Mon Valley college sports roundup: Yough, Connellsville grads stand out on, off diamond for RMU
Two local softball standouts at Robert Morris (Moon Township) University will begin the 2014 season as National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes.
Junior pitcher Nicole Sleith from Smithton and Yough High School and senior shortstop Cassie Show from Connellsville High School were both recognized for their exemplary work in the classroom. This honor from the NFCA is bestowed upon student-athletes who achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or higher during an academic year.
Sleith and Show coincidentally both own GPA's of 3.667 and are majoring in engineering and psychology, respectively.
Overall, the Colonials produced a 3.561 team GPA during the past academic year to earn the fourth-highest mark among NCAA Division I softball squads. Robert Morris, which has accrued at least a 3.55 GPA in each of the past five seasons, has led NCAA Division I in GPA in three of the past five years.
Both players this spring will try to help the Colonials win a fourth straight Northeast Conference regular season championship.
Last spring Sleith became the first Colonial to receive Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Year honors more than once and in two years has compiled a 42-20 cumulative record and 1.65 ERA with 457 strikeouts in 417.1 innings pitched with 11 shutouts and one no-hitter.
Already a three-year starting shortstop, Show has helped the Colonials and 24-year veteran head coach Craig Coleman win 46 of 60 conference games over the past three seasons.
Robert Morris, which won 16 of 20 conference games in 2013, will open 2014 league play on March 29, hosting St. Francis (Loretto, Pa.) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
Fell part of ‘future' at Juniata
Frazier High School graduate and wide receiver Jaime Fell contributed during his first year as a member of Juniata (Huntingdon, Pa.) College's football team.
A 6-foot-2-inch, 170-pound freshman, Fell played in seven of the Eagles' 11 games and caught five balls for 74 yards.
His longest reception was a 37-yard catch in a home loss to Johns Hopkins (Baltimore) University.
Under third-year head coach Tim Launtz, Juniata compiled a 7-4 overall record and finished in a third-place tie in the Centennial Conference with a 6-3 mark. The seven wins was the most by a Juniata football squad since the 1990 team went 7-3 overall. Juniata was 3-7 overall in 2012 and winless in 2010.
The Eagles' season ended with a 45-34 home loss to Albright (Reading, Pa.) College in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southwest Bowl. It was the program's first post-season appearance since winning the 1973 NCAA Division III national championship.
Launtz is looking for Fell to continue improving and play a bigger role on and off the field for the Eagles as they begin preparations for 2014.
“We sure hope Juniata football is back,” Launtz said about the turnaround season. “What it will take is the next group of leaders to step up with a good offseason and continue to do the things we need to do. Jaime is a part of this and we are excited about our future.”
A two-time all-conference, all-county player and 2012 second-team all State selection, Fell made 79 receptions over his final two scholastic seasons for 1,467 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Fourteen individuals were recently inducted into the Washington County United States Bowling Congress Bowling Hall of Fame.
Comprising the eighth bi-annual class in alphabetical order are: Dan Comstock, Peggy Cushman, Greg Duntz, John Grabiak, Nadine Hampton, Dean Hickman, Olda Horn, Ronald Horn, Robert Lawrence, Barb Shultz, Liz Tauzel, Ron Tkach, Betty Tyler and Rich Weaver.
Election into the USBC Hall of Fame is the highest honor USBC can bestow upon a person for extraordinary contributors to the sport, on and off the lanes.
The USBC Hall of Fame is the result of a merger of the American Bowling Congress Hall, founded in 1941, and the Women's International Bowling Congress Hall, which was formed in 1953.
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.