Friday, June 29, 2012

Top five from 2011-12: Games I covered

Blogger's note: The following is a supplement to the Observer-Reporter's Athlete of the Year coverage, which is scheduled to appear in Sunday's edition. Today's topic is the top five games I covered during the school year.

California 2, Bentworth 1 (baseball)
A place in the WPIAL Class A championship game went to the winner. Both teams got to pitch its ace, and neither T.D. Conway or Tyler Delval disappointed in front of a crowd that spilled out of Washington & Jefferson's Ross Memorial Park. A combined 30 strikeouts and eight hits were all part of a nine-inning masterpiece complete with an electric crowd (imagine a WPIAL semifinal basketball game and you'll get an idea) and a 2-1 victory for California. Making the game more memorable was a stomach bug which inflicted several members of California's team the day before the game. Conway was released from Mon Valley Hospital just hours before his pitching arguably the best game of his high school career.

Chartiers-Houston 3, Carmichaels 2 (softball)
The Bucs entered the WPIAL Class A championship game at California University as the defending champion and prohibitive favorite. Carmichaels was fresh off a semifinal win over perennial power Sto-Rox - the Mikes trailed 5-0 at one point. Carmichaels probably got the better of play in the title game, but Chartiers-Houston twice rallied from one-run deficits to beat the Mikes 3-2 in nine innings. The Bucs won on Piper McLaughlin's two-run, two-out triple in the ninth. Oh, and 1,907 turned out to watch a championship game played at 11 a.m. during the work week.

Peters Township 2, Pittsburgh Central Catholic 1 (boys soccer)
Central Catholic dominated WPIAL Class AAA soccer throughout the regular season, and the Vikings received the No. 1 seed in the postseason. Peters Township was seeded fifth, mostly because of a three-game slid to end the regular season. Yet, come playoff time, the Indians had advanced to the semifinals, where it faced the favorite at Baldwin High School. PCC led 1-0 until Matt Venanzi, who will play at Pitt this fall, collected a throw-in just in front of net and scored with 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Peters Township celebrated wildly, but the game was far from over. Neither team scored during overtime, and the Indians won a shootout when goalie Chris Gagianis made a key save on Teddy Larkin.

Peters Township 1, Pennsbury 0 (girls soccer)
The Indians have always had talent, and the 2011 team was no exception. For Peters Township to repeat as PIAA Class AAA champions, it needed more than talent. The situation called for grit. Turns out the Indians have plenty. After Veronica Latsko fought off three Pennsbury defenders to score the lone goal of the championship match in the first half, the Peters Township defense dug in and kept a high-scoring offense from denting the scoreboard. Goalie Megan Parker made four saves and several outstanding plays in the shutout.

Ringgold 42, Greensburg-Salem 41 (football)
The only regular-season game to make the list, and rightfully so. Several seniors made enough plays in this game alone to fill a highlight reel, and the momentum swings were wild. For Ringgold, Quad Law rushed for 188 yards and passed for 110. Dom Affinito rushed for 126. Alfon Cook scored on a run following a lateral which defied description. Greensburg-Salem twice led by 14 points and Ringgold held a late 14-point lead, but the game would not be settled until a GS two-point attempt with 13 seconds remaining fell incomplete.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

APB, Where are they now?

With the NHL Draft held at Consol Energy Center completed, The Varsity Letters was reminded of the first player from Washington County ever selected.

And he was drafted by the hometown Pittsburgh Penguins.

An All Points Bulletin is being issued for Dwight LaBrosse, a McMurray native and ninth-round selection of the Penguins in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, LaBrosse told the Observer-Reporter, "I had no idea I'd get drafted by Pittsburgh. I can't believe it. I've had season tickets forever, since I was 7 or 8 until I left at 15."

LaBrosse was the youngest player on the U.S. National 21-and-Under team at the time of his selection and was the goaltender for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
He played in 31 games with the Storm, compiling a 15-11-2 record with a 3.22 goals against average and stopping over 89 percent of the shots he faced.

