The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News


May 18, 2014

Hickory track teams sweep D-10 titles; Lady Hounds AA champs

- — HARBOR CREEK — They can relocate the annual Class AA track & field championships to Erie County, but District 10 remains the domain of Mercer County’s contingent. On Saturday, the area aggregation made Harbor Creek High’s Paul J. Weitz Stadium its personal playground.

Wilmington High girls and Hickory boys completed a sweep of the AA team titles. Hickory harvested a 65-60 victory over Greenville, while Wilmington was victorious over Villa Maria Academy, 102-100.

The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the sport of track & field at Wilmington High, and J.R. McFarland has been a part of the program for 41 years as an athlete and coach, so he lends perspective.

“We knew it would be tough because we knew (the Victors) had a heckuva track (squad),” McFarland said. “We moved a couple people around, told the kids where they had to score … maybe they’d do a little bit better and maybe Villa not quite as good, and that’s exactly what happened.

“A tremendous win for the girls; they’ve been a great group of girls all year,” McFarland praised. “Talented athletes and kids that just work hard.

“I’m the head coach, but we have tremendous assistants — Mrs. Sarver, Mary Beth Acker, Brandon Phillian, Mrs. Perrine, Jules Guido, Tim Nan … great junior high coaches … These coaches are super, they really are. There’s no way one person pulls this off. I’m basically just a ‘figure-head,’”  McFarland humbly related.

“Everybody who was here really contributed. It wasn’t a huge crew that was here, but the guys that were here did a fantastic job. The kids that came here, came through,,” Hickory co-Head Coach Mark Slezak assessed, later admitting, “This is so much fun because it’s unexpected.”

“This is a fun one. We weren’t nervous ’cause we never thought about it,” echoed co-Head Coach Barb Dzuricsko.

Following a late-morning break, the county crowned a pair of champions almost in the blink of an eye. Mercer’s Jarred Davis 3-peated in the high hurdles, then moments later Sharon’s Carnell Hawkins flew to the title in the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.17.

“I just came back off a hamstring injury, so I’m kind’ve happy with my performance,” Davis related. “Obviously, it’s not where I want it to be (he ran 15.11; his PR is 14.84), but it’s up there. It actually feels amazing!” Davis admitted after clinching 3rd consecutive crown. “I actually never thought that I’d be out here three years in a row, with me being the champ.

When it was suggested to him following the morning heat that Hawkins was headed toward a gold medal, he replied, “God willing.” Following the finals, he related, “I’ve been prayin’, practiced hard, and my teammates have been pushin’ me, too.

“It’s really competitive, but you’re doing it by yourself. So to make it by myself, I thank God,” Hawkins continued. “But they’re all fast runners, like (Hickory’s) Matt Voytik, Luke (Houpt) from Greenville, (Hickory’s) DeQuan Lewis, Brandon Gavins (Farrell). … I had to work hard.”

Slippery Rock’s Emily Campbell copped a double-double, sweeping the the shot put (39-2 1⁄2) and discus (143-2) to secure a 3rd consecutive berth on the statewide stage. She finished 5th at state in the shot as a sophomore, but did not place as a junior, so she opted, “… to come back with a vengeance now. First or second (at state) would be amazing!” Campbell confided. “I would love that more than anything. That would be worth everything I’ve sacrificed — late practices, getting in a hundred throws every day ...

“It feels really good, ‘cause this is the first year I’ve qualifed in both,” the Wake Forest University-bound Campbell commented. “It’s really nice to see all my hard work over the summer pay off.”

Campbell had company in collecting a couple gold medals in the throws, as she was joined by Hickory’s Luke Lewis, who also swept the shot (61-5 1⁄2) and disc (159-8). His Hickory throwing mate, Austin Aikins, also made state in the shot (51-1 3⁄4) and disc (153-8).

“It feels great, especially after the disappointment of the last three years. I always under-perform at districts,” the Purdue University-bound Lewis related. “So it’s kind’ve nice comin’ in here and takin’ over.”

While Lewis led the Hornets, he and Aikins will have plenty of company at Shippensburg, including the Hornets’ sprint-relay foursome of DeQuan Lewis, Chase Moretti, Dozie Ezi-Ashi and Voytik). The Hornets edged Greenville, 44.32 to 44.71.

“Just a great group of guys, with a lot of confidence in each other -- and unselfish,” Hickory Assistant Coach Bill Dzuricsko said. “The guys worked hard in practice. We knew (the key to a championship) was handoffs, we knew we really haven’t had good handoffs all the time.

‘You try to make as mathematical as possible, something that’s human,” Bill Dzuriscko continued, explaining, “You try to come in at the same speed all the time in practice, try to take off at the same time. But it’s just the self-discipline that they showed (Saturday), and it worked out great.

