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Keystone Oaks teams experience up and down year

| Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Jared Skolnicki recorded eight strike outs against South Park last week but recorded his first loss of the season as the Golden Eagles fell 1-0.

For the Keystone Oaks athletic programs, it was a year of good and bad.

Several athletes found success and competed at the PIAA championship level while other teams saw their head coaches move on. The following is a look at the top stories coming out of Golden Eagles athletics in 2013.

1. Diamond dominance

In one of the most successful seasons in Golden Eagles baseball history, the squad went 20-6, finished third in the WPIAL and reached the PIAA semifinals before falling to Upper Moreland, 3-1.

“It has been a really fun season in general,” senior Jerad Skolnicki said. “The amount of support we have been getting from the school, from the athletic director and from the fans is great. We have people driving two hours to see us play in the playoffs. Keystone Oaks really deserves a season like this.”

The driving force behind the team's success was Skolnicki's strong arm. The Kent State recruit went 11-1 with 111 strikeouts to only four runs.

In November, pitcher Taylor Lehman committed to Penn State. In his junior season, Lehman went 3-1 while striking out 34 batters and giving up only nine runs.

2. Silver medal

Senior wrestler Nick Zanetta finished his high school career with a second-place finish at the PIAA tournament.

The 132-pounder was plagued throughout the postseason tournaments by Kittaning's Jason Nolf. Zanetta fell to the junior in the finals of the WPIAL, Southwest Region and PIAA tournament.

Nolf defeated Zanetta, 4-2, in the PIAA Class AA championship match. Zanetta finished his high school career with a 35-5 mark as a senior.

Zanetta moved onto Pitt's wrestling team in the fall.

3. State qualifiers

The Golden Eagles track and field team had two athletes travel to Shippensburg University for the PIAA Class AA championships.

Seniors Katie Palmer (discuss) and Emily Bigler (triple jump) had strong performances at the WPIAL finals.

Palmer finished fourth in the discuss with a throw of 105-09 to qualify for states. Bigler finished fifth in the triple jump with a lead of 33-07.00.

At the PIAA finals, Palmer finished in 16th with a throw of 104-04.00 and Bigler finished in 22nd with a leap of 33-05.00.

4. Blades of glory

The Golden Eagles finished the 2012-13 PIHL Open Class season with a 13-7-1 record were led by Ryan Rosato's 39 goals and 22 assists.

Bryton Tomko added 25 goals and 20 assists.

5. Coaching turnover

After only two seasons as the football coach at Keystone Oaks, Matt Taylor resigned. He went 4-14 with the Golden Eagles.

Other coaching changes for Keystone Oaks included Rich Bonaccorsi taking over the wrestling program from J.J. Zanetta and Tony Cherico replacing Gene Mercuri as boys basketball coach.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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