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High school notebook: WPIAL rules Franklin Regional wrestler ineligible

| Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
Jim Ference | Tribune-Review
Monessen basketball head coach Joe Salvino during a 2012 game.

The WPIAL on Monday ruled ineligible Franklin Regional wrestler Devin Brown, a reigning PIAA champion who moved to Murrysville earlier this year.

The WPIAL's decision, confirmed by Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser, will be appealed to the PIAA.

“He's a good kid who works hard,” said Mausser, who attended Monday's hearing at the league's office in Green Tree.

Brown, a junior, won the state's 106-pound Class AA title last winter while attending Saegertown, a District 10 school near Erie. As a freshman, Brown placed third in Ohio's state tournament while at Steubenville, making this his third high school in three school years.

Drawing added scrutiny to Brown's move was the earlier transfer of another talented wrestler from Saegertown to Franklin Regional. Spencer Lee, who's ranked among the top freshmen wrestlers in the country, moved into the district when his father accepted a job at Carnegie Mellon.

Saegertown contested Brown's transfer and had three school administrators attend Monday afternoon's hearing.

“Everybody says he followed Spencer Lee, but he really hasn't,” Mausser said. “They don't even work out together. He's a good family friend.”

Brown's grandfather, Tom Bennett, insisted that the two transfers were not connected. He attributed the move to his own heart problems and a desire to live closer to his doctors at Allegheny General Hospital.

“I don't have anything against Saegertown; we had good relations up there,” said Bennett, who's Brown's legal guardian.

Brown was 48-1 last season, which included a victory over Bethlehem Catholic's Luke Karam in the state championship. Brown's only loss was to PIAA Class AAA champion Luke Pletcher from Latrobe in the Powerade finals.

In August, Brown and Lee each qualified for the Cadet World Championships in Serbia.

Heinz Field bag policy

Fans planning to attend Saturday's WPIAL championship football games at Heinz Field will need to obey the bag policy set by stadium officials.

Only bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12x6x12 inches or one-gallon clear freezer bags are allowed.

Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, may be carried into the stadium. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items after inspection at the gate.

Prohibited items include purses larger than clutch bags, coolers, diaper bags, binocular cases, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage, seat cushions, computer bags, camera bags and umbrellas.

For more, visit steelers.com/tickets-and-stadium/allclear.

Winter sports under way

Monday marked the first day of winter sports practices for teams across Western Pennsylvania. Teams began official training for boys and girls basketball, wrestling, swimming, rifle and gymnastics.

Teams can scrimmage as early as Saturday, and the first play date is Dec. 6.

Experienced bench

Monessen again appears to have a boys basketball team with potential to win a championship; it certainly has a coaching staff to lead the way.

Joe Salvino returns for his 30th season as the team's coach, boasting a 541-220 record with four WPIAL and two PIAA titles. His new assistant coach has quite a resume as well. Former Greyhounds girls coach Major Corley has joined the bench and brought a career record of 457-149, with three WPIAL and one state crown. He retired after the 2009 season.

Monessen has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 31 straight years.

Massack resigns

After seven seasons, Todd Massack resigned as coach of Riverview's football team. The Riverview school board accepted Massack's resignation Monday. Massack, just the fourth coach in Riverview's history, had a career record of 20-46 with the Raiders. Riverview went 1-8 this season.

All-state honors

Five WPIAL runners were honored by the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association with selection to the all-state cross country first team.

PIAA champion Marianne Abdalah from Vincentian Academy was joined on the girls all-state list by Mt. Lebanon's Jillian Hunsberger and Kelsey Potts, as well as Shaler's Brianna Schwartz. Colin Martin from Fox Chapel also was recognized.

Staff writer Paul Schofield contributed. Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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