LeBrosse struggled in the minors and, according to, last played in 2003-04 for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. A Google search (yep, I fired up the old Google machine) showed LaBrosse has done some competitive fishing in recent years.

Anyone having information on LaBrosse is urged to contact The Varsity Letters.

Boys Athlete of the Year Finalists

Over the past 12 years, the Observer-Reporter has recognized an United States Olympian (Coleman Scott), a NCAA football All-American (Dan Mozes) and one of the nation's premier marathoners (Jeff Weiss) among others as its Boys Athletes of the Year.

2011 - Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
2010 - Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
2009 - Nick Wilcox, Peters Township
2008 - Dan Conley, Burgettstown
2007 - Andrew Sweat, Trinity
2006 - Robert Heller, Ringgold
2005 - Jeff Weiss, McGuffey
2004 - Coleman Scott, Waynesburg
2003 - Colby Giles, Carmichaels
2002 - Dan Mozes, Washington
2001 - Lanfer Simpson, Waynesburg
2000 - Michael Sutton, Washington

Some years, the choice was easy. Other years, it was a difficult selection.

The O-R Boys Athlete of the Year falls under the difficult category. Time will tell if any of the finalists prove as successful as many of their predecessors, but there were many to choose from.

Zach Challingsworth, South Fayette
The Pitt football recruit played receiver, quarterback, defensive back, punter and kick returner for the Lions and was a first-team All-State pick. He was also on the O-R All-District basketball first team.

T.D. Conway, California
A two-sport (football, baseball) standout headed to Cal U for football. Conway owns several Trojans passing records and pitched the baseball team into the WPIAL Class A finals this spring.

Andrew Erenberg, Peters Township
Erenberg competed against some of the toughest competition the WPIAL can offer as a vital member of the football and baseball teams at Peters Township. An All-State selection and Fordham signee, Erenberg rushed for 1,343 yards with 17 TD. In baseball,. he batted .468 with 22 RBI.
Dustin Fuller, Washington
Fuller played soccer and kicked for the football team last fall, but made his mark in track. In fact, it's been some time since an area athlete had a better track season than Fuller. He became the first male to win four events at the WPIAL championships, and followed it with four medals at the state meet, including one gold and one silver.

Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry
Fort Cherry's career passing leader went for 2,171 yards and 23 TD as a senior with 12 rushing TDs. The future Bowling Green football player wrestled this winter after playing basketball as a junior. In baseball, he batted nearly .500 and struck out 88 as the team's top pitcher.

Quad Law, Ringgold
There wasn't much Law couldn't or didn't do on the football field during his senior season, which was one reason why he was selected the O-R Player of the Year. The future Gannon multi-purpose threat, was an All-State player as he rushed for 1,341 yards and averaged 11.2 per carry.

Chavas Rawlins, Monessen
Name the sport, and chances are Rawlins plays it for Monessen and he excels. It's football, however, where the WVU recruit shines as he accounted for 16 TDs as a junior.

Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan
In his first season with the Big Macs, Wiercioch went unbeaten on his way to WPIAL and PIAA titles. The O-R Wrestler of the Year also helped C-M win team championships at the state and district level.

Josh Wise, Washington
The rare three-sport athlete who excels in every sport he particpates, Wise helped the Prexies qualify for the playoffs in football, basketball and track, where Wash High won a WPIAL title. Wise made the All-District basketball first team and was a WPIAL high jump champion.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Girls Athlete of the Year Finalists

Following the completion of every scholastic sports year, the Observer-Reporter honors a boys and girls athlete of the year. It is voted on by members of the sports staff.

Generally, the distinction is given to a multi-sport athlete, though a single-sport athlete can be selected, as evidenced by the past two Girls Athlete of the Year honorees.

