High school notebook: Offers keep coming for Wash High’s McKenzie
It may be freezing outside, but scholarship offers keep pouring in for Washington High School running back Shai McKenzie.
The 6-0, 215-pound junior picked up two more Tuesday, bringing his total so far to 13 after Penn State and Wisconsin offered scholarships.
McKenzie, who remains in no hurry to commit, has other offers from Akron, Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee, Toledo, West Virginia and Youngstown State.
McKenzie ran for a WPIAL-best 2,689 yards last season. He had 41 touchdowns that averaged 37.4 yards in length and finished 52 yards shy of Rushel Shell’s all-time mark.
One quirk to all the offers: McKenzie now can play for current Pitt head coach Paul Chryst, Chryst’s former employer (Wisconsin) or where Chryst began his college coaching career (West Virginia). The Mountaineers made their pitch last week.
Charleroi girls basketball coach Joe Grodz has a group of six juniors he’s coached since they were in seventh grade.
The familiarity is probably a good thing, too, because it’s taken about that long to install all the defenses Grodz like to use.
The Cougars are riding a six-game winning streak, and one of the biggest reasons has been the variety of ways Charleroi can defend an opponent.
“We like to throw the kitchen table and the sink at the other team,” Grodz said. “We take a look at some film, see what the other team’s strengths are and devise a game plan based on what’s going to hurt them the most.
“Everything from a 2-3, a 2-3 matchup, a 1-3 trap, 1-3-1 full-court press, full-court man, jumping double, box press, 1-2-1-1 press, a diamond press … we have the kitchen in our back pocket.”
During the past six games – a stretch that includeds two wins over Bentworth and one over Washington – Charleroi has held its opponents to 38 points or fewer every time.
“Our team goal at the beginning of the year was to keep teams under 40 points per game,” Grodz said. “We feel if we do that, it puts us in a situation to win the game.”
Mia Woytovich has led Charleroi (7-1 Section 5-AA, 12-5) with 12.6 points per game over the past six. Anjie Tilghman has contributed 10.6, while Corina Gottheld and Lynsy Wright are averaging 9.2 and 7.2 points, respectively.
All are members of that talented junior class.
“We’ve been shooting the ball well,” Grodz said. “I can’t complain there either.”
The Cougars’ defense will face its toughest test of the season when Charleroi travels to McGuffey (7-0, 14-1) Monday. McGuffey earned a 61-40 win over Charleroi back on Jan. 3. And considering that the Highlanders boast the area’s leading scorer – girls or boys – in Sammie Weiss, Charleroi should have plenty of opportunities to jump back and forth between defenses.
“We come in with a game plan, and the kids have been executing that game plan,” Grodz said. “We feel if you stick to one facet, you’re putting yourself in a situation where you’re not going to be as flexible.”
The Ringgold indoor track and field team had an impressive showing at the first Tri-State Coaches Association meet over the weekend at Edinboro University.
Senior Joey Wall won the 60-meter dash with a state-qualifying time of 7.05 seconds. Wall also hit the state-qualifying mark in the 200 dash with a time of 22.92 seconds, finishing second behind West Mifflin’s Jimmy Wheeler.
The Ringgold boys distance medley relay team of Chris Spahr, Tyler Bevan, Skyler Scholl and Noah Smith placed third overall in 11:46. Spahr (10th in the 800), Wall, Skyler Scholl and Bevan finished seventh in the 4x400 at 3:48, and Billy Balsley set a school record in the pole vault at 11-3, which was good enough for 11th place.
On the girls side, Christina Wills placed fourth in both the 60 and 200 dashes, running an 8:18 in the 60 and a 27:56 in the 200.
One year after he was a finalist for the Trinity football job, Niel Loebig was hired last night by Chartiers Valley to become its football coach.
Loebig is a South Fayette graduate and was recently at Duquesne University as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.