first WPIAL baseball championship since claiming the Class AA title in 1983.

California did just that when it beat Riverside in the Class A final at Westmoreland County Community College. The Trojans were a senior-dominated unit but the group established a culture of winning that has carried throughout the decade. California won another title in 2006 and finished as runner-up in 2007, when they came one run from playing for a state championship.

One of those seniors was P.J. Ross, who pitched superbly throughout the postseason. The Varsity Letters is issuing an All Point Bulletin for Ross.

Ross, part of an excellent one-two pitching punch with Shaun Rice, started in the WPIAL championship game and the win gave him a 6-0 record with more than 50 strikeouts on the year. He was also one of California's top hitters, batting .450.

Anyone knowing Ross' whereabouts is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

PT girls looking for coach

Peters Township is accepting applications for girls head basketball coach until Friday, May 1.

Pete Serio coached the Indians during the 2008-09 season after replacing Dennis Squeglia. Peters Township went 13-10 in its one season under Serio, who previously coached at Mt. Lebanon and Bishop Canevin.

Squeglia coached four years at Peters Township, went 51-49 and guided the Indians to an appearance in the 2008 WPIAL Class AAAA championship game.

Baseball player death

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A south-central Missouri baseball player who was struck by a wild pitch has died.
Doctors at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield declared Patrick Clegg brain dead Thursday night and he was taken off a respirator Friday.
The 16-year-old Waynesville High School junior was batting Tuesday in a game at Lebanon when he turned to avoid being hit by a pitch. The baseball hit him just below his helmet, and he collapsed.
The hospital said in a statement that Clegg’s parents and six brothers and sisters appreciate the kindness they had received since Patrick was injured.
Hospital spokeswoman Cora Scott said the family didn’t want to speak to the media.

WPIAL football to pull out of PIAA?

Very interesting read in today's Post-Gazette.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Davis to be inducted into WPIAL HOF

Washington High School's Brian Davis – one of the great athletes in WPIAL history, and arguably the most exciting high school football player to have competed in District 7 – will be inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame on June 19 at the Embassy Suites in Moon Township.

Davis will be inducted in the "Athlete" category and is the third local honoree. The inaugural class included Jefferson-Morgan wrestler Cary Kolat. Last year, the 1945 Donora High football team gained entrance.

Davis was the Parade Magazine Football Player of the Year in 1984 and was one of the nation's most coveted recruits before choosing the University of Pittsburgh. At Wash High, Davis was all-state in football, basketball and track.

At 5-11, Davis was the starting center on Washington's 1984 PIAA Class AA championship basketball team. He won PIAA long jump titles in 1983 and 1984 and was WPIAL champion in the 100 meter dash and 400 relay.

A three-time Observer-Reporter Player of the Year, Davis rushed for 4,480 yards on 461 carries (a 9.7 average) with 67 touchdowns in his varsity career.

The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and induction at 7 p.m. The full list of the 2009 class will be announced on May 5. on Registration forms for tickets and/or congratulatory messages are available on the WPIAL website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

High school pitcher pitches four straight no-hitters

Simply astounding.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida high school pitcher tossed his fourth consecutive no-hitter.
Mitchell High senior Patrick Schuster did it Monday night on his home field at the suburban school northwest of Tampa.
The lanky left-hander struck out 17 to help his team beat rival Pasco High 5-0 in front of a full house of several hundred spectators.
“I never thought this would happen,” he said. “I’m just having so much right now.”
Schuster’s streak began April 3. He’s piled up 60 strikeouts in the four games, helping Mitchell to a 19-3 record. He’s 7-0 on the season.
He said he was trying not to think about the streak, but late in the game he asked his outfielders to take a few steps because he didn’t want to give up a bloop hit.
Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox called the performance “vintage Schuster.”
“I’ll tell you what, he’s got command of every single pitch,” Wilcox said. “His curve ball, his slider, his change-up, he was just spotting it nicely. He was keeping their hitters off balance.”
Schuster said the streak has been harder on his mother, Sharon, than it’s been on him.
“I’ve got the confidence, and she’s over there biting her nails and stuff,” he said. “I’m having fun with it and she’s nervous. She’s probably going to make me cry as soon as I see her.”
Schuster, whose fastball tops 90 mph, has signed to play at the University of Florida next year but hasn’t ruled out going straight to professional baseball.
The record for consecutive no-hitters in high school baseball is six.

