Thursday, February 21, 2013

District 5 Class A playoffs preview

Top seeds: 1. Shade (22-1), 2. Shanksville-Stonycreek (19-3), 3. HOPE for Hyndman (16-6), 4. Berlin Brothersvalley (14-8).
Defending champion: Shade
Players to watch: Ryan Fyock, Wade Walker (Shade), Carter Slade, Jordan Wilt (Shanksville), Jacob Snyder, Drew Glotfelty (Berlin)
The skinny: Shade is the favorite, though Shanksville is the lone team to beat the Panthers. No team in the bracket can match Shade's firepower and defensive mindset. ... The Vikings are an intriguing team. They've played some good teams tough and won at Shade. ... Berlin, like Shanksville, kept things close with some of the better small-school teams in the area.
Sleeper: Berlin
Championship: Shade over Shanksville.

Top seeds: 1. Southern Fulton (19-1), 2. Berlin (20-3), 3. Conemaugh Township (18-4), 4. Northern Bedford (16-6).
Defending champion: Southern Fulton
Players to watch: Kayla Luprek, Lyndy Baer (Conemaugh Township), Leah Hershberger, Cierra Cottle (Northern Bedford), Abigahl Stahl (Meyersdale), Emma Spinelli (Shade).
The skinny: Conemaugh Township is the defending Class AA champion and is arguably in a tougher bracket this season. ... Top-seeded Southern Fulton beat Berlin by 15 points early in the season. ... The Mountaineers' last game was an overtime loss to Portage in the WestPAC championship.... The Red Raiders recently concluded one of its better regular season in some time. ... Only a freshman, Spinelli is averaging 19.2 points per game.
Sleeper: Conemaugh Township.
Championship: Southern Fulton over Conemaugh Township.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

District 5 Class AA playoffs preview

Top seeds: 1. Conemaugh Township (20-3), 2. Northern Bedford (18-5), 3. Chestnut Ridge (17-5), 4. Tussey Mountain (15-7).
Defending champion: Conemaugh Township
Players to watch: Dillon Boyer, Jeff Fisher (Conemaugh Township), Ben Pick, Beau Bosch (Chestnut Ridge), Colt Ursino, Tyler Zabrucky (Windber), Tayler Pressel, Blake Over (Northern Bedford), Eric Husick, Luke Zelanko (Tussey Mountain).
The skinny: The Indians had a 19-game win streak snapped when Shade showed its top form in the WestPAC championship games. CT boasts a balanced offense with four players averaging double figures in scoring. ... Ridge's Bosch is as good an athlete as one can find in District 5, and the Lions are capable of beating playoff-caliber competition. ... The Ramblers (8-14) are the sixth, and final, seed in the bracket. ... Northern Bedford, like Conemaugh Township, has four players averaging in double figures scoring. The Panthers, however, have lost two of three games entering the tournament. ... The Titans have won five consecutive games. One of those wins came against Chestnut Ridge. ... Southern Fulton is also on a five-game win streak.
Sleeper: Tussey Mountain
Championship: Conemaugh Township over Northern Bedford.

Top seeds: 1. Everett (16-6), 2. Tussey Mountain (16-6), 3. North Star (7-15), 4. Windber (12-10).
Defending champion: Conemaugh Township
Players to watch: Aubrea Phipps, Kadie Morral (Everett), Courtney Rupert, Olivia Claycomb (Tussey Mountain), Courtney Schrock, Olivia Zuchelli (North Star), Kaitlyn Weaver, Kortney Lampel (Windber).
The skinny: Everett's Morral is only a freshman but is averaging more rebounds (12.9) than points (11.1). ... Todd Gates' Titans average 15.5 steals per game and boast wins over Richland and Westmont Hilltop. ... Several of the Cougars' top players are freshman. North Star does not have a senior. ... Windber hasn't played in two weeks, which could slow the momentum the Ramblers created at the end of the regular season. With a roster equally as youthful as North Star's, Windber enters the postseason on a three-game win streak.
Sleeper: Windber
Championship: Tussey Mountain over Everett.

Monday, February 18, 2013

T-D girls' basketball rankings

1. Forest Hills 17-4
Rangers earned top seed in District 6 Class AAA playoffs.
2. Portage 20-2
WestPAC champs avenged previous loss to Berlin Brothersvalley in title game.

