Chris Minerd has spent the past seven winters resurrecting California High School’s girls basketball program.
Minerd led the Trojans to a 10-0 record and the Section 3-A title last season. It was the first section championship for California since 1982. The Trojans defeated Cornell in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs, which was the program’s first postseason win since 1993, and followed it with a victory over perennial power North Catholic.
California advanced to the semifinals, where it fell to Serra Catholic.
The Trojans qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history and lost to Kennedy Catholic in the first round. The Trojans finished with a 19-5 record.
With a roster filled with young, promising talent, there is no end in sight for California’s rise up the Class A ranks.
Now, Minerd has another challenge on his hands. Last week, he was hired as athletic director and facilities manager at California.
“I always hoped I could be an athletic director and coach,” Minerd said. “It’s a dream come true and I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
The journey has not always been a smooth one. In 2012, Minerd lost his job at U.S. Maintenance. The discouraging blow led him to pursuing his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration at California University.
For two years, Minerd spilt his time at Cal with working in operations at Dick’s Sporting Goods. After earning his degree and the new full-time position opening as the head of Cal’s athletic programs, he jumped at the opportunity.
Organizing Christmas tournaments and several other athletic functions during his years at Cal has prepared him for the next step.
“It’s great being able to put that degree to use and do something I love,” Minerd said. “I’ve been doing it for 20 years, but on a smaller scale. I’m certainly up for the challenge.”
A Beth-Center graduate, Minerd help build his former district’s youth basketball programs for years before landing an assistant coaching job at California. Minerd has been the head coach for seven years and believes he is ready to take over for Phil Pergola.
“I’ve always worn several different hats in coaching,” Minerd said. “I think my experience in developing a successful program will help the other sports with my organizational skills. This job cannot be successful without communication and we have the coaches to get it done.”
Tri-County golf championship
The Tri-County Athletic Dirctors Association held its annual golf championship Friday at Village Green Golf Course in Hickory.
The field included 14 teams and 88 individuals on the par-71 course. Peters Township won the Class AAA team title with a score of 381 and Burgettstown won the Class AA title with 438.
Hunter Lecker of Burgettstown was the medalist with a 73 and was followed by Peters Township’s Ben Morgret (74) and Connor Schmidt (75).
Canon-McMillan and Trinity rounded out the top-three in Class AAA and Burgettstown was followed by South Fayette and Bentworth.
Law picks up first offer
Ringgold senior quarterback Nico Law had a historic junior season by amassing 1,00 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.
His play on the field has finally earned him a Division I scholarship offer from Ohio University. The 6-1 Law is being recruited as an athlete with the potential to play either quarterback or defensive back.
He is also receiving interest from James Madison and Pitt.
Wise to Heidelberg
Washington High School graduate Josh Wise, who was the 2012-13 Observer-Reporter Boys Basketball Player of the Year, will play basketball this season at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.
Wise averaged 21.9 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field as a senior in 2012-13. He finished with 1,300 career points, third-most in school history.
Heidelberg, which competes in Division III, went 7-18 last season and finished eighth in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Blue Devils excel
Burgettstown boys basketball players Jarred and Jeremy John received honors at the Keystone State Invitational Basketball Camp early this month.
They attended the regional camp at Slippery Rock University and Jeremy, a senior center, was named to the camp all-star team and earned Best Inside Player honors.
Jarred, a freshman forward, was named Outstanding Camper.
Washington graduate Shai McKenzie’s return from a knee injury is ahead of schedule. The Prexies’ all-time leading rusher returned to the football field two weeks ago and gained attention Saturday with his performance in Virginia Tech’s scrimmage.
McKenzie rushed seven times for 66 yards and a touchdown. He scored on a three-yard run. Once thought to be a candidate for a redshirt, McKenzie has inserted himself as a potential option in the Hokies’ backfield this season.
Virginia Tech opens the season Aug. 30 against William & Mary.