TVL's WPIAL softball rankings

One thing that jumps out in the rankings is that McGuffey, which had a Southern trip rained out, has played five games to date. Chartiers-Houston has played 14.

Class AAAA
1. Connellsville 9-1
2. Mt. Lebanon 9-1
3. Latrobe 8-3
4. North Allegheny 10-2
5. Shaler 6-2

Class AAA
1. Franklin Regional 10-0
2. Belle Vernon 10-1
3. Moon 7-2
4. Elizabeth Forward 7-2
5. Thomas Jefferson 7-2

Class AA
1. Bishop Canevin 8-1
2. McGuffey 5-0
3. Mohawk 9-0
4. South Allegheny 7-0
5. Riverside 6-1

Class A
1. Vincentian Academy 9-1
2. Serra Catholic 7-2
3. Bentworth 8-1
4. Leechburg 6-2
5. Chartiers-Houston 10-4

Monday, April 20, 2009

TVL's WPIAL baseball rankings

It looks like Section 1-AAAA has replaced Section 3 as the best in Quad-A, at least through the first half of the 2009 season. Plus, new teams in Quad-A and Class AAA top their respective rankings.

Class AAAA
1. North Allegheny 10-1
2. Seneca Valley 7-1
3. Pine-Richland 10-2
4. Mt. Lebanon 8-3
5. Peters Township 7-3

Class AAA
1. Hopewell 11-1
2. Blackhawk 11-1
3. Trinity 8-1
4. Moon 9-1
5. Greensburg-Salem 8-0

Class AA
1. Seton-La Salle 8-0
2. Shady Side Academy 10-1
3. Bishop Canevin 5-3
4. Laurel 9-2
5. North Catholic 5-3

Class A
1. Carmichaels 9-0
2. Serra Catholic 9-1
3. Neshannock 10-2
4. Chartiers-Houston 8-2
5. California 9-4

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Former NC boys coach dies

Don Graham, the winningest high school basketball coach in Pennsylvania history, died Saturday morning in Passavant Hospital. Graham was 83-years-old.

Graham coached the North Catholic boys team for 51 years, from 1948-1999 and compiled a coaching record of 801-436. Graham won three Pennsylvania Catholic championships before North Catholic joined the WPIAL. He won 10 section championships.

Trojans head coach Dave Long, who was Graham's assistant for 20 years, guided NC to the PIAA Class AA championship game this year.

Observations from the Washington-Greene County Track Meet

Another Washington-Greene County Coaches Track meet came and went Friday afternoon/evening/night at Peters Township High School.

