College noteboook: Merckle off to flying start

April 11, 2014
Fort Cherry graduate Jessie Merckle is the reigning ACC champion in the javelin. At left is Wake Forest throwing Zeb Sion. - Courtesy of Wake Forest University

Jessie Merckle had a fantastic start to her sophomore season of outdoor track at Wake Forest.

A former WPIAL and PIAA champion at Fort Cherry, Merckle broke her own school record in the javelin with a throw of 170-2 at the Wake Forest Open. She also broke the Kentner Stadium record, which was 168-11 1/2, set by Duke’s Daina Pucurs in 2007.

The throw had Merckle ranked No. 1 in the East Region and No. 3 in the NCAA.

Last weekend, Merckle placed sixth at the Florida Relays with a throw of 164-4. The Deamon Deacons will compete at North Carolina this weekend.

A Hickory native, Merckle was the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the javelin.

In softball

Point Park University senior shortstop Ashley Morran was named the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Player of the Week two weeks in a row (March 23-29 and March 30-April 5).

A native of Washington and a graduate of Trinity, Morran continued her hot streak by hitting .590 (13-for-22) with four doubles, six RBI and seven runs in six games last week. She had five multi-hit games.

A week earlier, Morran batted .455 with two home runs, a double, four RBI and five runs in a 4-0 week for Point Park.

Last year’s KIAC Player of the Year is again proving to be a top player in the conference with a season batting average of .382 with six home runs, nine doubles and 27 RBI in 26 games. She is second in the KIAC in RBI and third in home runs.

Sophomore second baseman Morgan Matetic, a sophomore from McMurray, has been an impact hitter in the middle of George Washington’s lineup. The Peters Township graduate is tied for second on the team with a .333 batting average and leads the Colonials with four home runs and a .708 slugging percentage.

George Washington completed a 21-game homsetand (13-7-1) last weekend when it split a doubleheader against La Salle. Matetic was 4-for-6 with three runs in the two games.

In tennis

Indiana’s Tanya Timko, a junior from Houston and a Chartiers-Houston graduate, was named the PSAC West Division Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for March 30-April 5.

Timko had an 8-0 record during the week, helping IUP to a 4-0 record. At No. 1 singles, Timko defeated three regionally ranked opponents in Mercyhurst’s Caroline Bristol (6th), West Virginia State’s Brittany Franco (11th) and Charleston’s Ana Maria Pena (12th). She also was a part of three doubles wins over regionally ranked pairings, including West Virginia State (4th), Mercyhurst (6th) and Charleston (8th).

In PSAC action, Timko handed Bristol a 6-2, 6-2 loss as part of a 7-2 IUP victory. Timko, the No. 8-ranked player in the region, also defeated Clarion’s Lauren Zezenski 6-0, 6-0 to lead the Crimson Hawks to a 9-0 sweep.

In baseball

Brady Sheetz is one reason Hartford’s baseball team is in first place in the America East Conference.

The Eighty Four native and Peters Township graduate is a junior first baseman for the Hawks, who are 6-2 in the conference and 17-11 overall. Sheetz has team highs of six doubles and two triples, and is second on the squad with 28 hits.

Lefty Alex Frey has been the workhorse of the Youngstown State pitching staff.

A Washington native and Trinity graduate, Frey has a team-leading 13 appearances for the Penguins and has thrown 18 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. The senior has struck out 17 batters and issued seven walks. Opponents are batting only .265 against Frey, who has pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings over two outings against Pitt.

Sean Lubin, a senior shortstop from Bridgeville and a South Fayette graduate, has started all 27 games for La Roche. Lubin is one of nine players in the Red Hawks’ potent lineup who have a batting average of at least .300. He is hitting .333 with 17 RBI and is 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts.

Dillon Haviland, a redshirt junior left-hander, has been a key pitcher out of the bullpen for Duke. Haviland, who is from McDonald and a South Fayette graduate, has pitched in 12 games and has a 1-0 record and 4.20 ERA. He has struck out 19 batters in only 15 innings.

A four-year letterwinner at South Fayette, Haviland was drafted in the 48th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 but did not sign. He did not play for Duke last season, taking a redshirt season after suffering an injury.

In football

Former Fort Cherry standout Tanner Garry is among the candidates for Youngstown State’s starting quarterback job.

Garry recently threw a touchdown pass during the Penguins’ first major scrimmage of spring practice. While practicing red zone situations, Garry threw a two-yard fade pass to Andrew Williams for the first score of the scrimmage. For the day, Garry was 4-for-8 for 22 yards, which included a 16-yard completion.

Garry played in three games last fall as a redshirt freshman after transferring from Bowling Green. He completed three of 10 passes for 48 yards and had three rushing attempts for 13 yards. He was called upon in the second half against eventual Football Championship Series national champion North Dakota State when two of the Penguins’ quarterbacks were knocked out of the game with injuries. Garry directed one scoring drive and moved the Penguins into scoring position on two other possessions.

In track & field

Westminster sophomore pole vaulter Marissa Kalsey earned All-American honors at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships last month in Lincoln, Neb.

A Waynesburg native, Kalsey finished second in the nation by clearing 12-11½. Kalsey was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Mideast Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. She ranked first among all Division III pole vaulters for much of the season with a season-best vault of 13-1½. Her runner-up finish at the national meet was the best performance in Titans women’s track and field history and is the best finish ever by an athlete from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Washington graduate Dustin Fuller has the fastest time this season in both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles for Pitt’s track’s team. In the 110, Fuller ran 15.16 at the Raleigh Relays to place 28th in a field of 80 runners. Also at the Raleigh Relays, Fuller ran 53.44 in the 400 hurdles, finishing 16th in a strong field of 84 competitors. Each time was a personal best for Fuller, a sophomore, who was the Observer-Reporter’s 2012 Boys Athlete of the Year.

Kaitlyn Brace, a Peters Township graduate, is in her first season at Arizona State after transferring from Purdue. Brace is one of the Sun Devils’ top javelin throwers and finished fourth in the event at the ASU Invite last month with a season-best throw of 135-11.

A junior, Brace finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships as a freshman.



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