3. Westmont Hilltop 19-4
Hilltoppers struggled vs. Bishop Guilfoyle in LHAC title game. Of course, every team struggles against BG.

4. Berlin Brothersvalley 20-3
Rachel Prosser's squad had a 19-game win streak snapped against Portage.

5. Richland 17-5
Winners of four straight, Richland opens postseason play tonight against Central Cambria.

6. Ligonier Valley 15-6
Class AAA Rams haven't been able to solve Blairsville, the top seed in Class AA.

7. Conemaugh Township 18-4
Indians play Shade for first time this season in opening round of District 5 Class A playoffs.

8. Conemaugh Valley 16-6
Balanced Blue Jays won final four conference games.

9. Bishop McCort 12-9
Crimson Crushers should prove to be a tough out in District 6 Class AA bracket.

10. Windber 12-10
Ramblers will have 14-day layoff before playing in District 5 Class AA playoffs.

Tribune-Democrat boys' basketball rankings

Tradition-rich programs like Bishop McCort do not believe in moral victories, but the Crimson Crushers sure garnered a lot of attention the past week ... and it all started with a loss at Greensburg Central Catholic on Monday.

For starters, the Centurions have been a state power the last several years. This year is no different as GCC sports a 21-1 record with its lone loss at Quad-A Gateway. GCC is ranked No. 2 in Class AA in the state according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg and there are many on the western side of Pennsylvania that believe GCC is the best team in the classification.

Bishop McCort, the defending District 6 Class AA champs, lost 81-72 on Monday in a highly competitive game as Nemo Trexler scored 32 points for the Crimson Crushers. GCC is one tough place to play.

Bishop McCort followed with a tough win at Greater Johnstown and by rallying from a double-digit deficit to defeat Bishop Carroll for the LHAC championship. It's McCort's second win over Carroll this season.

1. Bishop McCort 15-7
Forget the record, the Crimson Crushers are ready for the postseason, even as the No. 6 seed in District 6.

2. Bishop Carroll 19-4
Huskies enter District 6 Class A bracket as top seed.

3. Shade 22-1
Panthers went 24 of 25 from free-throw line in WestPAC title game - a convincing win over Conemaugh Township.

4. Penn Cambria 17-4
UPJ recruit A.J. Leahey is averaging 19.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.

5. Northern Cambria 18-4
Colts bringing a five-game win streak into District 6 Class AA playoffs.

6. Conemaugh Township 20-3
Loss to Shade snapped 18-game win streak for Chuck Lesko's Indians.

7. Greater Johnstown 14-7
Trojans played just one game last week - a loss to Bishop McCort - and have this week off before the District 6 Class AAA championship game next week.

8. Somerset 14-8
Golden Eagles ended regular season on up note with wins at Richland and Bedford. They play the Bisons again in the D6 AAA semis.

9. Shanksville-Stonycreek 19-3
Vikings' loss to Shade was second home setback of season. First came against Conemaugh Township.

10. Ligonier Valley 14-7
Surging Rams have won five consecutive games entering postseason.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

District 6 girls' Class A preview

Top seeds: 1. Bishop Guilfoyle (21-2), 2. Portage (20-2), 3. Claysburg-Kimmel (16-5), 4. Conemaugh Valley (16-6).
Portage's Olivia McCabe (left) and Emily Chobany. Photo courtesy of Portage Athletics Twitter.
Defending champion: Bishop Guilfoyle
Players to watch: Olivia McCabe, Emily Chobany (Portage), Emily McCray, Lexi Hody (Conemaugh Valley), Eden Bloom (United), Allison Thomas, Heather Marsh (Blacklick Valley), Ellie Yahner (Bishop Carroll), Halee Adams, Kayla Bates (Bishop Guilfoyle), Abigayle Kulick (Claysburg-Kimmel), Krista Gillo (Penns Manor), Abbie Zinobile (Juniata Valley).
The skinny: It's difficult to imagine any other team besides Bishop Guilfoyle winning the tournament because, well, the Marauders win District 6 most years. ... Portage enters the field with higher expectations than its had in years and several standout underclassmen. ... Conemaugh Valley drew a tough first-round opponent in Penns Manor. ... According to MaxPreps, Williamsburg doesn't have a player averaging more than 7.1 points per game while Bishop Carroll averages 21.9 points per game.
Sleeper: Juniata Valley
Championship: Bishop Guilfoyle over Portage.