  • The meet normally takes place on a Saturday. The Friday start had its pluses and minuses. As a few of us were waiting for the boys high jump to finish at 10:30 p.m., it was tough remembering the positives.
  • Nice to see a pair of athletes from McGuffey High school – senior Shelby Ward and junior J.T. Deschamps (pictured right) put together fantastic efforts. Ward won three sprints (100, 200,400) and medaled in the triple jump. Deschamps won both hurdles races (110 and 300) in addition to the 200. Plus, he medaled in the 1,600 relay. This is a meet often dominated by Canon-McMillan individuals and it was unique seeing two athletes from a smaller school turn in such strong performances.
  • Speaking of Canon-McMillan, the boys team won its 11th straight team title. Trinity and Peters Township believed this year would be the year the streak ended as the Big Macs are a wildly different team than the one that claimed the WPIAL Class AAA team title. No dice. Honestly, I'm not sure if this streak will be broken any time soon.
  • The Peters Township girls snapped Canon-Mac's five year team win streak with a strong outing led by distance runner Kayla Keddal and jumper Kayla Howard.
  • For the meet to remain interesting, it's going to take more performances like the ones put forth by the PT girls and McGuffey's Ward and Deschamps.
  • For not having a track, Fort Cherry has very good boys and girls teams. Too bad the boys have to compete at the club level again this year. A few athletes who would medal at the WPIAL Class AA championships won't get the chance because the FC boys can't enter any relay teams and can only place one individual per event.
  • After watching the meet, chances that area athletes will bring home more medals from the PIAA championships than the two won last year.
  • In Class AAA boys, Peters Township's Christian Brandstetter looks strong as does Canon-Mac's Matt Gregory in the two-mile and Trinity's Nate Lojek in the shot put. In Class AA boys, Waynesburg pole vaulter Nick Patton turned in an exceptional performance with a meet record-tying vault of 14-0. Deschamps, teammate A.J. Weaver, Fort Cherry's Brian Lauff (pictured left) and Andrew Lucarini, Burgettstown's Bryon Dean and Jefferson-Morgan's Hans Lubich should be competing at states.
  • In Class AAA girls, Keddal, Trinity's Tiara Williams and the Hillers' distance relays as well as C-M thrower Chelsea Zahn have medal aspirations. At the Class AA level, Ward, Bentworth's Amanda Kennedy – the lone returning PIAA medalist from 2008 – Fort Cherry's Mia Sember and Sidney Walter, Chartiers-Houston's Gabby Provenzano and Burgettstown's Tara Powell should be threats.
  • Finally, kudos to Peters Township and head track coach Buzzy Scott for running a good meet. It ended late but the meet continued to move and results came in quickly.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

WPIAL breakdown

Here's how the WPIAL would look under the six classification system. Bloggers note: teams within Observer-Reporter coverage area bolded and school enrollment in parenthesis.

CLASS 6A - 11 schools
Butler (1022)
North Allegheny (991)
Seneca Valley (904)
Mt. Lebanon (772)
Hempfield (769)
Penn Hills (721)
Woodland Hills (740)
Connellsville (725)
Shaler (702)
Bethel Park (692)
Norwin (672)

CLASS 5A - 22 schools
Central Catholic (641)
North Hills (636)
Fox Chapel (621)
Penn-Trafford (615)
Gateway (609)
Canon-McMillan (599)
Baldwin (597)
Latrobe (593)
Kiski Area (586)
Plum (577)
Upper St. Clair (565)
Peters Township (558)
Pine-Richland (553)
McKeesport (545)
Albert Gallatin (539)
West Mifflin (525)
Franklin Regional (500)
Ringgold (473)
Laurel Highlands (471)
Moon (463)
Trinity (463)
New Castle (450)

CLASS AAAA - 21 schools
Greensburg Salem (435)
West Allegheny (424)
Uniontown (421)
Belle Vernon (415)
Chartiers Valley (413)
Montour (409)
Hampton (396)
Knoch (395)
Ambridge (392)
Hopewell (386)
Thomas Jefferson (380)
Elizabeth Forward (377)
Indiana (376)
Derry (375)
Blackhawk (363)
Highlands (340)
Mars (335)
Yough (335)
Southmoreland (332)
Keystone Oaks (327)
Kittanning (324)

CLASS AAA - 20 schools
Mount Pleasant (323)
McGuffey (317)
South Park (301)
West Shamokin (175)
Beaver (283)
Ellwood City (280)
Waynesburg (275)
East Allegheny (269)
Valley (269)
Center (264)
Deer Lakes (263)
Mohawk (261)
Freeport (258)
South Fayette (251)
Beaver Falls (247)
Burrell (245)
Steel Valley (243)
Washington (243)
Riverside (241)
South Allegheny (239)

CLASS AA - 27 schools
Brownsville (233)
Summit Academy (229)
New Brighton (226)
Freedom (221)
Cornell (98, co-op)
Apollo-Ridge (210)
Bishop Canevin (210)
Quaker Valley (208)
Ford City (207)
Northgate (204)
Shady Side Academy (202)
Charleroi (200)
Greensburg Central Catholic (197)
Sto-Rox (196)
Seton-La Salle (195)
Wilkinsburg (192)
Carlynton (192)
Burgettstown (187)
Monaca (187)
Brentwood (182)
South Side Beaver (182)
Laurel (180)
Shenango (176)
Fort Cherry (172)
Frazier (169)
Riverview (168)
Avonworth (161)