“We knew that Greenville had beaten us several times during the season, so it was nice to see the kids’ mental toughness. Dozie made the finals of the two-hundred, Matt and DeQuan placed in the one-hundred, and we knew Greenville had two guys there (in the 100, Houpt and Hunter Hause) there, too, so it was gonna be a ‘wash,’ so we knew it was gonna be the other two guys who might be the difference.

‘It’s the ultimate team sport in an individual sport,” Dzuricsko summarized.

Mercer’s Megan McKinney multi-tasked her way to winning the intermediate hurdles, placing 3rd and qualifying for state in the highs (15.71) (46.25) and anchored the Lady M’s winning sprint-relay quartet (including Alexis Stanton and Courntey and Emily Young) as they outlasted Lakeview, 51.27 to 51.37.

“This is what I’ve been working up to. I knew what I had to do – I had to compete, I had to run and I had to finish strong. That was my focus (Saturday): Finishing and competing with everybody else who was here to compete,” McKinney explained.

“I do feel a little pressure, because ‘Megan McKinney’s seeded first,’’” she continued. “I don’t like that. I feel like there’s so much pressure on me that I have to get first; nobody’s gonna be, like, ‘Oh, she got second (place), good job.’ … I can handle it, but it’s kind’ve tough.”

Other gold-medalists were Lakeview long-jumper Zach VanDusen (22-0 1⁄2). Greenville high-jumper Trey VanAken (6-4), and Wilmington triple-jumper Hannah Drake (36-2 1⁄2). Also, West Middlesex siblings Sarah Lucich (javelin, 121-3) and Eric Lucich (triple jump, 41-11 1/4), and Wilmington intermediate-hurdler Dwight Scott (41.14), and Wilmington pole-vaulter Julia Strobel (10-0).

Greenville’s Trojans triumphed in the 4x4, as Devin Sulick, Hause, Craig Trumball and Jacob Rickert recorded a 3:31.15 time to outlast Lakeview (3:32.83). The state-bound runner-up Sailors included Connor Stankovich, VanDusen and Tanner and Blake Reddick,

Drake double-doubled by also winning the long jump (17-0 3/4), and was part of the Lady Greyhounds garnering a trip to Shippensburg by clocking in a school-record 10:01.63 effort, placing behind perennial power Villa Maria Academy (9:29.42).

“I’m proud of my girls for what they accomplished. Chasing Villa is an accomplishment,” Acker said.

Lead leg Rikki Brumbaugh said, “It’s an honor, actually, to run against (the Victors). They ran at the Penn Relays, they’re the state champions

Brumbaugh has qualified for the PIAA Championship twice in track and 3 times in cross country emphasized that, on Saturday, “I was running for my team, and that’s all I thought about the whole time – this is for my team, it isn’t for myself.”

Bolstering Brumbaugh were teammates Drake, Hannah Winters and Allison Baldwin. Baldwin blew past her Gen.McLane counterpart at approximately the 300-meter mark of the last leg.

“Oh, my gosh, she is such a great competitor,” Brumbaugh said in praise of Baldwin.

“The Gen. McLane girl started out really fast, but I thought Allison did a good job of not burning too much too soon, but still staying in contact, then making her move when the time was right,” praised Acker. “I thought she ran a strategically-smart race and very hard race and really fought for that, and did a great job wrapping things up.”

Other Mercer County-area state qualifiers included: Greenville’s Elijah Dangrow (pole vault, 2nd, 13-0); Wilmington’s Julie Falvo (disc, 2nd, 132-8; shot, 2nd, 36-11) and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 2nd, 5-0); Slippery Rock high-hurdler Aster Chmielewski (2nd, 15.46);

Sharpsville’s Maddie Przicina (400, 3rd, 59.35); Greenville’s Molly Montalvo (discus, 3rd, 129-4; shot, 3rd, 36-9 1/2) and Bradi Osborne (5th, high hurdles, 16.0); Wilmington’s Cody Cooper (400, 2nd, 51.51); Lakeview’s Blake Reddick (200, 2nd, 23.28); Reynolds’ Rachel Toy (disc, 4th, 114-1), and a trio of intermediate-hurdlers in Mercer’s Chase Hoffman (2nd, 41.34), Molly Joyce of Slippery Rock (4th, 46.91) and Mercer’s Nichole Young (5th, 46.98). Joyce also made the cut in the highs (4th, 15.92).

The Lakeview Lady Sailors (Sydney Silloway, Taylor Reed, Andrea McConnel, Marla Holland) and Greenvile Trojans (Jacob Rickert, VanAken, Hause and Houpt) – respective runners-up in the sprint-relay – also are Shippensburg bound, as are the Sharon Lady Tigers’ 4x4 quartet (Leonna Bell, Ra’Kiya Rice, Jessica Talbert-Kirsch and Xsila Powell, 2nd, 4:08.83).