District 6 boys' Class A preview

Top seeds: 1. Bishop Carroll (19-4), 2. Bishop Guilfoyle (16-5), 3. Homer-Center (17-5), 4. Blacklick Valley (14-7).
Bishop Carroll's Marcus Lee averages 12.0 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Defending champion: Northern Cambria
Players to watch: Brandon Martinazzi, Marcus Lee (Bishop Carroll), Dalton Cesarz, Johnny Sheesley (Blacklick Valley), Chad Eisenhuth, Rakwon Hinton (Ferndale), Brandon Drenning (Bishop Guilfoyle), Caleb Taylor (Juniata Valley), Eli Fay (Williamsburg), Shea O'Donnell (Glendale), Steve Richards (Saltsburg).
The skinny: Despite Saturday's loss to Bishop McCort in the LHAC championship game, Bishop Carroll has to be considered the favorite though Bishop Guilfoyle and Homer-Center are more than capable. ... Guilfoyle beat Carroll in the most previous meeting between the two rivals. ... Blacklick Valley's Dalton Cesarz is the Vikings' all-time leading rebounder and he's averaging 25.6 points per game. ... There's a Heisman winner in the bracket. BV's Johnny Sheesley was recognized as the PA High School Heisman winner during the fall. ... Ferndale's Eisenhuth is averaging 21.1 points per game. ... Glendale's O'Donnell averages a double-double.
Sleeper: Williamsburg.
Championship: Bishop Carroll over Bishop Guilfoyle.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

District 6 girls' Class AA preview

Top seeds: 1. Bald Eagle Area (20-1), 2. Bellwood-Antis (19-1), 3. Westmont Hilltop (19-3), 4. Blairsville (21-1).
Defending champion: Forest Hills.
Top players: Erin Rodgers, Paige Lamberson (Westmont Hilltop), Sarah Pfeil, Katie Gehlmann (Richland), Mackenzie Barbin, Emily Daley (Bishop McCort), Bri Wasser, Taylor King-Brothers (Central Cambria), Kaitlyn Krug, Bri Mulhern (Penn Cambria), Marissa Ward (Bald Eagle), Mackenzie Livingston (Blairsville).
The skinny: Bald Eagle's record is impressive. The level of competition they played isn't. Ditto for Bellwood-Antis. ... The Hilltoppers play Bishop Guilfoyle for the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title later today. ... Blairsville averages close to 70 points per game and is coached by former Richland coach Ralph McGinnis. ... Richland is seeded seventh and if the Rams get past Central Cambria, they could give No. 2 Bellwood-Antis trouble. ... Bishop McCort has displayed considerable improvement as the season has progressed.
Sleeper: Richland.
Prediction: Blairsville over Westmont Hilltop.

Friday, February 15, 2013

District 6 boys' Class AA playoff preview

Top seeds: 1. Bald Eagle Area (19-2), 2. Penn Cambria (17-4), 3. Bellwood-Antis (18-2), 4. Tyrone (16-5).
Defending champion: Bishop McCort
Players to watch: A.J. Leahey, Devin Lawhead (Penn Cambria), Nemo Trexler, Billy Hipp (Bishop McCort), Kyle Flick (Richland), Adam Polites, Jeff Hogan (Northern Cambria), Isaac Vescovi (Cambria Heights), Dennis Fisher (Bald Eagle Area), Noah Davis (Bellwood-Antis).
The skinny: Only two of the bracket's top eight seeds hail from the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference - Penn Cambria (second), Bishop McCort (eighth). Both are capable of making a postseason push. Richland is seeded 12th and had an up-and-down season, yet the Rams figure to be a very difficult first-round opponent for Northern Cambria, which is the defending D6 Class A champ. Thanks to WJAC's Matt Maisel, who alerted The Varsity Club that Bellwood-Antis' Noah Davis, who averages more than 22 ppg, has a broken wrist but played in the Blue Devils' most recent game.
Sleeper: Bishop McCort
Championship: Bishop McCort over Tyrone.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

District 6 Class AAA playoff preview

Teams: 1. Greater Johnstown (14-6), 2. Somerset (13-8), 3. Bedford (4-17).
Defending champion: Greater Johnstown.
Players to watch: Phillip Madison, Roshon Fields (Greater Johnstown); Jake Close, Brent Barron (Somerset), Tyler Black (Bedford).
The skinny: The Trojans are the clear favorite here. They've already defeated Somerset twice during the regular season and bear Bedford by 35 points.
Prediction: Greater Johnstown over Somerset.

