Meadville Tribune

December 31, 2013

Best of the best: Top sports stories of 2013

Meadville Tribune
Meadville Tribune

— The Meadville Tribune presents the top sports stories of 2013. From individual triumphs to team championships, the area had its share of memorable moments in 2013. The following is a list of the 10 best moments of the year.

10. Titusville golf team

wins first D-10 medal

The Titusville boys golf team made school history on Oct. 5, as the team of Eric Maginnis, Matt McCord, Seth Mehlenbacher and Taite Foley combined to shoot a team score of 335, 18 strokes better than the competition, to win the District 10 Class AA team title. Zack Richards totaled a 93 for the Rockets as the team’s fifth golfer.

The Country Club of Meadville played host to Titusville’s unforgettable day, with Maginnis leading the charge by shooting a 3-over-par 75. The Rockets’ No. 1 golfer, McCord, turned in an 81, with Mehlenbacher’s 88 and Foley’s 91 rounding out the winning score.

For Maginnis, it was the first time the sophomore broke 80 on a course, choosing a great time to come though with his best round of his career.

The Rockets went on to defeat Ridgway in a PIAA sub-regional battle at Treasure Lake in DuBois. That victory advanced the Rockets to their first-ever state championship tournament. There, at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, the team finished as the No. 5 team in Pennsylvania.

9. Lakeview/West Middlesex go five OTs in D-10 title classic

It was 52 minutes of back-and-forth action between the Lakeview and West Middlesex boys basketball teams on March 1. And the Big Reds needed all 52 minutes to pull off a 71-65 win in five overtimes to claim the District 10 Class AA title.

West Middlesex ran the clock down at the end of regulation with the game tied at 48 but failed to connect on a final shot. The same scenario took place in the first overtime, with a similar outcome, as the Big Reds let the game clock run down but couldn’t connect on a game-winner.

In the third overtime, West Middlesex led by three (59-56) with time running out, but Lakeview’s Casey Greggs knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game once again. In the fourth overtime, the Big Reds held for the final shot for a third time, and once again the Lakeview

defense held.

West Middlesex finally caught a break in the final overtime, as Greggs fouled out, making him the third Sailor starter to leave the game. That allowed the Big Reds to hold on for the championship.

8. Bobby Over wins third Mideast Region title  

Allegheny senior Bobby Over claimed his third-straight Mideast Regional individual cross county title in November, and a week later placed ninth overall at the NCAA Division III Championships.

Over’s Mideast Regional championship came thanks to a blistering time of 24:29 on the 8K course at Lehigh University. Over paced the Gators to a fourth-place finish as a team.

Following Over’s victory at the Mideast Regional, the senior was honored with his third-straight North Coast Athletic Conference Regional Runner of the Year award, capping off a stellar career for the Gators.

7. Legendary basketball coaches retire

A pair of legendary coaches stepped down from the game they love in 2013, as former Meadville head coach Norm Price and former General McLane head coach Andy Schulz retired.

Price left the Meadville basketball program posting a 413-211 record during his 24-year career. Price took over the Bulldogs in 1979 and coached until the end of the 1993-94 season before retiring initially. Then in 2004, Price took over the position once again, and finally stepped down for good earlier this year.

During his run, Price had just four seasons where the Bulldogs finished below .500.

The Bulldogs are now coached by Mark McElhinny.

Schulz had been a staple of the General McLane basketball program, coaching the Lancers for 29 seasons before hanging it up at the end of the 2012-13 season. During that time, Schulz became the winningest boys basketball coach in the history of District 10, racking up a record of 600-179.

His career also included 17 conference titles, eight district championships and a Class AAA state championship in 2006-07.

The Lancers are now helmed by his son, Brian Schulz.

6. Allegheny women’s soccer wins title

The Allegheny women’s soccer team made Nov. 9 a date to remember, as the Lady Gators captured their first North Coast Athletic Conference championship in program history with a 2-0 home victory over Wittenberg University.