Previous O-R Girls Athlete of the Year were Shelli Spamer, Peters Township (2011), Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan (2010), Amanda Kennedy, Bentworth (2009), Jenna Phillips, Washington (2008), Paige McMenamin, Peters Township (2007), Brianna Liebold, Chartiers-Houston (2006), Ashley Young, Canon-McMillan (2005), Samantha Slagle, Beth-Center (2004), Stephanie Kuhn, Ringgold (2003), Jessica Perry, Peters Township (2002), Shellie Cotton, Charleroi (2001) and Kristen Lancas, Ringgold (2000).

The following five players were considered for this year's distinction:
Beka Bellhy, Fort Cherry
Bellhy was the O-R Girls Basketball Player of the Year and an All-State selection. She also played volleyball and participated in track.

Jessica Dorazio, Bentworth
Dorazio was a three-sport standout. She earned All-State honors in volleyball, was the area's leading scorer in girls basketball and one of the premier defensive players in softball.

Shannon Flament, Charleroi
Flament earned All-WPIAL honors in soccer, was a four-year starter and the leading scorer for the basketball team and a PIAA qualifier in track.

Veronica Latsko, Peters Township
Already one of the more highly decorated girls soccer players in Washington County history, Latsko - a sophomore - scored 45 goals for PT, including the lone goal in the PIAA Class AAA championship match.

Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry
For all Fort Cherry's basketball talent, the Rangers played their best when Merckle was on, which was most of the time. A two-time All-District selection in basketball, the Wake Forest track recruit was a PIAA and WPIAL gold medalist in the javelin.

Attention baseball and softball coaches

The Observer-Reporter needs all area high school baseball and softball coaches to send in final statistics.

If you have not sent us final stats, please send them to

Friday, June 15, 2012

Meyer creates stir before Big 33 game

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — Urban Meyer created a minor stir at a news conference Friday for a high school All-Star football game between Ohio and Pennsylvania without saying a word.
Imagine what Ohio State’s new coach could do on the recruiting trail in Pennsylvania, long fertile territory for prospective talent for the Buckeyes. There’s an added twist, too, in the interstate recruiting battles: Ohio State, Penn State and Pitt each have new coaches.
“There’s change. There’s maybe a little level of discomfort in what had happened in Columbus,” Meyer said when asked about how the dynamics of having three new coaches at each school might affect recruiting tussles. “Just keep fighting through it, and work as hard as you can moving forward.”
Ten minutes late, Meyer was seated before a bank of microphones right next to the Big Ten’s other high-profile new hire, the Nittany Lions’ Bill O’Brien, at the news conference to promote the Big 33 high school football game between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Also in attendance were Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, new Pitt coach Paul Chryst and Temple coach Steve Addazio — Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Florida.
Among the Pennsylvania contingent of coaches at the podium, Addazio was the dean of the delegation — and he’s only in his second year.
“I’ll take all the advice I can get,” O’Brien joked.
“Let me tell you something. I’m in no position to give any advice, OK,” Addazio retorted, drawing chuckles. “It’s hysterical to me sometimes how fast our business moves.”
Each member of the Pennsylvania contingent offered Meyer a cordial welcome upon his late arrival. Later, when they walked out on stage during a high-tech introduction before at least a couple hundred people inside an auditorium, Meyer was introduced before O’Brien — but O’Brien drew the biggest round of applause.
This is still Nittany Lions territory, after all.
“If you compare head coaches, I would say that Urban’s got the proven track record. I’ve never coached a game yet,” said O’Brien, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator entering his maiden season as a head coach. “What we try to do at Penn State is talk about Penn State .... At the end of the day, we worry about the kids who choose Penn State.”
For Meyer, it was his second trip this week into a hostile football territory that also lies in a Ohio State recruiting target area. Meyer was at a high school football camp outside Detroit on Wednesday to speak to attendees from across the country. Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi were among other coaches in attendance.
“You don’t have to think about the difference in how it was or how it’s going to be,” Meyer said Friday about recruiting, “except that it’s a street fight every day and you work as hard as you can.”
Meyer and O’Brien are acquaintances from when Meyer was an assistant at Notre Dame and O’Brien an assistant at Georgia Tech.
Chryst, a former assistant at Wisconsin, concurred with O’Brien that recruiting was about finding the “right fit.”
“Our job is to let players know, prospects known, who we are. Then to me it’s about finding a fit,” Chryst said. “You want football to be great in this state ... we can all be strong with Pennsylvania kids.”
Chryst made those comments with O’Brien and Addazio sitting before the microphones — but before Meyer arrived.
Tight end Adam Breneman, who has verbally committed to Penn State for the Class of 2013, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during offseason drills Thursday and will miss his senior season at Cedar Cliff High School. Breneman, considered one of the prospects in the country, chose Penn State over Ohio State. He told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that he now intends to enroll at Penn State early, and that he’s working with Penn State’s medical staff within NCAA guidelines.