Teams: 1. Forest Hills (17-4), 2. Ligonier Valley (13-5), 3. Westinghouse (13-9), 4. Carrick (10-8), 5. Huntingdon (7-9), 6. Greater Johnstown (6-16).
Defending champion: Hollidaysburg.
Players to watch: Casey Gallaher, Caitlin Gallaher (Forest Hills), Maddy Grimm, Kyre Ludwig (Ligonier Valley), Tara Smith (Huntingdon), Tashayla Smith, Lexi Lindrose (Greater Johnstown).
The skinny: Forest Hills and Ligonier Valley moved up from Class AA and are the clear-cut favorites here in this interdistrict bracket. District 8's Westinghouse played a challenging schedule outside the City League. Carrick sports a winning record but it lost to several small-school WPIAL teams during the regular season.
Prediction: Ligonier Valley over Forest Hills.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Patriot-News boys' basketball rankings

Class AAAA
1. Chester (19-3)
2. Lower Merion (20-2)
3. Harrisburg (20-2)
4. McCaskey (20-2)
5. New Castle (21-0)
6. Cathedral Prep (19-2)
7. Williamsport (17-2)
8. St. Joseph's Prep (18-4)
9. Martin Luther King (21-2)
10. York (21-2)
Honorable mention
Abington (18-4), Council Rock North (17-5), Norristown (19-3), Penn Wood (15-7), Pennsbury (15-7), Hatboro-Horsham (17-5), Ridley (17-5) , Great Valley (23-0), Coatesville (17-6), Roman Catholic (17-5), La Salle College (15-7), Archbishop Ryan (15-7), State College (13-7), Parkland (16-6), Freedom (15-7), Liberty (15-7), Pocono Mountain West (18-4), St. Clair (18-3), Gateway (15-5), Hampton (18-4), Seneca Valley (15-7), North Allegheny (18-3), Pittsburgh Central Catholic (16-5).

Class AAA
1. Imhotep Charter (19-4)
2. Neumann-Goretti (17-5)
3. Allentown Central Catholic (20-2)
4. Archbishop Carroll (18-4)
5. Susquehanna Twp (21-1)
6. Abington Heights (18-2)
7. Mars (18-3)
8. Berks Catholic (20-3)
9. Chartiers Valley (19-2)
10. Montour (17-4)
Honorable mention
Thomas Jefferson (16-6), Uniontown (16-3), West Mifflin (15-5), Beaver Area (17-3), Central Valley (16-6), Donegal (22-0), Bishop McDevitt (16-6), Steel-High (19-4), Palmyra (15-7), Gettysburg (16-6), Greencastle-Antrim (16-5), Wilson Area (21-1), Pottsville (18-4), Holy Ghost Prep (15-6).

Class AA
1. Beaver Falls (19-3)
2. Greensburg Central Catholic (20-1)
3. Meyers (18-2)
4. Jeannette (17-4)
5. Holy Cross (16-4)
6. West Middlesex (17-3)
7. Communications Tech (16-6)
8. Trinity (15-6)
9. Loyalsock (18-3)
10. Lewisburg (19-2)
Honorable mention
Seton-La Salle (20-2), Sto-Rox (14-7), Quaker Valley (18-4), California (18-3), Serra Catholic (13-7), Elk Lake (17-3), Mid Valley (17-3), Riverside (15-6), Dunmore (12-7), Catasauqua (16-6), Notre Dame-Green Pond (13-9), Wellsboro (18-1), Constitution (15-8), Tyrone (15-4), Bald Eagle Area (17-2), Bellwood-Antis (18-2), Penn Cambria (16-3),  Lakeview (17-3), Mercyhurst Prep (13-6).

