Kiski Area wrestler McCutcheon signs with Penn State
Kiski Area senior Matt McCutcheon, who became the first state wrestling champion in school history last season, decided Wednesday to continue his career at a university that knows a thing or two about gold.
On the first day of the NCAA's early-signing period for certain sports, McCutcheon inked a letter of intent to two-time defending national champion Penn State.
He also received scholarship offers from Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
“Growing up being a Penn State fan, and them having a great group of kids and good coaches — maybe the best in the country — and they're two hours away from me. It was a great opportunity,” McCutcheon said.
Penn State features several former WPIAL standouts and is coached by Cael Sanderson, who captured an Olympic gold medal in 2004.
Last season, McCutcheon (41-1, including 31 pins) captured the PIAA Class AAA 182-pound title. He already holds Kiski Area's career record for pins with 74. In three seasons, McCutcheon has compiled a 120-12 mark. He needs 30 wins to break Tyler Oravec's career record of 149, which was set in the 2005-06 season.
Penn State started showing interest in McCutcheon at the beginning of last season and offered a scholarship this past summer.
Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky is thrilled with McCutcheon's college choice.
“For him to get a scholarship to the school that's won the national championship the last two years, that's fantastic,” Tursky said. “He's going to the best wrestling place in the nation.”
At Riverview, one of the smallest schools in the Alle-Kiski Valley, two seniors signed Division I letters of intent. Anthony Malky is headed to Akron for baseball, and Arden Fisher will play volleyball at Robert Morris. A joint signing ceremony, with the coaches and families of both players looking on, was held after school.
As a junior, Malky, a 5-foot-8 right-hander, posted a 6-2 record with a 0.94 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 52 innings. He also played shortstop and batted .468 with nine RBI.
Fisher, a 6-foot outside hitter, was a dominate force at the net this fall and guided Riverview to its second consecutive trip to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals.
“(Wednesday) was one of those days you think about when you're a little kid,” Malky said.
Fox Chapel senior Elly Wagner realized a longtime goal when she signed with North Carolina for softball. The catcher had an injury-shortened junior season but still batted .571 in 21 at-bats.
Wagner plans to take her final exams before the Christmas break so she can graduate early from Fox Chapel and enroll at North Carolina in January. She said she was told she could compete for a starting role with the Tar Heels this season.
“I'm very excited and honored to wear Carolina blue,” Wagner said. “My dream came true.”
Two other Fox Chapel seniors are bound for Division I schools — Ashley DeMoss (Marshall, golf) and Natalie Bonaroti (Marist, lacrosse).
At the Division II level, Burrell senior wrestler Dakota DesLauriers signed with Mercyhurst. Last season, DesLauriers (45-1) took runner-up honors in the 182-pound weight class at the state Class AA championships. In recent years, Mercyhurst has established a pipeline with Burrell. There are three Burrell graduates on the roster.
Kiski Area senior Maddie Antone, the Valley News Dispatch Girls Athlete of the Year for 2011-12, said she probably will wait until the spring to make a college choice.
A standout in softball, basketball and volleyball, Antone has received the most Division I interest because of her play on the diamond. Antone said Winthrop was considering offering a partial scholarship, and Tennessee Tech also has displayed interest. Last spring, she hit .517 with seven home runs and played shortstop for Kiski Area.
In basketball, Division I Cleveland State invited Antone to take a visit. Last season, the 5-11 Antone averaged 16.7 points and 11 rebounds.
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.