High school notebook: Showcase gives platform to Westmoreland football players
College coaches will get a close-up look at some of the under-the-radar football players that Westmoreland County has to offer with the return of the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Underclassmen Showcase.
The event begins at 9 a.m. on May 17 at Hempfield High School.
The second-year showcase, for the county's sophomores and juniors, will test players in the 40-yard dash, shuttle runs and vertical jumps, as well as through weightlifting sessions — all under the watchful eye of college coaches. Last year, 32 coaches from FCS to Division III levels were in attendance.
Players also will break into groups for individual position work — skill, linemen and kickers/punters. And former IUP star Jai Hill, now with the National Collegiate Scouting Association, will speak to players and their parents about the recruiting process.
“The event enhances Westmoreland County football by highlighting all of our athletes who might not otherwise get exposure due to districts or conferences that they play in,” WCCA president Larry Sellitto said. “Athletes who might not be Division I or I-AA caliber or just on the cusp as well as Division II and III get the opportunity to perform and enhance their opportunities to play at the next level.”
Sellitto said the showcase is hoping to increase participation for kickers and punters. Last year, Kiski Area standout Adam Mitcheson participated, a stop along the recruiting path that eventually led him to the University of Buffalo.
The WCCA hopes to involve more players from the three Alle-Kiski schools that reside in Westmoreland County: Burrell, Kiski Area and Valley.
“Along with the athletes, their particular schools get recognition through the recruiting process, which is good for the county in general,” Sellitto said. The WCCA has numbers to back up the showcase's benefits. Sellitto said of the 52 seniors who participated last year, 43 committed to play college football.
The event costs $50 per player, with proceeds going toward scholarships for student-athletes from the county. Interested players should call 412-491-1212 to register.
Krajca to reapply
Kevin Krajca said he plans to reapply for the Riverview boys basketball job, which was opened last week.
Krajca has been the Raiders' head coach for 12 seasons but the district apparently wants to gauge interest from other candidates. That doesn't mean Krajca is done coaching the team; the board could vote to retain him, which had become a formality for more than a decade.
Riverview will drop to Class A in boys basketball, the only sport at the school that has been a mainstay in Class AA.
“Moving to Class A is very exciting for the program,” Krajca said. “It's been a challenge to compete in double-A from the start.”
The Raiders have made the playoffs three of the past eight years under Krajca.
Fox Chapel junior softball shortstop Megan Walkowski committed to play at Florida State College of Jacksonville, a junior college. Walkowki said the plan is to start out at FSCJ and transfer with the hopes of getting recruited by a larger program. She plays for the 18-under Pittsburgh Power travel team.