High school notebook: Latrobe soccer challenges rest of WPIAL

| Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, 3:18 p.m.

What started as a team bonding exercise has developed into much more for the Latrobe boys soccer team.

First-year coach Tom Kennedy asked his players to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise awareness for ALS.

On Saturday, after a 3-2 scrimmage win over Greensburg Central Catholic, the Wildcats did just that, and, in the process made the same challenge to every boys soccer team in the WPIAL.

“We gave them the month of September to answer our challenge,” Kennedy said.

Each of the Latrobe players and coaches will donate $10 to help raise awareness of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that also is referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Across the nation, celebrities and organizations have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge and donated nearly $16 million to the ALS Association.

Participants shoot video of themselves being drenched with ice water and then post the video online.

“I'm trying to build some team togetherness with these guys,” Kennedy said. “I said, ‘Guys, we're going to do this. It's for a good cause. I'll even stand there and get wet with you.' ”

More than 30 players joined Kennedy under the bleachers at Latrobe High School's new turf field while parents doused them with ice water.

As for the rest of the WPIAL soccer teams, Kennedy said if they choose not to take part in the challenge, the unwritten rule is that they should make a donation of $100 to the ALS Association.

“Here's an opportunity to do something good and do some team bonding,” said Kennedy, who won three WPIAL titles at Greensburg Central Catholic over an 18-year span.

“Maybe what we did will spark others to do the same thing.”

Latrobe, which went 3-12 last season but returns eight starters, plans to donate $370 to the organization.

Basketball playoff change

The WPIAL Board of Control voted Monday to change the way it determines some seeds for state basketball qualifiers. Rather than the “follow the leader” system used exclusively in the past, “playback” games will decide seeds lower than fourth.

For example, if five teams qualify, the first four seeds will be determined as before. But now, the four quarterfinal losers will play consolation games to determine seed No. 5. In previous years, the quarterfinalist that lost to the eventual champion would be pulled into states as the fifth seed.

Norwin hires All-American

Norwin hired two-time NCAA All-American Bill Closson as its wrestling coach Monday.

“I'm excited to get back into the sport again,” said Closson, a teacher in the district. “I'm looking forward to it.”

Closson, who finished fourth in the NCAA at 275 pounds in 1998 and eighth in 1997, was a PIAA and WPIAL Class AAA champion in 1993 at Plum.

His college record at Lehigh was 104-37. He was 117-21 at Plum. Closson replaces Todd Schuchert.

Montecalvo retires

Canon-McMillan athletic director Guy Montecalvo, who last year was named the region's athletic administrator of the year by the Eastern Interscholastic Football Officials Association, will retire at the end of the month. Montecalvo, 58, has been AD at Canon-Mac since 2003.


• Quaker Valley senior wide receiver/defensive back Chris Conlan made a verbal commitment to William & Mary, choosing the Tribe over Richmond.

• Blairsville senior wrestler Andrew Doak has committed to American University. Doak, a three-time PIAA Class AA medalist with a career record of 116-18, will compete for fourth-year coach Teague Moore, a former North Allegheny standout.

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