Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

Kilkeary, Hornack win PIAA wrestling titles; State basketball tournament begins; Latrobe hockey still alive

Mon Mar 13, 2023 - 7:02PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Wed Mar 15, 2023 - 1:23AM

Kilkeary, Hornack captured PIAA wrestling gold

Two Westmoreland County wrestlers proved to be the best in the entire state, as Greater Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary and Cooper Hornack of Burrell secured PIAA wrestling individual championships over the weekend. Competing at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Kilkeary won the Class 3A 127-pound bracket, while Hornack took gold at the same weight in Class 2A. Kilkeary, a senior, claimed his third state title courtesy of an 8-5 decision against Andrew Binni of Canon-McMillan. Earlier in the tournament, Kilkeary prevailed via fall, major decision, and decision in the semifinals. Hornack, a junior, notched his first PIAA title, as he edged Bentworth’s Chris Vargo via a 2-1 decision in the championship bout. Hornack won his three previous matches in the tournament via decision, as well. Other Westmoreland County grapplers who placed in Class 3A included Greater Latrobe’s Luke Willochell (fifth - 114) and Nate Roth (seventh – 139), Hempfield Area’s Ethan Lebin (fourth - 133), Eli Carr (fourth – 139), and Lucas Kapusta (fifth – 152), Gavyn Beck (sixth – 160) and Tyler Kapusta (seventh - 114) of Franklin Regional, Kiski Area’s Ryan Klingensmith (seventh - 121) and Mark Gray (seventh – 172), and Penn-Trafford’s Joe Enick (fourth – 285) and Owen Ott (eighth – 215). Meanwhile, Burrell’s Cam Baker took fourth in the Class 2A 107 bracket.

Norwin, PT, GCC girls advance in state tourney

A trio of Westmoreland County girls basketball teams advanced in the PIAA postseason over the weekend, as Norwin, Penn-Trafford, and Greensburg Central Catholic all punched their tickets to the second round. In 6A, the Knights stifled host Central Dauphin 34-19 on Friday, as Norwin did not allow a field goal in the final 11 minutes of the contest. Ava Christopher paced the Knights with 10 points, while Lauren Palangio posted eight points. Norwin will play Lebanon tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Bald Eagle Area High School in Bellefonte. In the 5A field, Penn-Trafford edged homestanding Greencastle-Antrim 40-39 on Saturday, as Torrie DeStefano hit the deciding foul shot with eight seconds left. Lillian Paladino paced the Warriors with a dozen points, while Lauren Marton added 11 points. PT will face section foe McKeesport Area on Wednesday at 7:30 at Norwin High School. Lastly, Greensburg Central Catholic cruised to a 55-33 victory on the road at Windber on Friday. GCC posted runs of 10-0 and 12-0 in the first half to create separation. Erica Gribble netted a game-high 25 points for the Centurions, while Mya Morgan contributed 12 points and Avery Davis added 10 points. Greensburg Central Catholic will face Maplewood tonight at 7:30 at Slippery Rock University.

Greater Latrobe hockey advances via forfeit

Last week, Greater Latrobe hockey seemingly lost 2-1 in overtime on the road against third-seeded Bishop McCort in the quarterfinals of the PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup playoffs. A couple of days later, though, the PIHL ruled that Greater Latrobe retroactively won the game via forfeit, as Bishop McCort used an eligible player. As a result, the Wildcats advance to the semifinals and will play No. 2 seed South Fayette tonight at 9 p.m. at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center on Neville Island. PIHL rules require that players compete in at least 10 games during the regular season to be eligible for postseason play, with exceptions granted for games missed due to injury or illness. One of Bishop McCort’s players was not scratched for multiple contests in which he missed, which dropped his total to nine games played. In that contest against Bishop McCort, Greater Latrobe captain Peyton Myers opened the scoring with a goal near the midway point of the opening period. That advantage stood until the third period, when Brennan Karalfa notched the equalizer on the power play. In the extra frame, Ivan Safronov netted the apparent winner for the Crimson Crushers.

Ligonier Valley announces inaugural Athletics HOF class

The first class in the Ligonier Valley Athletics Hall of Fame was unveiled last week, and the collection included 10 individual athletes, two coaches, and two teams. The Class of 2023 features standouts from both Ligonier Valley and Laurel Valley, including: Bill Golis (Laurel Valley 1956), Woody Burkett (Laurel Valley 1958), Bob Giesey (Ligonier Valley 1964), John Buzzy Maier (Laurel Valley 1970), John Chendy (Ligonier Valley 1978), Christopher Gessner (Ligonier Valley 1985), Christy (Clark) Hajjar (Laurel Valley 1991), Ryan Thiel (Ligonier Valley 2006), Christine (Henderson) Deneen (Ligonier Valley 2011), and Maddy Grimm (Ligonier Valley 2013). The coaches consist of Gerald Page (Laurel Valley football and baseball) and Andrew Pahach (Laurel Valley basketball), while the teams are 1968-69 Laurel Valley boys basketball and 1976 Ligonier Valley girls volleyball. The honorees will be inducted on April 15 at The Barn in Ligonier.

UPG’s McCully earns All-Region accolades

Sidney McCulley enjoyed a special season for the University of Pitt-Greensburg women’s basketball, and her honors continued last week. McCulley, a senior guard, was named to the D3 Hoops All-Regional Team. She was previously recognized as the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Co-Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. In 23 games this past campaign, McCully averaged 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while adding 107 assists, 72 steals, and 21 blocks. She helped guide the Bobcats to a record of 14-13 overall, including 9-5 in the AMCC ledger.