The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

May 28, 2013

STATE TRACK NOTEBOOK: WM seniors leave legacy of greatness

OPINION — WEST MIDDLESEX High always has had a proud athletic heritage, and this past weekend’s PIAA Class AA Track & Field championship will only add lustre to that legacy.

According to available archives at The Herald, only the 1954 boys’ basketball team and Coach Bob Morris’ boys’ cross country team from earlier this decade previously had won commonwealth crowns.

“This is huge!” gold medal-winning pole-vaulter Luke Patten pronounced. “Really, for West Middlesex, this is one of the biggest things to happen to the athletic program. ... It’s one of the biggest things I’ve ever been a part of.”

Clay Allen annexed 3 individual gold medals and he, Patten, Jeremy Jancso and Sebastian Grasso formed the Big Reds’ 4x1 gold medal-winning relay foursome.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Allen admitted, adding, “I’m so proud of everybody on my team. We all came together and got it done.”

A son of Glen and Lori Allen, he admitted, “They’re probably  more excited than I am right now; it’ll probably hit me later.”

Allen also was running for his grandmother Darlene Allen, who has had several bouts with cancer.

“She couldn’t really get to a lot of my meets this year, so when she comes, I’ve gotta bust it out and do the best I can for her,” Allen explained, adding, “She probably my number one fan. She comes to everything and videotapes.”

“It feels amazing!” echoed Jancso, who also finished 5th in the long jump. “I’ve been waiting four years and three sports for it, and we finally got it. ... It’s so exciting, especially for a little, small town like us; we graduate about 80 kids a year. To come up and win the double-A trophy is real nice.”

“It’s a great feeling for the team. I know Coach ‘Pick’ (Ed Pikna) wanted it badly, and this definitely makes up for not winning D-10, we came up just short, but it’s a great feeling,” said Grasso.

“It’s just now starting to settle it; it doesn’t seem real,” related Trevor Harrison, who placed 3rd in the shot put. “There’s really a lot of time that goes into all that from the coaches and kids. ... The coaches made that happen.

“To stand up (before a welcome home gathering) and see all the Big Red fans ... it’s a feeling, you know what I mean? Harrison rhetorically asked.

Pikna completed his 23rd season with West Middlesex’s track  program. He could not recall another Mercer County athlete who fared as well as Allen this past weekend.

“Unbelievable! He deserves that trophy more than any of us,” Pikna said, noting former Big Reds’ standout Ben Steingrabe won a 110-meter high hurdles gold medal in 1999 and also added silver and bronze medals, and former standout sprinter Jenny Kerins also etched her name in school annals.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about these assistant coaches,” Pikna continued, citing Alan Hough, Kelly Hoffman, Wayne Gill, Tim Tyillian, and Jim Howe. “We put in countless hours. We ran a full winter program the last two, three years with these kids. We were at YSU two nights a week; five Saturdays at Edinboro for winter meets. We put a lot of miles on our cars and the school district buses. The school’s been very supportive of us,

“But these guys are just absolutely unbelievable with the work that they’ve done,” Pikna praised. “Kelly has just taken the bull by the horns in the relays and the sprints and the starts. She’s just had a tremendous impact on these kids, and done a fantastic job for us this year.

“And we had great support. These fans are just unbelievable!” Pikna added. “The parents — they deserve the trophy as much as the kids ... and way more than the coaches, I think.”

This year’s charismatic West Middlesex senior class  included numerous multi-sport athletes.

“We have a lot of athletes,” Jancso noted, “especially like Luke Patten in football and track ... Austin Mirizio, I know he’s going to play football in college ... and we’ve got Clay, he’s going (to college) for track, and so am I (Kent State University).

“I like every sport and I didn’t want to give up on any, like a lot of people do (who) try to focus on one. I like to stick it out, and it’s been well worth it,” added Jancso, who up until age 14 was regarded as a pretty fair pitching prospect.

Echoed Grasso, “This (senior) class is definitely athletic in all sports. Hopefully, the track team stays good; I don’t think it’ll just go to waste after us. Hopefully the younger kids see that, and they put in the work, too, and help that tradition keep going, you know?”

“The boys basketball team, the football team (of which he was a part) ... everybody, as a whole in my grade, we’re all tough as nails when comes to sports,” Harrison observed, citing throwers Rachel DeMaria and Sarah Lucich. “It really shows everybody was pulling through in my class.”

Harrison will matriculate to Muskingum University, possibly to major in criminal justice and compete in football and as a track & field thrower. He said,

“(The state championship) is really gonna leave a mark in the history of West Middlesex for kids coming up through the high school now. And there’s been more people who came out to watch us play.”

“Our parents back us a lot, and they want us to do well,” Grasso related. “We all knew coming in here we had a good chance to win. It was on our minds, but we didn’t talk about it; we just came in here, did what we were supposed to do, and it worked out great.”

Pikna praised District 10, specifically citing Mercer County, for molding Middlesex into the Keystone State kingpin.

“The caliber of competition — not just in District 10 — but Mercer County ... won a lot of medals, we had a fantastic weekend down here,” Pikna pointed out. “You score in District 10, you qualify (for state), you’ve got a good shot at coming down here and winning a medal

“Track in Mercer County ... the competition is as good as it gets anywhere in the state,” he added.

But for this year the PIAA pedestal is planted in West Middlesex.

“Hopefully, we’ll be remembered forever,” Patten pronounced. “We took five gold medals, and that’s something that’s never even been thought of.  A state champoinshiop for the team ... I guess we’re just role-models for everybody else who’s younger than us and who will look upon us. Hopefully we’ve just created the best legacy we ever could.”

Ed Farrell is assistant sports editor for The Herald



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPORTVIEW: Johnny Football claims he has learned from his 'rookie mistakes'

    HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
    Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
    Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.

    July 27, 2014

  • 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

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