Class A
1. Math, Civics & Sciences (22-1)
2. Vaux (16-7)
3. Lincoln Park (17-5)
4. Church Farm (17-5)
5. Vincentian (20-1)
6. Bishop Carroll (16-3)
7. Johnsonburg (18-2)
8. Ridgway (19-3)
9. Smethport (19-1)
10. St. John Neumann (19-1)
Shade (19-1), Shanksville-Stonycreek (18-2), Bishop Guilfoyle (15-3), North Catholic (14-5), Union Area (16-4), Our Lady of Sacred Heart (17-4), Clairton (13-6), A-C Valley (17-3), North Clarion (21-1), Elk County Catholic (16-5), Clarion (14-7), Greenwood (17-3), Lebanon Catholic (15-7), New Hope Academy (16-4), Sullivan County (19-2), Muncy (15-5), Lourdes Regional (16-5), Mahanoy Area (17-4), Marian Catholic (17-5), Pius X (16-2), Sankofa (13-10), Delco Christian (16-6),  Kennedy Catholic (15-5).

Monday, February 11, 2013

T-D girls' basketball rankings

1. Berlin 17-2
Big win versus Conemaugh Township last week. Mountaineers have clinched spot in WestPAC title game.

2. Westmont Hilltop 17-3
It's a battle of perennial powers (Westmont vs. Bishop Guilfoyle) in Saturday's LHAC championship game.

3. Forest Hills 17-4
Rangers should be top seed in District 6 Class AAA playoffs.

4. Ligonier Valley 13-4
Surging Rams should be Forest Hills' top competition in D6 bracket.

5. Portage 18-2
Mustangs are one win from spot in WestPAC championship game for first time.

6. Richland 14-5
Rams bounced back from loss to Westmont with key win versus Bishop McCort.

7. Conemaugh Township 15-4
Indians gave No. 1 Berlin tough game on the Mountaineers' home court.

8. Conemaugh Valley 14-5
Blue Jays remain among WestPAC elite.

9. Bishop McCort 11-9
If Crimson Crushers figure out how to beat one of the area's elite teams, could spell postseason success.

10. Windber 12-10
Ramblers ended regular season on three-game win streak.

T-D boys' basketball rankings

1. Bishop Carroll 16-3
Despite home loss to Bishop Guilfoyle, Huskies still worthy of top spot for now.

2. Penn Cambria 16-3
Panthers peaking at right time, especially with road game at Bishop Carroll on Wednesday.

3. Conemaugh Township 17-2
Indians face intriguing nonconference game tonight against a Richland team capable of beating anyone.

4. Bishop McCort 13-6
Crushers post impressive back-to-back wins against Somerset and Richland. Tonight's game at Greensburg Central Catholic could show how ready McCort is for postseason.

5. Northern Cambria 15-4
Colts haven't lost a home game in Heritage Conference play. They host Homer-Center in key game Tuesday.

6. Greater Johnstown 14-6
Trojans can play for LHAC championship with win vs. Bishop McCort on Wednesday.

7. Shade 19-1
Panthers can clinch spot in WestPAC title game with win at Shanksville Stonycreek. Could Ryan Fyock play in key game?

8. Shanksville Stonycreek 18-2
Vikings just keep winning and they host Shade on Tuesday. Their the only team to beat the Panthers.

9. Somerset 12-7
Up-and-down Golden Eagles have lost two of three. Of course, those losses are against Greater Johnstown and Bishop McCort.

10. Ligonier Valley 11-7
New to rankings, Rams probably need to win tonight at homes against Penn Cambria to stay.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another look: Gary Hrivnak

Gary Hrivnak
Gary Hrivnak played at Greater Johnstown High School in the late 1960s under the direction of coach Francis "Blackie" Mihalic, who became the program's 19th head coach in 1962.

Known for his toughness, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hrivnak left Johnstown to play football at Purdue, where he was a defensive end from 1970-72 and Big Ten All-Conference selection for Bob DeMoss' Boilermakers in 1971. Hrivnak also played tight end while at Purdue.

Hrivnak certainly caught the eye of NFL franchises and was drafted the the second round of the 1973 draft with the 48th overall selection by the Chicago Bears. Hrivnak was drafted before Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts and Dallas Cowboys standout defensive end Harvey Martin.

He played four seasons with the Bears (1973-76) and started 11 games during his career. He was released by the Bears in 1977 after spending the 1976 season on injured reserve because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Three up, one down


1. Kayla Stockenus. The senior from Shanksville-Stonycreek became just the third girls basketball player from the area to score 2,000 career points. She accomplished the feat Tuesday in a home loss to Windber.

