High school notebook: Wrestler ruled ineligible; injury to sideline Quaker Valley's Jackson

| Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, 5:36 p.m.

Southmoreland wrestler Austin Griffiths, a three-time state qualifier, could miss his senior season.

After reviewing paperwork submitted by Southmoreland, the WPIAL Board of Control found Griffiths ineligible last week under rules that limit eligibility to four consecutive years beyond the eighth grade. A WPIAL appeals hearing could come next week to discuss the board's decision.

The 113-pounder was fifth in the state in 2013 and third in 2012. He won the Class AA Southwest Regional last winter but didn't place at states.

“We were disappointed,” Southmoreland athletic director Charlie Swink said. “Hopefully, we don't lose him because he's an excellent wrestler. We were looking for big things out of him this year.”

The eligibility issue involves the 2010-11 school year, said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley, which Griffiths split between an online charter school and Geibel. According to paperwork, Griffiths left Southmoreland after his eighth-grade year and enrolled at the online school as a ninth grader but later reclassified as an eighth grader at Geibel, O'Malley said.

The ninth-grade designation started a four-year eligibility clock that expired after last school year. Griffiths didn't wrestle during the repeated school year and meets age requirements, Swink said.

Southmoreland administrators noticed the issue while reviewing Griffiths' transcripts and alerted the WPIAL. Under Article 8, the PIAA bylaws allow waivers only for illness, injury or personal hardship.

• In other news, the WPIAL rearranged its postseason track schedule for next spring. The team championship and the individual qualifier will change dates with the team final now on a Monday (May 4), and the individual qualifier on a Thursday (May 7).

QV's Jackson injured

Quaker Valley's Dane Jackson, a Pitt recruit, will miss at least the first five weeks of the football season after suffering a torn meniscus during practice last Wednesday, Jackson and Quaker Valley coach John Tortorea confirmed Monday.

“My mindset now is to get better and keep working,” Jackson said. “I know I suffered a loss, but I'll just keep working to get better. I need to make sure I'm 100 percent before I get back on the field.”

The 6-foot-2 senior, who was slated to start at quarterback and defensive back for the Quakers, was recruited by Pitt as a cornerback.

While there was concern the injury was a torn ACL, an MRI over the weekend showed that there was no ligament damage and the injury should not have long-term effects.

“The best news of everything is that it's not a career-threatening injury,” Tortorea said. “The kid can go and play college football and hopefully have a great career at Pitt.”

Jackson hopes to return before the end of the season, but will be re-evaluated after the Quakers' Sept. 26 matchup with Steel Valley.

Honoring Noah

Before the Jeannette football team took the field last Friday for its scrimmage against Burrell, coach Roy Hall and his staff handed out helmet stickers.

These stickers weren't an award for a big hit at practice. The No. 70 Noah sticker worn by the Jeannette players were to honor Burrell sophomore Noah Cornuet, who died during a conditioning workout Aug. 6. Cornuet died from a heart tumor.

“It was all Roy. He basically talked about doing something nice for the kid,” Jeannette athletic director Matt Lebe said. “I backed him and it showed how classy Roy and the Jeannette community are.”

The teams lined up together before the scrimmage, and Jeannette principal Patricia Rozycki called for a moment of silence.

The entire event moved Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt, his staff and players. They thanked Hall and Jeannette for the kind gesture.

Burrell will wear its own “NC” decals in its season opener Friday at Valley.

Peters golfers start hot

Peters Township boys golf is off to a great start, winning four tournaments this season, including the Tri-County Athletic Director Association's event and the Central Dauphin Invitational for the second consecutive season Saturday.

Peters Township White finished with 295 points. Hempfield was third with a 303. Peters Township Red tied for sixth with 312. Alex Stopperich and Jake Sollon led the White team at 1-under par 71 at the Dauphin Highlands Golf Course near Steelton.

Chris Harlan, Gary Horvath and Paul Schofield are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach them at charlan@tribweb.com, ghorvath@tribweb.com and pschofield@tribweb.com.

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