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Trio of Gateway senior student-athletes ready to take next step

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Michael Love | For The Times Express
Gateway seniors, from left, Chelsea Richardson, Maria Taylor and Allie Briley made their college decisions final on April 17, 2013, at Gateway High School.

Three standout Gateway senior student-athletes made their college decisions final last week, as Chelsea Richardson, Maria Taylor and Allie Briley put pen to paper at a ceremony in front of family, friends and teammates at Gateway High School.

Richardson and Taylor will play basketball at Wheeling Jesuit and Clarion, respectively, while Briley will play volleyball at Wilmington University in Delaware.

Briley is going to a program that was very successful in the 2012 season.

Wilmington went 18-1 in its conference in NCAA Division II and 28-6 overall. The Wildcats made it to their conference championship game.

Briley made a connection with the program while talking to the coach at a number of club tournaments. She took a visit and knew it was the place for her.

“It just felt right,” Briley said.

“I am really excited to help keep it a strong program,” Briley said.

Seton Hill, Niagara University in New York and Shepherd University in West Virginia were among her choices through the recruiting process.

Briley played volleyball for six years in the Gateway program, and she lettered all four years on varsity. She received all-section honors three years, including first-team recognition as a junior and a senior.

Briley was a two-time team MVP, and she helped the Gators reached the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs as a junior in 2011.

Taylor said Pitt-Johnstown and Kutztown were involved in the recruiting process, but Clarion was the one that stayed interested.

“It's a great family environment,” she said.

Taylor will head to Clarion after lettering four years for the Gateway varsity girls basketball team. She helped the team win three consecutive section titles.

The Golden Eagles women's basketball team went 13-16 overall in 2012-13 and were 9-13 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Taylor continues a Gateway connection with Clarion basketball, as Gators grad Mike Kromka just wrapped up his junior season as the leading scorer and rebounder for the men's team.

“Every since I was little, I wanted to play college basketball. That's why I worked so hard to get to where I am at,” Taylor said.

Richardson joined Taylor as huge contributors to the three Gateway section titles in a row, as well as this winter's run to the WPIAL semifinals and the PIAA second round.

She was a three-year captain, a four-year letterman and an all-section player as a junior and a senior.

Wheeling Jesuit finished 11-18 overall and 9-11 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2012-13 season, and no seniors graduated from the squad.

“I didn't want to be too far from home, and they had my major, which was very important,” Richardson said. “I clicked with the coaches and players instantly. Being that they are young, I have a chance for playing time right away as long as I apply myself in the offseason.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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