- High Schools - Colleges
It was considered quite an accomplishment when Seneca Valley teams made it to the WPIAL semifinals in five different sports this week. But four of those teams have taken the one-of-a-kind spring even further.
On Thursday night, the Seneca Valley girls lacrosse team won the WPIAL Division I championship with a 12-11 victory against Sewickley Academy. Over the next few days, three other Seneca Valley teams will try to win championships.
Friday night, the Seneca Valley boys volleyball team plays for the WPIAL Class AAA championship against North Allegheny.
The Seneca Valley baseball team plays Peters Township in the Class AAAA championship Tuesday night.
The Seneca Valley softball team plays Latrobe for the WPIAL Class AAAA title Thursday night at California University.
The only Seneca Valley team in the semifinals that didnt make it to the championship was the boys lacrosse team, which lost to Mount Lebanon, 9-7, in Wednesday nights semifinals.
For four teams from one school to make it to championship games or matches in the spring seems to be unheard of.
"Were excited beyond belief," said Seneca Valley athletic director Greg Caprara. "Usually, well have our baseball team go far, or maybe softball, or maybe just one of the lacrosse teams. But it seems like we have everyone this year."
Tom Traynor Dies
WPIAL basketball lost one of its all-time great coaches when Tom Traynor died Thursday night of pancreatic cancer.
Traynor coached high school basketball at Hempfield and then Mount Pleasant since 1971. Throw in nine seasons as Pitt-Johnstowns coach (1962-71), and he coached 49 seasons of basketball overall. Pitt-Johnstown was a junior college when he coached there.
Traynor had his most successful years at Hempfield. He won 393 games and eight section titles from 1971 to 2001. The Hempfield school board opened his position, though, and he became Mount Pleasants coach in 2001.
Traynor coached Mount Pleasant from 2001 through this past season. He found out about his cancer in November, but insisted on finishing the season out before retiring.
Traynor had 612 career victories. He won 116 games at Pitt-Johnstown, 393 at Hempfield and 103 at Mount Pleasant. This past season, he was one of only four active coaches in the WPIAL with more than 500 wins in his career. The others were Pittsburgh Central Catholics Chuck Crummie, Californias Phil Pergola and Sewickley Academys Win Palmer.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
Its hard to remember a team in a large-class baseball championship game that has been as impressive offensively as Elizabeth Forward.
The Warriors will play Hampton in the title game next week, and Elizabeth Forward heads into the game scoring 26 runs in two postseason games. For the season, Elizabeth Forward has scored 10 runs or more in 14 games.
Two teams in the WPIAL baseball championships have never won a title Chartiers-Houston and Hampton.
On the girls softball side, three teams have never won a championship Yough, Greensburg Central Catholic and Fort Cherry.
On the other hand, the Chartiers-Houston softball team is going for its eighth title since 1995.
The PIAA Board of Control held meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Chambersburg and a few significant items came out of the meetings.
* The Board voted to consider a proposal that would shorten football season from 16 to 15 weeks. The Board will vote on the proposal in July and it has a good chance to pass. The season has ended a week before Christmas the past few seasons. Under the new proposal, it will end earlier in December. The WPIAL is backing the proposal, which is a change from previous years. The WPIAL had been against shortening the season, from the simple fact that the proposed PIAA brackets would cut a week out of the WPIAL playoffs. Under the new proposal, some districts around the state will lose a week of playoffs, but the WPIAL can still keep four weeks of playoffs. Also under the new proposal, the WPIAL champs will automatically go to the PIAA semifinals. In recent years, the WPIAL champ has gone only to the PIAA quarterfinals.
* The PIAA also decided to consider a proposal that would change how private, parochial and charter schools are classified. This proposal must pass three readings.
* The PIAA turned down a request by the WPIAL to host the Class AA Southwest Regional wrestling tournament every other year. The tournament will stay in Johnstown.
* The PIAA voted to establish two classifications for golf. At the PIAA level currently, there is only one class.
* The PIAA voted down a proposal by PIAA Executive Director Brad Cashman to cut two games or contests in all sports but football. The PIAA already cut two games or contests from all sports a few years ago. Cashman said he came up with the idea in hopes of trying to cut some costs for school districts that are struggling financially. But many athletic directors around the state argued that it should be up to the individual schools to cut games or matches, and not the PIAA.
Aaron Epps, a former standout basketball player at Butler, is the new girls basketball coach at Kiski Area. Epps has been a girls assistant coach at Butler under his mother, Dorothea.
Where Are They Now?
The Kent State baseball team has moved into the No. 25 spot in the national rankings, and one of their top players is from the WPIAL. Peters Township graduate Jim Rider had started all 5 games for Kent State, which has a 41-14 record. He has 16 doubles and 45 RBIs heading into the Mid-American Conference tournament. Kent State won the MAC regular-season title.