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High school notebook: Leechburg's Barto eyes WPIAL golf crown

| Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Leechburg junior Matt Barto chips in from the fringe on No. 18 at Lenape Heights Golf Course during the Section 1-AA individual qualifier on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Barto placed first in the qualifier with a 2-over 73. Bill West | Tribune-Review

Leechburg could have its first WPIAL golf champion by late Monday afternoon.

Junior Matt Barto, fresh off his third consecutive section title, is the favorite to win the Class AA title after finishing second last season. The tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m. at Youghiogheny Country Club in Elizabeth Township.

Barto, who is 12-under-par in his previous three matches, shot 2-over 73 to take the Section 1-AA title Wednesday at Lenape Heights Golf Course. But Barto felt his round left plenty to be desired.

“I had enough good holes today. I had a couple sloppy holes, though,” he said. “I get a little too frustrated at times. I don't even know why.”

Barto shot 80 to tie for seventh two years ago, when the inaugural — then Division II — championship was played at Youghiogheny.

“I'm not on top of my game at the moment, but I have my good moments every round, so I'm confident that if I go in with a good mindset, then it'll come together,” he said.

Other local players in the field include Freeport's Richard VanDruff and Cole Hepler; St. Joseph's David Schnur; Kittanning's Jordan Klodowski and Noah Kunst; Burrell's Zack Abel; and Apollo-Ridge's Adam Lockwood. The top 16 advance to the PIAA Western Regional Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.

Barto and Lockwood are the only locals who appeared in last year's final at New Castle Country Club. Seven of the top 12 finishers graduated.

VanDruff, a senior, was the Section 3-AA medalist.

“He's been steady for us for three years,” Freeport coach Joe Sprumont said.

Abel and Schnur also played in the championship two years ago at Youghiogheny.

Helping hand

The Norwin girls volleyball team made a kind gesture Tuesday.

It donated its 50-50 raffle to Kiski Area's Fluorescent Angels Fund, which raises money and cancer awareness in the name of Jaime Vick Moran, the late Kiski Area coach and teacher.

Schedule boost for Kittanning wrestling

Kittanning's wrestling team expects to be strong this winter, and the proof is in the Wildcats' schedule: They entered the renowned Powerade Christmas Tournament, set for Dec. 28-29 at Canon-McMillan.

Kittanning — led by junior-to-be Jason Nolf, who has an 86-1 career record — joins other Powerade newcomers Altoona, Baylor (Tenn.), Brookville, Chartiers Valley, Clovis (Calif.), Erie McDowell, Father Judge, Good Counsel (Md.), Hermiston (Ore.), Moeller (Ohio), Parkland, Saegertown and Trinity Camp Hill in the 46-team field. Burrell is a regular participant in the event.

Nolf will be one of 55 wrestlers in the tournament who reached the PIAA championships last season.

Softball showcase

Add Plum softball infielder Jordan Seneca to the list of local participants in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase South event, held last month at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.

She joined teammate Melissa Leclair, a third baseman, in the event. Seneca led Plum with a .547 batting average, nine doubles, five triples and 25 runs. Leclair hit .340 with 12 RBI and a home run.

Deer Lakes first baseman Sierra Sarver also was picked.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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