Stockenus reached the milestone after grabbing a defensive rebound and driving the length of the court for a layup. 
Shanksville Stonycreek's Kayla Stockenus

“When I got that rebound and saw the open court I thought, ‘This is my chance. I don’t want to screw this up,’ ” an excited Stockenus said while addressing a small group of newspaper and TV reporters after the game. “Then everyone started cheering and I was like, ‘All right, now I really have to do it.’ Then I was lucky enough and got the and-one (free throw).”

2. Westmont Hilltop girls basketball. The Hilltoppers are one of two area girls teams unbeaten in section play - Berlin-Brothersvalley is the other. They also appear to be peaking at the appropriate time as Westmont prepares for Saturday's LHAC championship game against Bishop Guilfoyle.

3. Juniors topping 1,000 points. Two players – Ferndale's Elizabeth Chobany and Richland's Kyle Flick – could reach the 1,000-point mark on Monday. Chobany needs six points as the Yellow Jackets host Conemaugh Valley. Flick needs 16 as the Rams play a tough nonconference game at Conemaugh Township.

When Flick hits the mark, he'll be the fourth junior this season to do so. Bishop McCort's Nemo Trexler got there during Friday's win against Richland. Olivia McCabe and Emily Chobany, both of Portage, also hit the milestone earlier this season.

And, yes, Portage's Chobany and Ferndale's Chobany are cousins.


1. The Varsity Club. This blog dedicated to high school sports in The Tribune-Democrat coverage area has been subject to sporadic updates lately. The main culprit? The blog author is working on a move inside the borders of Flood City and several snags have hindered the progress not only of the move, but the blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pitt, Penn State recruiting classes

2013 University of Pittsburgh Football Recruiting Class
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Prep School
Carson Baker OL 6-5 280 Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn
Chris Blewitt PK 5-9 165 Alexandria, Va./West Potomac
Tyler Boyd WR 6-2 185 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Zach Challingsworth WR 6-2 185 McDonald, Pa./South Fayette
Tra’Von Chapman* QB 6-2 200 Kent, Ohio/Theodore Roosevelt
James Conner RB 6-2 230 Erie, Pa./McDowell
Devon Edwards TE 6-4 255 Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy
Matt Galambos LB 6-2 215 Collingdale, Pa./The Haverford School
Reggie Green ATH 6-2 200 Cranford, N.J./Cranford
Tony Harper TE 6-4 200 Toledo, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit
Titus Howard DB 6-1 180 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Rachid Ibrahim DB 6-1 185 Rockville, Md./Avalon
Tyrique Jarrett* DL 6-3 320 Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderdice/
Milford Academy (N.Y.)
Dorian Johnson OL 6-5 290 Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon Area
Jaryd Jones-Smith OL 6-7 295 Voorhees, N.J./West Catholic (Pa.)
Luke Maclean DL 6-3 235 Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc
Justin Moody DL 6-3 265 Philadelphia, Pa./George Washington
Alex Officer OL 6-4 290 Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge
Scott Orndoff* TE 6-5 245 Waynesburg, Pa./Seton-LaSalle
Jaymar Parrish FB 6-2 230 Monroeville, Pa./Gateway
Zach Poker LB 6-4 220 Oconomowoc, Wis./Oconomowoc
Aaron Reese OL 6-5 300 Fayetteville, Pa./Chambersburg Area
Shakir Soto* DL 6-3 230 Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial
Jeremiah Taleni DL 6-2 300 Kaneohe, Hawaii/Kailua
Jester Weah WR 6-3 190 Madison, Wis./Madison Memorial
Terrish Webb DB 5-11 170 Clairton, Pa./Clairton
Ryan Winslow P 6-5 205 Ambler, Pa./La Salle College H.S.
2013 Penn State Football Signees
Name                                     Pos.    Ht.       Wt.      Cl./El.             High School/Hometown
Richy Anderson*                 RB      5-11    171     Fr./Fr.              Governor Thomas Johnson/
Frederick, Md.
Brandon Bell                        LB       6-1      222     Fr./Fr.              Oakcrest/Mays Landing, N.J.
Adam Breneman*                TE       6-4      230     Fr./Fr.              Cedar Cliff/Camp Hill, Pa.
Curtis Cothran                      DE      6-5      235     Fr./Fr.              Council Rock North/ Newtown, Pa.
Parker Cothren                     DT       6-5      265     Fr./Fr.              Hazel Green/Hazel Green. Ala.
Tyler Ferguson*                   QB      6-3      199     So./So.           College of the Sequoias (Calif.)/Bakersfield, Calif.
Kasey Gaines                       DB      5-10    160     Fr./Fr.              Grayson/Loganville, Ga.
Christian Hackenberg         QB      6-3      215     Fr./Fr.              Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)/Palmyra, Va.
DaeSean Hamilton WR     6-1      182     Fr./Fr.              Mountain View/Fredericksburg, Va.
Tanner Hartman                   G         6-5      255     Fr./Fr.              Lynchburg Christian Academy/Lynchburg, Va.
Zayd Issah                            LB       6-3      215     Fr./Fr.              Central Dauphin/Harrisburg, Pa.
Brendan Mahon                   G         6-4      315     Fr./Fr.              Randolph/Randolph, N.J.
Andrew Nelson                    T          6-5      295     Fr./Fr.              Hershey/Hershey, Pa.
Neiko Robinson                   DB      5-11    170     Fr./Fr.              Northview (Fla.)/Flomaton, Ala.
Garrett Sickels                      DE      6-4      238     Fr./Fr.              Red Bank Regional/Little Silver, N.J.
Anthony Smith*                    DB      6-0      184     Fr./Fr.              Valley Forge Military Academy (Pa.)/Randolph, N.J.
Jordan Smith*                       DB      5-11    178     Fr./Fr.              H.D. Woodson/Washington, D.C.