BeeGraphix Football Classic

It's all-star football weekend, and the area gets in on the fun with Saturday's BeeGraphix Football Classic. The game kicks off from Belle Vernon at 7 p.m. and features players from southern Allegheny County, Washington County, Greene County, Westmoreland County and Fayette County.
The North looks strong along the offensive line and boasts speed in Canon-McMillan's Kenyadda Brown, the Washington County champion in the 100 and 200 dashes during track season. Quarterback Tanner Garry (Bowling Green) and Corey Garry (Robert Morris) were two of the more highly recruited players on the North roster.
South coach Ed Woods was impressed with the practice habits of Trinity products John Laschinsky and Brandon Robertson. Several South skill position players are headed to Division II programs including Ringgold's Alfon Cook (Slippery Rock), Beth-Center's (Sal Faieta) and California's T.D. Conway (Cal U).

North Team
1-Zach Hamilton, Chartiers-Houston P/K
2-Vincent Magnone, Washington WR
3-Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry QB
4-Kyle Rodriguez, Frazier WR
5-Jalen Morris, Washington OL
6-Kenyadda Brown, Canon-McMillan RB
7-Dan Lis, Chartiers-Houston QB
8-Kyle Cline, Bentworth WR
10-Billy Simpson, Bentworth TE
12-Rock Vargo, Frazier OL
13-Anthony Cinello, Bethel Park QB
14-Tony Kudyba, Frazier OL
16-Keith Cox, McGuffey OL
18-Santo Piccolomini, Geibel WR
21-Dalton Barbus, Southmoreland TE
23-Connor Mcklveen, Southmoreland WR
24-Mason Tororice, Elizabeth-Forward TE
27-Zach May, South Park OL
31-Asa Costelnock, Southmoreland OL
32-Wade Durbin, West Greene TE
34-Corey Garry, Fort Cherry FB
35-Zack Soyring, Canon-McMillan FB
40-Austin Hague, McGuffey OL
43-Cody Stolar, South Park WR
51-Galega Atte, Bethel Park OL
52-Joe Graziani, Canon-McMillan OT
53-Brian Cumpston, Canon-McMillan C
54-Mike Dunlap, Bethel Park OL
55-Ryan Tucker, South Park OL
58-Bob Mele, Chartiers-Houston OL
65-Matt Pawlak, McGuffey OL
67-Nate Grandelis, Chartiers-Houston OL
71-Ben Bowman, Fort Cherry OL
75-Ryan Schilinski, McGuffey OL