CLASS A 22 schools
Springdale (158)
Jeannette (154)
Chartiers-Houston (153)
Rochester (151)
California (149)
Beth-Center (148)
Aliquippa (143)
Neshannock (143)
Serra (134)
Carmichaels (133)
Monessen (132)
Bentworth (131)
North Catholic (129)
Leechburg (121)
Union (120)
Clairton (115)
West Greene (112)
Jeff-Morgan (108)

Western Beaver (103)
Avella (95)
Mapletown (71)

Geibel (68)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Six classifications in football, update

Word from the meeting at Elizabeth Forward is that, under six classifications, four teams which qualify for the WPIAL Class A playoffs would not be able to win a WPIAL championship.

Those four, including the district's No. 2 seed, would be placed in a PIAA Class A playoff game against teams from another district before the conclusion of the WPIAL playoffs. Not really sure how the bracket that the PIAA drafted works at this point.

Six classifications in football

WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley is meeting with high school principals, athletic directors and football coaches at Elizabeth Forward tonight to discuss the movement toward a six classification-system for PIAA football. Another meeting takes place Thursday at North Allegheny.

Many in the WPIAL is opposed to the idea. Many outside the WPIAL are in favor.

The Observer-Reporter recently did a story on the topic. To read,

If the PIAA Board of Control approves the third and final reading, the WPIAL will be faced with a decision. Will it withdraw from the PIAA for football or not?

I've spoken with a number of coaches and athletic directors about six classes. There are several who are strongly opposed, a couple who don't care much either way and many want the move to happen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

APB, Where are they now?

Earlier this decade, McGuffey softball was a regular in the WPIAL Class AAA and AA playoffs. At the turn of the decade, the Highlanders featured one of the WPIAL's more dominant pitchers.

Heidi Hewitt regularly ranked among district leaders in strikeouts during her four years with the Highlanders. She graduated in 2001 and the Varsity Letters issued an All Points Bulletin for one of the top pitchers in McGuffey history.

Our last APB, for former Big Macs pitcher Becca Petras was answered. According to several readers, Petras is a student at Duquesne University.

In 2000, Hewitt guided McGuffey to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals, returning to pitch in the playoffs after missing a couple weeks with an injury.

Anyone knowing of Hewitt's whereabouts is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Separated at birth

One thing is certain about the latest edition of the Varsity Letters' Separated at Birth, the local entrant has a much higher win percentage as a baseball coach than the other person has as an acting owner.

Here's Peters Township baseball coach Joe Maize, winning coach of the last two WPIAL Class AAAA baseball championship teams, and former Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Iowa baseball player suspended

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — What was supposed to be a great day at the ballpark for Cody Gabella and his father has wound up costing the youngster his junior season.
Gabella, a junior infielder at Notre Dame High in Burlington, has been suspended for the upcoming prep season after making two plate appearances with the Class A Burlington Bees — who are managed by his father, Jim Gabella — in an exhibition against a local community college.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association ruled that Cody Gabella violated a rule that prohibits prep athletes from playing with or against collegians in their own sport.
The Bees, a Kansas City Royals affiliate from the Midwest League, played an exhibition game against Southeastern Community College on Tuesday. Jim Gabella said he cleared it with Southeastern’s coach and the Royals to allow Cody an at-bat late in the game if possible.
Jim Gabella told The Associated Press on Saturday that he had no idea the rule was on the books and would have never jeopardized his son’s eligibility if he did.
Jim Gabella said an appeal is in the works, and he’s hoping that the high school association will factor in his lack of knowledge of the rule.
“He wants to play at the next level, and it was an idea of having him play against a junior college who is recruiting him and have a chance to see him play myself,” Jim Gabella said of Cody. “It didn’t work out the way we planned.”
It wasn’t all bad for Cody Gabella, though. He ripped a single up the middle and finished 1-for-2.

