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High school notebook: Valley teams still without basketball coaches

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

Time is not on Valley's side.

With head-coaching vacancies in both its boys and girls varsity basketball programs and the lack of frequent open gyms and summer-league participation a growing issue, Valley is going to have to go uptempo in the hiring process.

Girls coach Jeff Cheathem resigned in February, and boys coach Phil Cope followed suit in May, leaving the school board and athletic director a pair of key voids to fill.

The programs, meantime, have sat almost stagnant minus the leadership.

Usually by this time of year, Valley is well into play in the St. Joseph summer league.

“We're all anxious to get someone in place,” Valley athletic director Mark Kaczanowicz said.

“When the boys' job opened unexpectedly, we put the girls' (job) on hold. We're beginning the interview process now.”

Kaczanowicz said there is no plan to name coaches at Thursday's board meeting. The next meeting should be in July.

Valley has 13 applicants for the boys job and six for the girls.

Another issue is the later it gets in the summer, the closer it gets to the fall sports season. Valley could lose potential basketball players to football, soccer and other sports.

Barto on Team USA

Leechburg incoming senior Matt Barto was picked for the United States team in the International Junior Golf Tour's North America Cup.

Team USA will play Team Canada July 1-3 at Weston Golf & Country Club in Ontario.

The American team has won five straight matches and is 8-2 overall in the series.

The returning WPIAL Class AA champion, Barto has played in four IJGT events this season, posting a win, a tie for 10th, a second place and a tie for eighth. He is ranked No. 13 in the 15-19 age division. The U.S. team consists of 13 players.

New coach

Leechburg has a new girls volleyball coach. The school board last week hired Samantha Davis, a former standout player at Apollo-Ridge.

Davis replaces Lindsey Simon, who is relocating to another state.

Davis was an all-conference player at Penn College, where she played one season.

Geracia to SVC

Apollo-Ridge senior softball shortstop Sam Geracia has committed to play at St. Vincent College.

Geracia, a four-year starter, hit a team-best .574 with three home runs, 22 RBI and 17 runs this season.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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