Perhaps summarizing the sentiments of the county’s conquest on Saturday afternoon Mercer’s Davis simply said, “I just like to come out here, relax, and run. … It’s just another place to run the hurdles.”


It took approximately 72 hours, but Hickory High’s girls track & field team finished what it started.

After building a significant lead during Wednesday’s weather-interrupted event, the Lady Hornets harvested the District 10 Class AAA championship Saturday at Harbor Creek High’s Paul J. Weitz Stadium.

In completing the deal the Lady Hornets joined their male counterparts in sweeping crowns, as the Hornets won the AA team title earlier in the day.

Hickory accumulated 155 1/2 team points to roll past 2nd-place Meadville (83).

Coach Tom Meling’s Slippery Rock boys rallied to win the AAA team title. Meling has coached the team for more than 20 years and commented that it is the first D-10 boys team championship in school history. The Rockets notched 91 points to best 2nd-place Cathedral Prep (80).

“It feels like we’ve been in a three-day meet – which we kinda have been,” began Hickory co-Head Coach Barb Dzuricsko. “But just the durability of our kids all season long – and really, everybody – to handle the weather and everything, and stil perform at a high-caliber level, it’s just unbelievable!

“For Mark (Slezak, co-head coach) and I and all our staff who won’t be returning (they announced their retirement earlier this season) is just icing on the cake, It just far exceeds anything we could’ve imagined,” Dzuricsko admitted. “Next weekend (at the PIAA Championships) we’re going to be so excited to take a busload to states and enjoy this with all of them.”

On Saturday, Hickory’s school record-setting sprint-relay team outdid itself, as the foursome of Lauren Bell, Victoria Russo, Heather Grober and Nikki Arbanas annexed the crown in a time of 51.06. That eclipsed the mark it set at last week’s Mercer County Invitational (50.31).

Also, Grober grabbed gold in the 200-meter dash (26.56), as well as the intermediate hurdles (45.67), while Lexi Bible – who won the 1600-meter run before Wednesday’s weather set in – completed her own double-double by copping the 3200-meter run (11:27.46).

The Hickory 4x4 relay team of won also, in a time of 4:12.41.

Other outstanding performances were posted by:

Slippery Rock’s trio of 800-meter standouts, as Brady Kadlubek (1:59.96), Josh Jones (2:02.55) and Mark Cessar (2:03.12) roared to a 1-2-3 sweep.

Grove City’s Ryan Budnik blistered to a 9:42.11 in winning the 3200-meter run, while Lady Eagle Hailey Hall harvested the pole-vault crown (10-6).

George Junior Republic’s Shukiem Murray captured the 200 in 22.88.

Dzuricsko, Slezak and their assistant coaches departed from Hermitage at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. But approximately 12 hours later -- or 72  hours, since the AAA championships began … or approximately 3 decades, the length of time passed since Dzuricsko, Slezak, et all began with Hickory’s program – has passed.

“It’s emotional, but at the same time  great,” Dzuricsko said. “We COULD NOT have scripted it any better. It is unbelievable, it really is! What a great group of kids that we have – and it started in November with indoor (track).They’ve put in a lot of time. And with the cooperation of our coaches and our school district.

Dzuricsko noted several of her standouts played soccer and/or basketball – Hickory teams that narrowly missed out on a trip to state in their own right.

“I work very well with B.J. (soccer coach, Rudge) and Jeanette (Whitehead, the basketball coach), and I can hardly wait to tell them that we got some of (the girls) to taste (state); hopefully some of them will get back (to state) in those sports,” Dzuricsko concluded.

Text Only
  • NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense

    THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fighting cancer Racing to fight cancer

    Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
    Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break

    SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
    Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”

    July 20, 2014

  • Sky high Rutters earn spot in national motocross event

    The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
    Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Football scramble Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble

    Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
    The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!

    HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
    The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
    What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).

    July 13, 2014

  • LeBron James Full text of LeBron's essay in SI

    LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team

    Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
    Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew

    Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.

    July 8, 2014

  • County champs Little League Tournaments

    Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.

    Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.

    Following are game reports:

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cook The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary

    Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
    During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11

    THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
    Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
    It is open to the public at no charge.

    June 29, 2014

  • Tri-Athletes Hickory honors Tri-Athletes

    Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
    Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the  academic year.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall

    HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
    OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
    Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.

    June 22, 2014

  • Trophy time Wilson wins Herald-Tamie Jr. golf crown

    It was a case of family history trumping golfing history!
    Hickory High golfer Billy Colbert had a chance to become only the second player ever to win the Herald-Tam O’Shanter Golf Championship four times. But he missed the final round of the tourney Wednesday along with his brother Colbert to attend his great-grandma’s funeral in Pittsburgh.
    “I kind of wish he was here,” said the 2014 champion Jacob Wilson, a Kennedy Catholic High player who lost in a sudden-death playoff to Colbert last year. “But you play whoever is here. And in golf, you play against yourself too.”

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter