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State, WPIAL titles highlight year at P-T

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Penn Trafford's Christian McCurdy swims in the boys 100-yard butterfly during the AAA WPIAL Championships at Trees Pool March 1, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford running back Tom Stinelli gains extra yardage as Hempfield's Joey Hoffner attempts to make a tackle during their WPIAL Quad East game on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at Hempfield High School in Fort Allen. Stinelli rushed for 162 yards on 31 carries as Penn-Trafford defeated Hempfield, 16-0. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's lineup at the PIAA girls golf championships was, from left, Mia Barchetti, Morgan Rector, Casey Doran, Haley Borkovich and Royse Bachtel. Submitted
Penn Trafford's Dan Maier (43) skates past North Allegheny's Matt Neurohr (6) on Tuesday, Dec. 20th, 2011 at BladeRunners in Cranberry. Dean M. Beattie | For the Penn-Trafford Star

The year 2012 in Penn-Trafford sports held a number of championship moments and outstanding individual performances by local athletes.

From a state-champion swimmer to the fourth WPIAL team title in the high school's history, fans had plenty to cheer about from the Warriors over the last 12 months.

Below is a look at some of the top stories that were featured in the Penn-Trafford Star's sports section this year:

McCurdy gets gold

After a handful of near misses, Penn-Trafford swimmer and now-N.C. State freshman Christian McCurdy finally got the gold medal that eluded him in his final race at the WPIAL Championships on March 2 when he won the 500-yard freestyle with a wire-to-wire, 4 minute, 32.59 second victory.

From there, he only got better, as he captured two gold medals at this year's state championships in the 500 free (4:28.39) and 100 butterfly (48.80), an event in which he was second at WPIALs.

“I'm still a little bit geeked,” McCurdy said. “Coming into the sport when I was eight, if you told me I'd be a double-gold medalist, I'd never have believed it. I couldn't have done it without all the help people have given me along the way.”

He wasn't the only P-T swimmer to top the WPIAL medal stand, as fellow senior Matt Baurle won the 100 breaststroke in 58.15. McCurdy, Baurle, Alex Plimpton and Matt Loughner also combined to take silver in the 200 medley relay, and they helped key the Warriors' fourth consecutive unbeaten season and section title.

Ladies on the links

Penn-Trafford's girls golf team also delivered at the WPIAL championships, as the team shook off the disappointment of back-to-back runner-up finishes with a title in the Class AAA final on Oct. 11.

The lineup of Haley Borkovich, Mia Barchetti, Morgan Rector, Casey Doran and Royse Bachtel delivered a team score of 338, which was good for an 18-stroke win over runner-up North Allegheny and five other schools.

The team went on to finish second at the PIAA championship behind Radnor, but its place in P-T history already was secure.

“It was great to win the section title all four years, it was an accomplishment. And finally winning the WPIALs after losing it two years was amazing. I can't describe it any better than that,” Borkovich said.

No field hockey repeat

The P-T field hockey team had a chance to claim its second straight WPIAL title on Oct. 31, but a 1-0 overtime loss in the final against Fox Chapel ended the Warriors' season in heartbreaking fashion.

The loss came after the team won must-win contests against Pine-Richland and Norwin to simply make the playoffs, and it then upset Peters Township in the semifinals, 3-2, in overtime.

Led by the scoring of Amanda Steffey, Isabel Siergiej and Sydney Pribanic, the team finished with a 14-4-1 record less than a decade after the inception of P-T's newest varsity sport.

More hockey stars

The year began with Penn-Trafford flying on the ice, as the Warriors captured a section title and the No. 1 seed in the Class AAA playoffs with a 19-2-1 regular-season record.

Seniors Dan Maier, Conlan Sodrosy and Joey Boyer finished as the first-, second- and fourth-highest scorers in Class AAA, and the senior-led team advanced to the PIHL semifinal before the scoring slowed down on March 21, when eventual champion Bethel Park scored its second upset of the playoffs by beating the Warriors, 3-2.

Serve and volley

Penn-Trafford's boys tennis team, led by WPIAL qualifiers Cullen Price and Paul Campbell, defended its Section 1-AAA title with an 11-1 section mark in the spring.

Price was the section runner-up in singles, and he and Campbell also took second in the doubles tournament to reach the WPIAL tournament, though both they and the team were unable to advance in district competition.

More volleying

The girls volleyball team was another repeat section titlist for the Warriors, as the team defended its section title this fall.

Penn-Trafford did need a win in its final section match to avoid sharing the title, but the Warriors responded with a 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-21 win over second-place Norwin to ensure the title was theirs and theirs alone.

Baseball perseveres

Penn-Trafford's baseball team opened its 2012 season under uncertain circumstances when four players were dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons.

The team regrouped and rebounded to post a 10-9-1 record and qualify for the playoffs with a 7-5 record in Section 2-AAAA before falling to Upper St. Clair, 8-2, in the first round of the playoffs on May 15.

“I think once we got back from Vero (Beach, Fla.), we had to completely regroup,” said Evans, referring to the suspensions. “It was a total team effort this year. We went a lot of the season with 12 guys on the varsity team, and no matter what we asked them to do, they did it.

“We may not have gone far in the playoffs, but there's a lot of teams that didn't even make it. For us to get there, that's something to be proud of.”

Section hoops titles

Penn-Trafford's boys and girls basketball teams both won section titles in their 2011-12 seasons, but both met a similar playoff fate with first-round losses at Plum — the girls to Shaler and the boys to Gateway.

Both should get a chance to make a much deeper run in the 2012-13 season, however, as they each are regarded as a favorite to repeat as section champs.

No football drop-off

P-T's football team wasn't able to repeat its undefeated regular season of a year ago, but its 7-2 regular-season record and runner-up finish in the Quad East Conference showed that the Warriors' 2011 team wasn't a fluke or one-year wonder.

Led by solid defense and the running of Devin Austin, Tommy Stinelli and quarterback Dorian Stevens, the team put together a six-game win streak and earned a home playoff game that turned out to be a thriller, but the Warriors fell in the first round on Nov. 2 to Central Catholic, 30-27.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or

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