VND high school notebook: Seven A-K players make all-state team

| Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Seven local football players are in good hands with all-state.

The group was named to the Pennsylvania Football News All-State teams after stellar seasons.

Apollo-Ridge junior Tre Tipton made the Class A first team as a defensive back, the same spot he earned on the Pennsylvania Football Writer's All-State team. His teammate, senior quarterback Jesse Zelonka, made the third team as an athlete. He was the Valley News Dispatch Offensive Player of the Year.

Highlands senior linebacker Allan Cratsenberg, the VND's top defensive player, was a first-team pick in Class AAA. Kittanning had two players on the Class AA third team, juniors Nick Bowers (WR) and Braden Toy (athlete). Bowers has picked up a scholarship offer from Pitt.

In Class AAAA, Kiski Area senior Shane Kuhn made the second team as a tight end and senior kicker Adam Mitcheson was a third-teamer. Kuhn is headed to Youngstown State; Mitcheson to Buffalo.

All-state netters

Three Alle-Kiski area players were named to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association All-State Volleyball Team. Freeport outside hitters Alexis Schrecengost, a senior, and sophomore Zoe Pawlak were selected, as was Knoch senior middle hitter Celina Sanks, who is an Eastern Kentucky recruit.

Football Italiano

Former Leechburg football coach Ed Jenkins, now the coach at Charleroi, is putting together a unique opportunity for a yet-to-be-assembled group of players.

A Highlands grad, Jenkins coached semi-professional football in Italy in the early 2000s. Now, he wants to take a 30-man team back there in 2015 to play Italy's Under-19 national team.

Jenkins is looking for players who will be seniors in 2015 and have used all of their high school eligibility.

Jenkins said fundraising, sponsorships and donations will help fund the trip.

Although plenty of details remain to be ironed out, Jenkins is entertaining questions from potential team members. He can be reached at 724-351-0069.

Seneca out

Plum basketball player Jordan Seneca is out six- to nine weeks with a broken right wrist. The injury occurred when the senior guard fell early in the game against Kiski Area on Dec. 9. Seneca showed resolve, playing the remainder of that game and the next four before tests showed the fracture.

A St. Francis (Pa.) softball recruit, she had been averaging 9.1 points for the Lady Mustangs.

Varsity only

Springdale's girls basketball program is struggling with participation. Low numbers have prompted the team to cancel its junior varsity season, moving all varsity home games to 6 p.m.

Myers drawing attention

Burrell girls basketball player Natalie Myers is just a sophomore, but a few Division I college coaches already have inquired about her game. Bucknell, Old Dominion and Youngstown State are among them.

Pitt has made a strong push for more WPIAL talent with the hiring of Suzie McConnell-Serio, so the Panthers might take a look at Myers, too.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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