TVL's WPIAL softball rankings

Judging from scores, Class AAAA appears wide open. Should make for an interesting race to the postseason pairings.

Class AAAA
1. Shaler 5-1
2. Connellsville 7-1
3. Pine-Richland 6-3
4. Latrobe 4-2
5. Hempfield 4-2

Class AAA
1. Franklin Regional 8-0
2. Belle Vernon 7-1
3. Elizabeth Forward 4-1
4. Trinity 4-2
5. Thomas Jefferson 5-1

Class AA
1. Bishop Canevin 5-1
2. Burrell 5-0
3. McGuffey 4-0
4. Waynesburg 6-1
5. Riverside 4-0

Class A
1. Vincentian Academy 5-1
2. Bentworth 6-0
3. Fort Cherry 4-1
4. Serra Catholic 4-2
5. OLSH 5-1

Friday, April 10, 2009

TVL's WPIAL baseball rankings

One of the more difficult tasks in high school sports is repeating as a district or state champion in baseball. So many variables – bad hops, weather, mediocre pitching having a career day – can come into play.

Maybe that's what makes ranking baseball teams a trying, difficult process. There isn't a sport where good teams have more head-scratching losses.

At the Varsity Letters, we love a challenge. So, for the first time and with a nice portion of the season to use as judgment, we're unveiling our first WPIAL baseball rankings.

Class AAAA
1. Seneca Valley 5-0
2. North Allegheny 6-1
3. Pine-Richland 8-1
4. Bethel Park 3-2
5. Canon-McMillan 5-3

Class AAA
1. Trinity 5-0
2. Hopewell 8-1
3. Blackhawk 6-1
4. South Park 4-1
5. Moon 2-1

Class AA
1. Seton-La Salle 5-0
2. North Catholic 4-1
3. Shady Side Academy 7-1
4. Ford City 5-0
5. Shenango 5-1

Class A
1. Carmichaels 6-0
2. Serra Catholic 6-1
3. Neshannock 5-2
4. Chartiers-Houston 5-2
5. Rochester 2-3

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Reporting results

A few angry calls came in to the Observer-Reporter today concerning McGuffey High School softball. Parents/fans.players wanted to know why McGuffey's victory over previously undefeated Waynesburg had not been in Thursday's sports section.

Why does the O-R hate McGuffey?

Why won't the O-R provide McGuffey's softball team with any space in its paper, particularly after one of its biggest wins in recent years?

Did the O-R refuse to run the results because Waynesburg shortstop Kaylie Barger was our Athlete of the Week two weeks ago?

No, we don't hate McGuffey.

No, we do not refuse to run results from McGuffey softball.

Wednesday's game failed to get into the section because the results were not called in. If you read our section or just check the sports briefs on our website, there were plenty of results phoned to the O-R. One result which was not was McGuffey-Waynesburg softball.

Following a call from Highlanders softball coach Jim Armstrong this evening, it was learned that Waynesburg – the home team – did not report results.

As stated before on this blog, it is impossible to cover every game. Thus, the Observer-Reporter – and papers across our great country – rely on results being reported.

Don't call in on the day of the event, you don't make the paper.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Joe Tuscano never ran track

In the previous post, Observer-Reporter sports writer Joe Tuscano went into great detail as to why he never went out for the track and field team at his high school.

Tuscano, no spring chicken and prone to fits of crankiness, took exception to Tuesday's full schedule of track meets, which were held despite snowy, frigid conditions. For Tuscano, competing in such conditions were too difficult despite claims of varsity gridiron greatness.

That's not the real reason Tuscano, who once cleared a whopping 9-6 long jump following an office challenge, never competed in track. Take a look at the picture on the right and draw your own conclusions.

Granted, Tuesday's conditions were not ideal and any baseball/softball games scheduled were postponed. That's not how things work in track and field. Like football and soccer, track is contested in most conditions – lightning being an exception.

I understand what track athletes went through Tuesday. As a former sprinter, I competed in conditions similar to or worse than what Washington and Greene County experienced. Sure, personal bests and school records aren't set under such conditions, but so what?

