High school notebook: Early invitationals to showcase area athletes
Quality, not quantity, will be on display at the 21st annual Lady Spartan and 11th annual Greater Latrobe Wildcat Invitational on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
While only 16 teams have entered the track and field meets, there still will be plenty of talent on hand.
Teams entered, along with hosts Hempfield and Latrobe, include North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon (girls only), Connellsville, Norwin, Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford, Indiana and Ringgold.
“A lot of coaches said they'd come on a Friday,” said Roger Sullenberger, a volunteer assistant coach for both schools. “Out east, they run a lot of invitationals on the weekend. They make it a big thing. We'll still have a lot of talent on display.”
The Hempfield girls and boys are the defending WPIAL Class AAA champions. The Hempfield girls are led by sprinter Jasmine Jones, hurdler Maddie Holmberg, pole vaulter Lexi Masterson, jumper Bridget Guy and jumper Natalie Shiffler. Thrower Max Adams, sprinters DeLorian Day and Sherman West, distance runner Chandler Crusan and thrower Ty George pace the Hempfield boys.
There are two other local invitationals Saturday at Monessen and Central Valley.
Beistel, Phipps win titles
Southmoreland freshman Jake Beistel won the 285-pound title in the freshman division at the National High School Coaches Association nationals April 6 in Virginia Beach. Beistel defeated Edwin Rubio of New York, 4-3, in the finals and won four matches, including two pins.
Beistel raised more than $5,000 this winter for the Southmoreland Elementary School autism program.
“My goal was to raise $1,000, and raising more than $5,000 is amazing,” Beistel said. “I'm really glad I can help the kids get the things they need.”
He said he was really appreciative of Larry Newcomer, who donated $50 per win; Beistel finished with a 34-7 record.
Norwin freshman Drew Phipps also won a national title, while Blairsville sophomore Andrew Doak finished third in the 160-pound weight class.
More national champions
Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher, Hempfield sophomore Sam Krivus and Hampton senior Jake Hart each picked up first-place medals at the Flo Nationals on Sunday at Indiana (Pa.) University.
Pletcher, who won the PIAA Class AAA title, won the 106-pound title. North Hills freshman Gage Curry placed third and Kiski School freshman Ethan McCoy (Latrobe) finished seventh. Krivus, the 120-pound PIAA Class AAA winner, defeated PIAA Class AA winner, Bethlehem Catholic's Darian Cruz, 2-1.
Hart, the PIAA Class AAA 195-pound winner, defeated Jeramy Sweany of California, 7-1. Kittanning junior Jason Nolf, a PIAA champ, placed second at 132 pounds, and North Hills senior Drew Walker placed second at 126.
Kiski Area senior Cole Landowski also took second.
Other place winners were Derry freshman George Phillippi (sixth at 113), Ligonier Valley junior Justin Patrick (eighth at 113), North Allegheny junior Jesse Rodgers (sixth at 132), Franklin Regional sophomore Jordan Shields (third at 145), Latrobe junior Zack Zavatsky (third at 170) and Franklin Regional senior Luke Fleck (fourth at 285).
Spencer Stefko, who led the Chartiers Valley girls basketball team to a runner-up finish at the WPIAL Class AAAA tournament and a trip to the PIAA semifinals this winter, resigned Friday. Stefko compiled a 137-51 record in seven seasons.