Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Varsity notebook

Like many readers of The Varsity Letters, I make a regular practice of reading Mike White's Varsity Blog, available on the Post-Gazette web site. It's highly informative and always a good read.

And that's where I saw the sad news concerning Lawrence "Deuce" Skurcenski, a Western Pennsylvania high school statistical institution.

Deuce, as he's called by everyone, suffered a stroke last week and remains in Allegheny General Hospital. Deuce is one of those guys that, if you've been around high school football or basketball for any amount of time, you know.

He's quite the character, so much so that a documentary film was made about him. (Yes, I got to see it.)

The last time I encountered Deuce was during the PIAA basketball playoffs and he was quick to tell me that the game was the 10,987,345th or so that he's attended. He's been to nearly as many football games and the man is literally known by coaches from Class A high schools to major college basketball powers.

Deuce is a fountain of information, and other things. He also can provide some great tips, like letting me know that a young man named Dan Davis was transferring from Peabody High School to Fort Cherry. Davis went on the be the O-R Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He also loves to share his opinions, like he did with me while trying to write near deadline following the WPIAL Class AAA championship basketball game between South Fayette and Montour.

Here's to a speedy recovery and hope to see you out this fall.

* This is the absolute worst spring for rain that I can remember.

* Fort Cherry junior Tanner Garry struck out 17 Southmoreland batters in an eight-inning game last Friday. That's the most I can remember in a varsity game for a local pitcher in some time.

* Speaking of the Rangers, junior Jessie Merckle had another outstanding early-season javelin throw.

In a meet Thursday at Burgettstown, Merckle had a WPIAL-best throw of 143-5. Merckle's personal best is a 147-7, which came during her sophomore year and is the 16th best throw in WPIAL history according to Jim Faiella's honor roll.

Merckle, the Girls Field MVP at Saturday's Washington & Greene County Coaches Meet, is ranked sixth nationally according to milesplit.us. With Beka Bellhy and Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry has three of the top six javelin marks in WPIAL Class AA.

* Clairton's Trenton Coles ran a wind-aided 10.37 in the 100-meter dash at Thursday's Blackhills Invitational at Chartiers-Houston. It may be wind-aided, but that is an outstanding time regardless.

* The WPIAL will announce its fifth Hall of Fame class Tuesday, April 26 at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the History Center in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A total of 15 inductees will be announced, in addition to the 2011 WPIAL Courage Award winner.

Former O-R sports writer and proud Wash High graduate Jim Montecalvo, who died on June 7, 2008 at the age of 26, was honored posthumously with the Courage Award in 2010.

* Washington is dropping varsity boys golf.

* Beth-Center senior Jeff Tarley is a three-sport standout who is in the middle of baseball season for the Bulldogs, who look like one of the better teams in Class A at this point.

Tarley's best sport is wrestling and there's a chance he could end up signing with West Virginia University soon.

* Burgettstown has hired Rich Tranquill as its new boys varsity basketball coach. Tranquill, an Avella graduate, spent the past three seasons with the Blue Devils as an assistant coach.

* The Washington-Trinity alumni football game is scheduled for July 8 and, according to Robert Bishop of Alumni Football USA, there are waiting lists to play for both teams and a venue outside of Washington is interested in hosting.

Both teams will hold a meeting Saturday at the Vernon C. Neal Sports Complex at noon.

* Follow me on Twitter: @TheMikeKovak


prexie said...

trenton coles is a beast. he will win at states this year. maybe the 100 or the 200 or the 400 or all three.matt brower from wash high ran 10.9 on wednesday and thats fast but 10.3 is insane. the record at wash high is 10.6 i dont know the record at clairton but 10.3 is probably it.i dont know trentons grades but d1 schools must be salivating.

mike_kovak said...

Agreed Prexie. I don't care how the wind was blowing, 10.37 is crazy at this level.

I hear Brower is healthy now after dealing with a hamstring issue. Should be interesting to see where he fits into the sprints at the WPIAL level.

As far as Coles, I know Pitt has offered.

KiPA - Kevin in PA said...

Deuce was kind enough to tell me at a game last football season that Christian Brumbaugh wears the same number as Ben Roethlisberger.

I hope he recovers.

mike_kovak said...

He is quite observant, which is why he did the O-R basketball rankings some 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Isn't coles to old to participate next year?

prexie said...

just for fun, looked up jesse owens time for the 100m dash at the 1936 berlin olympics it was 10.3

stillafan said...

Who is the boy from Ringgold and what was the track event that he placed 8the in the nation in?

Clairton Alum said...

Trenton is a GREAT kid...GREAT. High honor roll student, tremendous attitude, quick...he might be one of the most well-rounded kids to come out of Clairton...maybe ever. 10.37 is a Clairton record. He is going to be unstoppable come football season this year.

And no, unfortunately for the the black hills conference, Trenton Coles is not too old to participate next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he is well rounded and he should dominate. He will be a 19 year man out there next year playing against high school kids.

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference when you talk about a 19 year old playing high school football. Heck I was already a sophomore in college.

Clairton Alum said...

From the PIAA website regarding age eligibility:

"To be eligible to participate in grades 10 through 12, you must not have reached your 19th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year. Where participation is limited to grades 7 and 8, you may not have reached your 15th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year; where participation is limited to grades 7 through 9, you may not have reached your 16th birthday by June 30 immediately preceding the school year."

Trentons birthday is September 23rd. He is eligible. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Yea technically he's eligible. The point is he's going to be 19 years old in September of his senior year. In a physical sport like football there is a big difference between a 19 year and 17 year old senior.

Anonymous said...

He may be ineligible if he played too many semesters.

mike_kovak said...

I don't think we need to pile on here. This isn't the first time it's happened.

prexie said...

trenton is still a great athlete and i wish him the best. by the way the south fayette track invite was won by wash high. in the finale of the 100m all 8 athletes ran under 11 seconds including brower and spinx from wash high. kenny from aliquippa ran a 10.3 laser time.wasnt there a story somewhere about where are all the sprinters.

Clairton Alum said...

If you have issues with the rule take it up with the PIAA, dont take it out on the kid by posting anonymously on a blog site about it. The rules are being followed. Do you not think there are at least 500 other kids in the wpial who will also benefit from this rule? Success breads contempt...

Anonymous said...

Why do my comments bother you and Mike because you know I am right.