South Team
2-Sal Faieta, Beth-Center QB
3-Jake Riddell, Laurel Highlands QB
3-Alfon Cook, Ringgold WR
5-Tre Hall, Brownsville RB
6-Nick Zupper, Waynesburg RB
7-Jake Burritt, Belle Vernon TE
7-TD Conway, California QB
7-Denzel Beasley, Laurel Highlands RB
10-Dominic Gibson, Uniontown WR
12-John Laschinsky, Trinity WR
18-Tyler Kamenos, Mapletown WR
20-Mike Rumble, Mapletown RB
21-Lamar Bell, Brownsville WR
23-Deshan Brown, Beth-Center RB
25-Kyle Gray, Mapletown FB
28-Tyler Yocca, Trinity WR
30-Brandon Robertson, Trinity FB
36-Skyler Dickinson, California FB
35-Sheldon Chun, Carmichaels FB
35-Adam Cole, Belle Vernon FB
48-Jake Sofran, Beth-Center FB
52-Desmond Davis, Monessen C
54-Mike Beveridge, Ringgold T
55-Tevan McDowell, Waynesburg T
62-Derek Bedenbaugh, Trinity T
63-Dylan Gaskill, California G
66-Chris Hall, Uniontown T
68-Brendan Wright, California G
72-Jeff Blaker, Jeff-Morgan G
73-Mike Kope, Charleroi G
78-Juwan Mull, Monessen T
83-Joe Phillips, Jeff-Morgan TE
86-Daniel Davis, Waynesburg TE
92-Rashad Craig, Albert Galatin OT

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All-State track

2012 Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association Outdoor T&F All-State Team
First team
100 - Jada Steward, West Catholic
100 hurdles - Eliana Yankelev, Lower Merion
200 - Deme'shia Davis, Central Dauphin East
300 hurdles - Dannah Hayward, Coughlin
400 - Kenya Woodall, Coatesville
800 - Emma Keenan, Gwynedd Mercy
1,600 - Angel Piccirillo, Homer-Center
3,200 - Tori Gerlach, Pennridge
Shot put - Rachel Fatherly, Williamsport
Discus - Taylor Woods, Hickory
Javelin - Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry
Pole vault - Larissa Debich, Hempfield (WPIAL)
High jump - Taylor Morgan, Upper Dublin
Long jump - Marshay Ryan, Chambersburg
Triple jump - Lanae Newsome, Brookville
400 relay - Swenson
1,600 relay - Central Bucks West
3,200 relay - Strath Haven

Second team
100 - Kenya Woodall, Coatesville
100 hurdles - Kayla Coley, Cheltenham
200 - Imani Harris-Quillan, Swenson
300 hurdles - Mary Whitmer, Ephrata
400 - Sarah Helgeson, Hempfield (D3)
800 - Angel Piccirillo, Homer-Center
1,600 - Kennedy Weisner, Elk County Catholic
3,200 - Meghan McGovern, North Penn
Shot put - Jennifer Neider, Hickory
Discus - Lauren Lubarski, Hickory
Javelin - Christine Streisel, Tamaqua
Pole vault - Marissa Kalsey, Waynesburg
High jump - Megan McCloskey, Germantown Academy
Long jump - Ciara Andrews, Cheltenham
Triple jump - Paige Lumley, Richland
400 relay - Central Dauphin East
1,600 relay - Pennsbury
3,200 relay - Downingtown East

Third team
100 - Jody Ann Evans, Quakertown
100 hurdles - Emily Lelis, Springdale
200 - Jada Steward, West Catholic
300 hurdles - Emily Lelis, Springdale
400 - Jordan Matthews, Abington
800 - Cearia Brown, Overbrook
1,600 run - Sara Sargent, Pennsbury
3,200 run - Adair Gennocro, St. Mary's
Shot put - Tyra Roberts, Bensalem
Discus - Rachel Fatherly, Williamsport
Javelin - Lauren Lubarski, Hickory
Pole vault - Kasey Kemp, Norwin
High jump - Abby Jones, Franklin
Long jump - Lauren Ball, Bloomsburg and Anna Chodubski, Erie McDowell
Triple jump - Marshay Ryan, Chambersburg
400 relay - Pennridge
1,600 relay - Strath Haven
3,200 relay - West Chester Henderson

