Elderton closing could alter paths of other ASD teams
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As the Armstrong School District moves forward into an Elderton-less future, it can look to its recent past to get a sense of how the remaining athletic programs, specifically those at West Shamokin, might benefit.
Enhanced by many of Elderton's athletes during the 2009-10 school year, West Shamokin's girls basketball and volleyball teams excelled at unprecedented levels. There's early optimism that the same is possible this time.
“I believe that one of my strengths as a coach is the ability to bring people together,” new girls basketball coach Judd McCullough said. “They're coexisting in a fantastic way. They see the team's potential.”
McCullough stepped down as West Shamokin's golf coach to take the basketball job in May, and he has inherited a program that's been in a topsy-turvy state for the past several seasons.
In 2009-10, under first-year coach Kirk Lorigan, West Shamokin enjoyed its first winning season — the Wolves went 12-9 — and its first playoff win, a 48-32 victory over Riverview in the Class AA preliminary round.
During the offseason that followed, Lorigan resigned and became West Shamokin's principal. Two seniors graduated. And the team's top two scorers returned to Elderton, which reopened in 2010.
Under coach Fred Skrocki, West Shamokin won just four games combined during the next two seasons.
Enter McCullough, who started open gyms the same month he was approved as coach and has held about 25 optional practices thus far.
The presence of Elderton players has been limited, said McCullough, who has extended invitations to the former Bobcats.
“There is so much that's yet to be seen,” McCullough said. “I'm trying to be as patient as possible and not be pushy, and also be as welcoming as possible.”
One Elderton girl is already a fixture at West Shamokin practices, however. Incoming senior Jill Glover, the leading scorer at Elderton the past two seasons and at West Shamokin in her freshman year, has attended “religiously,” according to McCullough.
A 6-foot-1 combo guard, Glover is a fine addition to a West Shamokin lineup that lost just two seniors to graduation.
Glover also gives West Shamokin's girls volleyball team a bump, one that might help the Wolves contend for another WPIAL title.
The 2009 West Shamokin team claimed the Class A championship. During the next two seasons, the Wolves qualified for the Class AA playoffs but lost their first match.
Elderton's girls re-enter the picture just one season removed from winning the Class A title.
“Bringing these programs together means bringing a consistent thought process that volleyball equals success,” coach Justin Nolder said. “Is there pressure (to win another title)? No, not really. … It's a new season. This isn't the team from 2009.”
While West Shamokin will get one of Elderton's better multi-sport stars, Ford City will receive another. In addition to playing on the boys soccer team, junior Bethany Meyer was a starting guard in basketball and a standout shortstop in softball.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1321.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Consumer, core prices inch up
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Karns City soccer teams advance
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Leader Times Q&A: Redbank Valley’s Wyatt Hetrick
- Central Valley girls win 3rd straight PIAA golf title
- The Leader eager for Kittanning finale
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- Roundup: EPA says mileage inflated on 4 Mini Cooper models; Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes; more