Saturday, September 26, 2009
Top 10 programs (Sept. 1999 to present)
Blogger's note: The following is the fourth in a series celebrating the best of local high school sports from the past decade. Today's topic – top programs.
10. California baseball
California won WPIAL Class A championships in 2001 and 2006. The Trojans also had a runner-up finish in 2007. All were under the direction of head coach Don Hartman, a key player on California's 1983 WPIAL Class AA championship team. Cal finished one run short of playing for the 2007 PIAA Class A championship.
9. Washington boys basketball
The Prexies win games, usually more than 20 per year and claimed at least a share of eight section titles during the decade. In 2009, Wash High held a 12-point lead in the PIAA Class AA semifinals. Wash High never missed the playoffs during the stretch and reached the PIAA quarterfinals on two other occasions for recently retired head coach Ron Faust.
8. Washington girls basketball
Like the boys, the Wash High girls dominate play in Section 5-AA most years whether the coach is Mike Maltony, Jim Tidball or the combo of Bill Fleissner and Frank Yanni. Wash High loses a section game as often as the United States votes for a president. They've topped the 25-win plateau on four occasions, reached the PIAA semifinals once, the state playoffs seven times and played for one WPIAL title.
7. Monessen boys basketball
Last time Monessen missed the WPIAL playoffs was 1981, an incredible streak of 28 straight years. That number is tops in the WPIAL. Led by head coach Joe Salvino, the Greyhounds won WPIAL Class A titles in 2001 and 2002. Since moving to Class AA, Monessen remains a power and qualified for the PIAA playoffs in consecutive years.
6. Peters Township boys golf
When it comes to competing for WPIAL Division I team titles, Peters Township always contends for head coach Dave Kuhn. In addition to producing a long list of NCAA Division I golfers, the Indians have won WPIAL team titles in 2004 and 2008. Last year, they became the first WPIAL team to compete in the PIAA team tournament and placed second. This year, Peters Township is undefeated.
5. Carmichaels baseball
Thanks to the fundamentally-sound approach of head coach Dave Bates and an outstanding string of quality pitchers, Carmichaels has been the standard-bearer for Class A baseball in the WPIAL. The Mikes won WPIAL titles in 2003, 2005 and 2008 with runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2009. Carmichaels reached the 2008 PIAA Class A championship and made the semifinals in 2004.
4. Monessen girls basketball
Major Corley, the recently retired head coach of Monessen girls basketball, has been blessed with incredible talent, including the top two scorers in WPIAL history (new head coach Gina Naccarato and Charel Allen). With Allen leading the way, Monessen won WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships in 2004. In 2006, an underdog group won a WPIAL championship.
3. Peters Township baseball
Playing at the sport's highest classification, whether it's been Class AAAA or AAA, Peters Township has qualified for postseason play eight consecutive years. Coached by Joe Maize, the Indians reached the 2003 PIAA semifinals; the PIAA Class AAA championship game in 2004 and 2005. They enjoyed an undefeated 2006 regular season. Peters Township capped that by winning WPIAL Class AAAA titles in 2007 and 2008.
2. Chartiers-Houston softball
Chartiers-Houston won WPIAL Class A championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007, all for coach Tricia Alderson, once dubbed "Queen of the No-Hitter" by the Observer-Reporter during her playing days. The Bucs also played for a PIAA Class A title in 2005. They did the same in 2003 and 2000 when Dan Ross was head coach.
1. Peters Township boys soccer
Go back 25 years and it's difficult to find any team that can top the success enjoyed by the Peters Township boys soccer team.
And, over the past 10 years, no one has done more.
A steady stream of Division I talent, All-State players and a few All-Americans have continued a tradition of winning.
Peters Township won WPIAL Class AAA titles in 2003 and 2008. The first one with head coach Rob Eldridge. The second with head coach Bob Dyer. In between the two championships, Peters Township finished as WPIAL runner-up in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In 2007, Peters Township won the PIAA Class AAA championship (the third in its short history) when Shane Pruitt's overtime goal gave the Indians a 2-1 win over Downingtown West. Peters Township returned to the state title match a year later, this time losing to Downingtown West.