Girls Athlete of the Year: Angel Piccirillo, Homer-Center
Girls Coach of the Year: Barbara Dzuricsko, Hickory

First team
100 - Kalil Slaughter, Sheffield
110 hurdles - Chris Williams, Strath Haven
200 - Eric Futch, Penn Wood
300 hurdles - Eric Futch, Penn Wood
400 - Oliver Philogene, Seneca Valley
800 - Wil Bailey, Penn Hills
1,600 - Tom Coyle, LaSalle
3,200 - Sam Hibbs, Hatboro-Horsham
Shot put - Kyle Felpel, Cocalico
Discus - Kyle Long, Hempfield (D3)
Javelin - Billy Stanley, South Park
Pole vault - Chris Williams, Strath Haven
High jump - Ibn Short, Milton Hershey
Long jump - Tyrek Edwards, Archbishop Ryan
Triple jump - Wellington Zaza, Strath Haven
400 relay - Strath Haven
1,600 relay - Penn Wood
3,200 relay - Cumberland Valley

Second team
100 - Ryan Hynes, Central Bucks South
110 hurdles - Aaron Willet, Coatesville
200 dash - Kalil Slaughter, Sheffield
300 hurdles - Wellington Zaza, Strath Haven
400 - Malik Jones, Monsignor Bonner
800 - Drew Magaha, Upper Moreland
1,600 - Ryan Smathers, North East
3,200 - Dustin Wilson, Chestnut Hill Academy
Shot put - Matt Bell, Hickory
Discus - Bryan Pearson, Bangor
Javelin - Michael Shuey, Johnsonburg
Pole vault - Jared Allison, Dallastown
High jump - Jalen Ramsey, Norristown
Long jump - John Landis, Father Judge
Triple jump - Imani Brown, Reading
400 relay - Neshaminy
1,600 relay - Bensalem
3,200 relay - Chambersburg
Third team
100 - Andrew Adighibe, Milton Hershey
110 hurdles - Wellington Zaza, Strath Haven
200 - Ronnie Gillespie, Upper Perkiomen
300 hurdles - Dustin Fuller, Washington
400 - Haneef Hardy, Swenson
800 - Alec Kunzweiler, Cumberland Valley
1,600 - Drew Magaha, Upper Moreland
3,200 - Daniel Jaskowak, Grove City
Shot put - Kyle Long, Hempfield (D3)
Discus - John Yohman, Wilmington and Kyle Felpel, Cocalico
Javelin - Kyle Felpel, Cocalico
Pole vault - Patrick Anderson, Kane
High jump - Charles Wilson-Adams, Tyrone
Long jump - Harley LaCroix, Cheltenham
Triple jump - Shawn Johnson, Canon-McMillan
400 relay - Father Judge
1,600 relay - Swenson
3,200 relay - Pennridge

Boys Athlete of the Year: Billy Stanley, South Park
Boys Coach of the Year: Bob Jesson, Strath Haven

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Waynesburg's Marissa Kalsey won the PIAA Class AA girls pole vault championship last month, and it capped a medal-filled high school career.

A four-time PIAA qualifier, Kalsey won gold, silver and bronze at the state meet in her final three appearances. She won multiple WPIAL championships and countless other competitions.

Every now and again, something interesting falls into the email box, like this photo sent by Richard Kalsey of Marissa with her medals.

APB, Where Are They Now?

It's back.
The Varsity Letters wants to track down the whereabouts of former standout high school athletes, so we're issuing a pair of All Points Bulletins for two softball pitchers who helped their respective teams to on-field success.
As Canon-McMillan prepares for the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals Monday against Bishop Shanahan at Carlisle High School at 4 p.m., an All Points Bulletin is being issued for Becca Petras.
As Chartiers-Houston readies for a third straight appearance in the PIAA Class A semifinals and a game against familiar foe Fannett-Metal Monday at St. Francis University at noon, an All Points Bulletin is being issued for Danielle Claassen.
Canon-McMillan softball was a regular contender for section championships during the four years Petras pitched for the Big Macs.
Petras went 13-5 with a 0.80 ERA and 198 strikeouts during her senior season in 2006. She finished her Big Macs career with 695 strikeouts and a 0.78 ERA. Petras was headed to Allegheny College upon high school graduation and may have ended up at Duquesne.