Never hear too many complaints that a running back doesn't set a single-game rushing record when it rains.

There are dangers to competing in bad weather and, off the top of my head, there aren't many positives. When it comes to track, the length of the regular season must be considered. Track is more physically demanding than baseball and softball, thus competing in five meets in five days is not realistic. And let's not forget that the WPIAL track playoffs begin later this month (April 29). That's two weeks before the start of the baseball and softball playoffs.

I didn't mind running in poor conditions though I didn't care much for snowy meets. Makes you appreciate those wonderful, warm days a little more.

Why I never ran track

I wasn't the greatest student at my high school, but I was smart enough to not go out for the track team. And every time a day like Tuesday rolls around, I am sure it was the right choice.

More than a dozen track meets were held in weather - snow, rain, wind and cold - that I wouldn't want my dog to be in for long periods of time. Competing in weather such as yesterday's makes the competition a joke.

The wet weather made the jumping events dangerous, the soaked grounds affected throwing events, and even an all-weather track won't help your time in the runs when wind and snow are blowing in your face. Last week, an athlete competing in bad weather went to the hospital because he missed the landing area on a jump and suffered a concussion. It's surprising there haven't been more injuries.

If the weather doesn't matter, why not make the outdoor season year-round? Sound silly? Well, Tuesday's meets were held under the same type of weather conditions that existed for most of January.

Schools do a disservice to the sport and its athletes when it's allowed to be held under these weather conditions. Softball and baseball don't play games in this type of weather. Track events should not have to, either.

Joe Tuscano

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Offers roll in for Wilkins

With Canon-McMillan's Mike Hull committed to Penn State, Trinity's Ken Wilkins figures to be the most heavily recruited high school football player in Washington County in the Class of 2010.

While Wilkins does not have the national profile of Hull, rated the nation's No. 43 in the upcoming class by, the defensive end/outside linebacker and cousin of former Washington High School standout Travis Thomas is stockpiling offers.

Four more official offers came in this week for Wilkins, an AP Pennsylvania All-State Class AAA first-team defensive lineman as a junior. Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolin and Akron joined a long list which also includes North Carolina State, Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia, Pitt, Cincinnati, Temple, Ohio, Illinois, Rutgers, Minnesota, Michigan State and Purdue.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

RIP Don Harbison

The Fort Cherry community no doubt was saddened to hear about the loss of Don Harbison, a standout two-sport athlete who died Saturday morning when the SUV he was driving hit a house in Robinson Township.

Harbison, 25, lived in Midway.

A 2001 graduate of Fort Cherry, Harbison was a dominant two-way lineman on very good football teams at Fort Cherry. As a senior, Harbison was named to the Associated Press Small School All-State football team as a first-team selection. He also earned mention to the Observer-Reporter All-District basketball team.

Harbison went on to Slippery Rock, where he played football.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

APB, Where are they now?

After an unsuccessful search for former Peters Township and Major League Baseball baseball player Brian Simmons, the Varsity Letters issues another All Points Bulletin for former Canon-McMillan softball pitcher Becca Petras.

Name the pitching record at Canon-McMillan and Petras owns it.

During her day, the Big Macs were among the best teams in WPIAL Class AAAA as Petras struck out 695 with a 0.75 ERA. As a junior, Petras led the WPIAL in strikeouts during the regular season.

Anyone knowing Petras' whereabouts is urged to contact the Varsity Letters.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Center-Monaca merger

MONACA (AP) — A merged school district in western Pennsylvania now has a mascot and official colors for its sports teams.
Teams at the Central Valley School District in Beaver County will be known as the Warriors and will wear navy and Carolina blue on their uniforms.
The former Center Area and Monaca school districts are officially merging July 1. The district settled on its new name in February, and a 48-member student committee picked the mascot name and colors on Tuesday.
Center Areas sports teams have been known as the Trojans while Monaca’s teams are called the Indians.
The districts elementary schools will combine this fall, while the middle and high schools will operate separately before combining in the fall of 2010.