A Avella football … now relevant. Eagles started 5-0, reappeared in The New York Times and nearly put an end to their postseason drought, which dates back to 1976. Three-game losing streak late was a downer, but the excitement is definitely back.
B Brett Brumbaugh. South Fayette’s quarterback. Luke and Christian’s younger brother, the next in a long line of talented gunslingers. Threw for 2,823 yards and 37 touchdowns. Still has two more years in Lions’ pass-happy offense.
C Central Dauphin. The Canon-McMillan wrestling team beat Central Dauphin, 34-31, in a classic that wasn’t over until Brendon Price’s 4-3 decision at 103 pounds gave the Big Macs a fifth out of a possible six PIAA Team Titles over the past three years.
D Dominance. Something the Canon-McMillan wrestling and softball teams know plenty about. Same with the Peters Township girls soccer and girls tennis teams. Ditto for Shai McKenzie on the football field. Also Washington’s Alyssa Wise and Fort Cherry’s Jenna Lucas in track and field. Wash High’s boys track and field team at WPIALs. Tough to compete with those in this group.
E EQT Energy Classic. Plenty of great basketball, but it’s tough to think of anything other than Washington’s Josh Wise draining a three-pointer with eight-tenths of a second left to upset host Canon-McMillan in the championship game.
F Fast. Or when it comes to Washington junior Alyssa Wise, really fast. Wise won the 100- and 200-meters dashes at the PIAA Track and Field Championships. She, like McKenzie, will be a senior this fall. Look out.
G Garrett Vulcano. Chartiers-Houston’s get-after-it linebacker put the finishing touches on an impressive career: 444 tackles, three-time All-Conference pick and the Defensive MVP of the Black Hills, arguably the WPIAL’s toughest. School’s all-time wins leader in wrestling with 154, state runner-up.
H House of horrors. That would be Consol Energy Center for the Peters Township hockey team, which lost in the Penguins’ barn for a third consecutive year. Gotta think Indians will petition to have this played somewhere else next season, no?
I Instant Classic. Wiercioch and Marsteller. Powerade 2012. Wow. The much-anticipated match between the top-ranked wrestlers in the country, which Kennard-Dale’s Chance Marsteller wins, 3-2, on an escape in the fourth overtime. The 3,000 fans in attendance at Canon-McMillan get their money’s worth.
J Jon Vallina. Burgettstown icon calls it a career after 39 years as a teacher, 28 as athletic director, 16 as an assistant wrestling coach, eight as an assistant football coach and 28 as varsity golf coach. No doubt Vallina’s presence will be missed.
K Knee injuries. Canon-McMillan’s Veronica Rothka, Carmichaels’ Anna Cree, Peters Township’s Megan Parker, Bentworth’s Erin Ritzer and Peters Township’s Veronica Latsko each fall victim. Knee injuries among high school girls continue to become more and more prevalent – a trend no one wants to see.
L Lacrosse. Peters Township wins its fifth WPIAL Division I girls lacrosse title and second in a row. More impressive: Indians become the first WPIAL team to reach the PIAA semifinals.
M McKenzie. Might’ve heard of him. First name of Shai. Kid’s pretty good, huh? Probably the WPIAL’s best. Thirty NCAA Division I scholarships. Junior runs for 2,689 yards, 41 touchdowns and averages 37.4 yards per touchdown run.
N Nettles. Peters Township golfer Tom Nettles finished second in the state – again. Made up for it, though, with a hole-in-one on the 197-yard 14th at Rolling Hills Country Club, an ace on the Fourth of July. Nettles will play for Division I Campbell University this fall.
O One thousand points. Seven got there this winter: Carmichaels’ Morgan Berardi, California’s Tanner Huffman and Brian Fisher, Washington’s Josh Wise, Peters Township’s Gabe Pritz, California’s Courtnee McMasters and McGuffey Sammie Weiss. Busy year for those keeping track of records.
P Perfect game. Canon-Mac’s Alayna Astuto threw one in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals to down Hempfield. Talk about playoff dominance for Astuto: 7-0, 0.26 ERA, 53 strikeouts, five walks. Not bad for someone who pitched to contact for the better part of the regular season.
Q Quirky California. Remember these guys? The obsession with Hulk Hogan and weird action figures? Hey, it worked. Cal lost in the WPIAL Class A semis, then got hot, real hot, and the Trojans made a run to the state semifinals.
R Rick Chaussard. Five years after the South Fayette wrestling program was brought back, Chaussard led the Lions to their best season ever and a runner-up finish at the WPIAL Class AA Team Tournament. South Fayette’s only fault was losing to Burrell, the seven-time Class AA team champion.
S Seeding. Not that the Canon-McMillan boys soccer team would care about this. Seeded 13th at the start of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, the Big Macs came out of nowhere to win the program’s first WPIAL title. Credit head coach Larry Fingers, goalie James Hathaway and a whole bunch of team chemistry for the improbable run.
T Transfers. Frey, Spossey and Minnie. Patrick Frey from Trinity to McGuffey. Toni Spossey from Trinity to Chartiers-Houston. Elijah Minnie from Monessen to Lincoln Park. Plenty here to keep the WPIAL Board of Control busy.
U Unfair. This could be used to describe the Mapletown vs. Lincoln Park boys basketball playoff game. A charter school loaded with Division I recruits in the same classification as Mapletown? And West Greene is Class AA? Right. Got it.
V Veronica Latsko. A prolific career – 107 goals, two-time Gatorade Player of the Year for girls soccer in Pennsylvania – comes to a close after an offseason knee injury will force her to miss her senior season. Latsko will play for the University of Virginia next season.
W Weightlifting. Specifically offseason programs at Fort Cherry. Which, as we learned, did exist. Remember the secret society? The dungeon? The story that made Jason Mackey’s Not Top 10 for the 2012-13 school year. A mea culpa is issued, lesson learned.
X Extra innings. Canon-Mac softball. In the PIAA Class AAAA final, no less, 14 of ‘em. In the end, the Big Macs got a two-run homer from freshman shortstop Linda Rush that delivered a 4-3 win over Neshaminy.
Y Yaszmin Kotar. Yaz started throwing the jav … and did it well. The Canon-McMillan softball team’s center fielder picked up the javelin on a whim and qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA Track and Field Championships, even earning a scholarship offer to Pitt.
Z Zeremenko. Bum shoulder? No problem. Canon-McMillan catcher Giorgiana Zeremenko still clubbed the decisive home run in the WPIAL Class AAAA final and led the Big Macs in playoff RBI with seven, in batting average at .545 (12-for-22).