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Mon-Valley athletes still making their mark

| Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

Two local players emerged as Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania's top two receivers this past season.

Devin Goda, a 6-foot-4-inch, 185-pound sophomore from Monongahela, and Elizabeth-Forward High School, has a team-high 31 catches for 466 yards and three touchdowns. He was one of seven Slippery Rock players to receive all-conference honors and Goda was named to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division's second-team, all-star unit. He also received a conference scholar-athlete award.

To be eligible for the scholar-athlete award, student-athletes must attain at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average while competing in an intercollegiate varsity sport.

Jermale Cromerdie, a 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound junior from McKeesport High School, had 25 catches for 441 yards and a touchdown.

The receiving pair helped Slippery Rock average 25.2 points per game last fall with a 6-5 overall record and 3-4 divisional record.

Schartner Contributes at NJIT

While the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders try to make an impact in their inaugural season in the NCAA Division I Great West conference, Ringgold High School graduate Emily Schartner is making a noteworthy contribution.

Through 18 games, Schartner is averaging nine minutes per game primarily coming off the bench. She has scored 25 points with 17 rebounds, nine steals, 10 assists and four blocks.

"Emily is doing some good things and making things happen on the floor when she's called on," said New Jersey Institute of Technology third-year head coach Margaret McKeon.

Schartner has started four games this season. In a road loss at Marquette on Dec. 3, Schartner played a season-high 18 minutes and scored four points with three rebounds. She scored seven points with three assists and two rebounds in a 13-point loss at Houston Baptist on Jan. 16.

A 5-foot-10-inch guard from Finleyville, Schartner starred in both basketball and soccer in high school.

She has played in a number of AAU tournaments since 2001 with the Pittsburgh Rockers/Western PA Bruins and PA Swoosh. Schartner is the first Ringgold basketball player to play for an NCAA Division I school.

NJIT is 7-11 overall with a 2-1 conference mark. The Highlanders continue their season by traveling to Savannah State University this Saturday at noon.

Cotton call

New Eagle native and Ringgold High School graduate Joe Montana continues to receive football honors 16 years after the conclusion of his remarkable playing career.

The 2000 Pro Football and Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame inductee will be one of five individuals inducted in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame on April 14 during enshrinement ceremonies at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Before his 16-year professional career, that included 14 years with the San Francisco 49ers, Montana starred at the University of Notre Dame.

He helped the Fighting Irish win consecutive Cotton Bowls as well as the national championship in 1977. In his final collegiate game, the 1979 Cotton Bowl, Montana rallied the Fighting Irish from a 34-12 deficit in the game's final eight minutes to a 35-34 victory.

He capped the 1977 national championship by guiding Notre Dame to a 38-10 victory over previously unbeaten Texas in the 1978 Cotton Bowl.

Notre Dame teammate and receiver Kris Haines will join Montana in the Cotton Bowl's 2010 induction class. Other inductees include former Pitt, Texas A&M and Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, Texas wingback Phil Harris and Wilbur Evans, the Cotton Bowl's first executive director.

"He's still the standard that everyone's being compared to," said Jeff Petrucci, who coached Montana at Ringgold and was a two-time NAIA All-American small college quarterback. "When Joe finished his career at Kansas City, he was playing as good as anybody, which some of other great ones did not do. No one could know that he would go on to be arguably the best quarterback ever, but you could easily see he was special."

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