High school notebook: Alle-Kiski Valley track athletes look to defend titles
Local track and field athletes will continue to gear up for the postseason with a pair of key events this weekend.
Several Alle-Kiski athletes and teams will compete at the Mars Invitational set for Friday at the Mars Athletic Complex.
Burrell, Deer Lakes, Ford City, Fox Chapel, Freeport, Highlands, Kittanning, Knoch, Plum, Riverview and Springdale are scheduled to be in the 37-team field.
Field events and sprint heats are set to begin at 1 p.m.
Last year, Fox Chapel's boys won the team title and had three individual champions — dual-winner Ethan Martin (1,600-, 3,200-meter runs), Brandon Mitchell (110 hurdles) and Brian Papich (long jump).
Mitchell and Papich return. Martin will miss the meet because he is competing in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
Other returning champions from the area are Springdale's Emily Lelis (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Knoch's Sam Logan (800).
Kiski Area's teams, meantime, will be at the 91st Westmoreland County Coaches' Association meet Saturday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
Field events begin at 9:30 a.m.
Burrell and Valley usually send athletes to the county meet also.
In last year's meet, Kiski Area swept the 3,200-meter relays, the Cavaliers' boys 400 relay won gold, Brent Kennedy took the 1,600 and 800 and Morgan Kiebler won the girls' 3,200.
Highlands junior football standout Allan Cratsenberg still is awaiting his first Division I scholarship offer, but interest is growing.
According to 247Sports.com, Cratsenberg has “warm” interest from Boston College, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Duke and Eastern Michigan.
Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia also have inquired about the 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker.
Freeport freshman Josh Beale may be young, but he's already showing he can organize his priorities.
In an early mold of current Yellowjackets' senior Brendan Lynch, a WPIAL Scholar-Athlete award winner, Beale is a starter in three sports and is working to maintain a 3.82 grade-point average.
Beale, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, started at left guard, long-snapped and place-kicked in football, and started 19 games at power forward in basketball, averaging 8.8 points and 8.2 rebounds.
This spring, he's starting at third base for the baseball team.
Gillette in nationals
Highlands junior gymnast Jordan Gillette will compete for the third time in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships set for May 9-12 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Gillette, who attends X-Cel Gymnastics in Cranberry and trains about 25 hours a week, also is an alternate for the national team.
Gillette hopes to attract more college attention on the national stage. Several Division I schools already have shown interest.
Klems to PSU
Another Burrell rugby player will continue his playing career at the college level.
Burrell senior Cory Klems committed to play at Penn State, which fields a Division I-A club team.
Klems also is a standout wrestler and played defensive tackle for the football team.
His rugby teammate, Burrell three-sport athlete Matt Hess, recently committed to Delaware for rugby.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.