Chartiers-Houston won three consecutive WPIAL Class A championships from 2005-2007. Claassen was the winning pitcher in the 2005 and 2006 championship games.

Two Peters Township products drafted

As far as senior seasons go, it's tough to top Jimmy Rider's year as a member of the Kent State University baseball team.
Rider recently became the Golden Flashes' all-time hits leader, and has 346 for his career. Kent State is a baseball program which has produced former New York Yankees Thurman Munson and Gene Michael, and former Pirates first-round draft pick John VanBenschoten.
Then, Kent State won the Mid-American Conference, again, and clinched a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. With significant contributions from Rider, the Golden Flashes' starting shortstop the past four years, Kent State has advanced to the Eugene Super Regional. If Kent State wins a three-game series against Oregon, it advances to the College World Series.
Rider's best graduation gift likely came Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 26th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. The Pirates pan on moving Rider to second base.
"I went to a lot of Pirates games growing up and I've always followed them," Rider said. "I watch them on TV any time I get a chance. ... I've always been a huge Pirates fan."
Jordan Jankowski, Rider's former high school teammate, likely took an interest in the Houston Astros when the organization selected him in the 34th round of the 2008 draft. The Astros certainly remembered Jankowski as his college career took him from Miami (Ohio) to Division II Catawba (N.C.).
They drafted Jankowski with the first pick of the 34th round.
Jankowski led Division II with 126 strikeouts during the regular season. He did not pitch for Catawba in the Division II tournament.s
Rider and Jankowski are the seventh and eighth players from Peters Township drafted since Joe Maize became head coach.
Last year, Justin Bianco was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jim Gallagher was a seventh round pick of the Chicago White Sox and still with the organization. Joe Kail, Jason DiAngelo, Brian Simmons and Chris Peters were the others. Simmons and Peters each played in the major leagues. Peters was a pitcher for the Pirates.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Diddy's son lands scholarship to UCLA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Combs, the 18-year-old son of hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, will attend UCLA on a $54,000 football scholarship.
It is one of 285 athletic scholarships the university hands out every year.
It comes at a time when student fees are rising and a year after the university had to use more than $2 million in student fees to cover an athletic department funding gap.
Money for Combs’ scholarship will not affect need-based scholarships awarded by the university, UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told the Los Angeles Times.
“There is a big separation between financial aid based on need and how that’s funded and how athletic scholarships are funded and awarded to students,” he said, noting that athletic scholarships come from athletic department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations.
The newspaper said Justin Combs defended taking the scholarship on Twitter: “Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! ... PERIOD.”
The senior Combs is worth an estimated $475 million and gave his son a $360,000 Maybach car for his 16th birthday, the Times said.
Justin Combs, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back, graduated from New Rochelle Iona Prep in New York with a 3.75 grade point average. He also had scholarship offers from Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming.
If needy students are unaffected, there is no problem, said Emily Resnick, outgoing president of UCLA’s Undergraduate Students Association. “If his athletic abilities deserve it, then more power to him.”
Joelle Gamble, who will graduate from the university in a few weeks, said the scholarship could be considered an investment since UCLA would probably benefit by the celebrity Combs could bring to the school.
“It’s how college athletics works. This is how we’re going to get money,” she said.
A few years ago, former Southern California basketball coach Tim Floyd said fame was a factor when he offered a scholarship to rapper Master P’s son, Romeo, for the 2008-2009 season. But Romeo left the team in 2010 after playing just 19 minutes in two seasons as a Trojan.