Monday, February 4, 2013

T-D girls' basketball rankings

When a program has enjoyed as much success as Westmont Hilltop girls basketball, there are considerable expectations that come with wearing the Hilltoppers' red and white.

Consider Westmont Hilltop played for PIAA Class AA championships in 2005 and 2006, In 2005, the Hilltoppers lost a tough four-point game to Delone Catholic. A year later, the Hilltoppers suffered a five-point loss to another perennial power in York Catholic.

In the world of PIAA small-school girls basketball, private school tend to dominate in the state playoffs, which makes Westmont Hilltop's success all the more impressive.

"You don't play to lose and you don't play to go .500, you play to win," said Hilltoppers coach Jodi Hillegass, who is in her 10th season.

In order to live up to the yearly expectations at Westmont, players often go above and beyond what is expected from them.

"If you want to win championships and go to states, you can't be off weekends, you can't take the summer off," Hillegass said.

Westmont's current group has bought into the hard-working system, and it's resulted in a mid-to-late season surge. The Hilltoppers have climbed to No. 3 in the latest edition of The T-D girls' basketball rankings.

1. Berlin 15-2
Mountaineers bring a 14-game win streak into Tuesday's home game against Conemaugh Township.

2. Forest Hills 16-3
Rangers face tough task tonight as Bishop Guilfoyle comes to Sidman.

3. Westmont Hilltop 15-3
With Rachel Roper healthy, Hilltoppers may be peaking at right time.

4. Ligonier Valley 11-4
Healthy Rams secured two big road wins at Marion Center and Penns manor.

5. Conemaugh Township 13-3
Impressive double-digit home win vs. Portage makes Indians biggest upward movers.

6. Portage 17-2
Juniors Olivia McCabe and Emily Chobany both topped 1,000-point mark last week.

7. Richland 13-4
Rams can earn signature win tonight vs. Westmont Hilltop.

8. Conemaugh Valley 12-4
Blue Jays face Conemaugh Township and Meyersdale this week as part of tough five-game stretch.

9. Bishop McCort 10-8
Crimson Crushers have lost three of four. Those losses are against Forest Hills, Westmont Hilltop and Altoona.

10. Meyersdale 14-4
Eric McCool's Red Raiders haven't allowed more than 34 points since a three-point loss at Shade.

T-D boys' basketball rankings

It's one of those games Bishop Carroll has circled on its calendar.

Leaders of Section 1 in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, Bishop Carroll had a key home game scheduled against contender and fellow Class A power Bishop Guilfoyle on Friday night. It was more than a big LHAC contest as the Huskies were ranked No. 6 in the Patriot-News Class A rankings and the Marauders were ranked 10th.

Bishop Carroll didn't have school on last Friday. Thus, the game was moved to Saturday.

"It was definitely a long-awaited game, to have it postponed bummed us out," said senior Scott Ranck, who averages 13.0 points and 5.8 rebounds. "We were looking forward to that game."

The Huskies had to put those feelings aside quickly with a game scheduled at Richland on Saturday afternoon.

"That's a game that made me extremely nervous," said Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo. "Richland is loaded with talent everywhere you look."

Behind 23 points from Ranck, Bishop Carroll gutted out a 58-55 victory to move its win streak to 12 games.

1. Bishop Carroll 15-2
Big game vs. Bishop Guilfoyle postponed, but Huskies bounce right back with tough win at Richland.

2. Penn Cambria 13-3
Panthers posted impressive win at Bishop Guilfoyle.

3. Greater Johnstown 12-5
Pair of impressive road wins (Somerset, Richland) for Trojans.

4. Conemaugh Township 13-2
Indians on an 11-game win streak, and only one of those games (at Shanksville) was close.

5. Northern Cambria 13-4
Loss at Blairsville clogged top of Heritage Conference standings.

6. Shade 18-1
Panthers back on track after lone loss to Shanksville-Stonycreek.

7. Bishop McCort 10-6
Nemo Trexler is back for the Crimson Crushers.

8. Shanksville-Stonycreek 16-2
Vikings have pieced together four consecutive road wins.

9. Chestnut Ridge 13-2
Beau Bosch and Ben Pick close to averaging double-doubles for Lions.

10. Somerset 12-6
Golden Eagles have scored nearly 300 points more than any team in the LHAC.

Friday, February 1, 2013

APB, Where are they now? Bill Benbow

Well, thanks to some tips from readers The Varsity Club discovered that the subject of its most recent All Points Bulletin – former Greater Johnstown quarterback Brian Mangiafico – is living in the Baltimore area where he is a teacher.

As always, thanks for the heads up.

As The Varsity Club continues its quest to track down former area standouts, we shift our focus to Bedford County, where we're looking for former Bedford High standout Bill Benbow.

A 1994 PIAA champion in the 100-meter dash for the Bisons, Benbow racked up some eye-popping numbers as a multi-purpose running back in the early 1990s. In three years of varsity basketball, Benbow scored 712 points.

His biggest impact came in football, where Benbow shared 1993 Tribune-Democrat Offensive Player of the Year honors with Bishop McCort's Artrell Hawkins. Benbow's performance at Westmont Hilltop during his senior year still echoes through the Bedford Valley.

Benbow played briefly at Edinboro University but reportedly had offers from several Division I programs.

Anyone knowing of Benbow's whereabouts is urged to contact The Varsity Club,

2,000-point club

The Shanksville Stonycreek girls basketball team isn't having a strong season. The Vikings are 4-15 overall with four games remaining on the schedule.

Yet, Shanksville will be making some major news possibly as soon as Tuesday when the Vikings host Windber in a WestPAC game.

Senior Kayla Stockenus can become only the third girls player in The Tribune-Democrat coverage area to score 2,000 career points.

Stockenus, a senior guard, is averaging 30.2 points per game and needs 20 to reach 2,000.

Here's a list of girls and boys scorers from the area who are members of the 2,000-point club:

Samantha Pollino, Conemaugh Valley (2006) - 2,316
Jen Tuscano Meyersdale (1995) - 2,236

Travis Eisentrout, Berlin Brothersvalley (2001) - 2,824
Matt Lushko, Ferndale (1992) - 2,541
Brandon Studer, Conemaugh Valley (2003) - 2,540
Paul Byer, Conemaugh Township (2000) - 2,505
Andy Byer, Conemaugh Township (2005) - 2,360
Owen Long, Shanksville Stonycreek (1971) - 2,357
Len Chappell, Portage (1958) - 2,240
Jeff Berkey, Shanksville Stonycreek (2006) - 2,118
Jordan Miller, Central Cambria (2009) - 2,105
Bill Golis, Laurel Valley (1956) - 2,099
Ryan Galiczynski, Northern Cambria (2002) - 2,004