The Allegheny defense shut down opponents all season long, and the NCAC title game was not an exception, holding Wittenberg to two shots the entire contest. Olivia Cushman and Jessie Thiessen both scored first-half goals to give the Gators all the offense they needed.

The victory secured Allegheny an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III National Tournament, where it would face Thomas More College. The Gators lost to the Saints 2-1.

Allegheny finished the season with an 11-6-1 record.

5. Allegheny softball’s deep postseason run

The Allegheny softball team entered the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, and proceeded to knock off top-seeded DePauw University on May 3 8-0 before defeating Wittenberg University 3-2 one day later to clinch the fourth tournament championship in program history.

With an already accomplished season behind them, the Lady Gators turned their attention to the NCAA Division III tournament, where another impressive streak of wins began. Allegheny traveled to Angola, Ind., for the NCAA Regionals, defeating No. 3 seed John Carroll University and No. 2 seed Capital.

In the NCAA Division III Angola Regional Championship Final, Anderson University finally got the best of the Lady Gators, beating Allegheny 5-1 to end the postseason run.

Four Lady Gators were named to the NCAA Angola Regional All-Tournament team, as Nicole Rodi, Halea Hayden, Caitlin Nealer and Sadie Stuart earned the honors.

4. Saegertown sweeps spring D-10 titles

It doesn’t get much better than what Saegertown Junior-Senior High School pulled off in the spring of 2013. Not one, not two, but three district championships were claimed by the Panthers in baseball, softball and boys volleyball.

Over a four-day span from May 24 to 27, Saegertown pulled off the hat trick, with the boys volleyball team kicking things off on May 24 by handing Meadville its first dual match loss of the season with a 25-12, 18-25, 25-20, 26-24 victory at Meadville’s House of Thrills in the title game. The victory capped an impressive tournament run for the Panthers that ended with their fourth title in seven years.

Just three days later, the Saegertown baseball and softball teams got in on the act. The softball team, led by starting pitcher Arianna Hanley, defeated Iroquois 5-0 to win the Class A title. Hanley tossed seven scoreless innings and drove in two runs to lead the Lady Panthers to their second-straight D-10 title.

Hours later, it was the boys’ turn as the Saegertown baseball team won its third-straight D-10 championship with a dominating 10-3 win over Sharpsville. Starting pitcher Matt Thompson earned the win with five shutout innings. Tyler Walters provided instant offense in the first inning, belting a homer to left field with two runners on to push the Panthers out to a 3-0 lead.

3. Breese/Brown bookend state wrestling titles

Though on opposite ends of the wrestling weight spectrum, Saegertown’s 106-pounder Devin Brown and Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese both proved to be the best in the state on March 9, traveling to Hershey and each winning a state title.

Brown needed overtime to knock off Bethlehem Catholic’s Luke Karam, while Breese scored a last-second takedown in the third period to earn a 3-1 decision over Port Allegany’s Nicholas Budd. Brown became the third Panther to win a state title, while Breese was Lakeview’s second PIAA champion.

During Brown’s win, a tight bout went into overtime, where Brown wasted no time shooting on Karam, securing a grip on the right leg and forcing a takedown to end the match at 6:12. Brown then got up and did a celebratory back flip.

Breese took his match to the wire as well, as an official injury timeout with 25 seconds remaining in the third period made for an exciting end to the 1-1 bout. As the match resumed, Breese proved he was up for the challenge, scoring the takedown and winning the state title.

2. Reddick rewrites the record books

Lakeview senior Blake Reddick pieced together not only one of the most impressive seasons by a running back in state history, but polished off a career that puts the 6-foot-1 tailback in the discussion as one of the best players to compete in District 10.

In 2013, Reddick rushed for 2,974 yards, which were the most in all of Pennsylvania, and set a new yardage record for all of District 10. The senior punched it in the end zone 33 times on 263 carries.

His huge senior season was his second 2,000-yard season in a row, and third-straight season with 1,000 or more yards.

Reddick’s phenomenal play helped Lakeview claim its program’s first-ever district title in November, knocking off two-time defending champion Sharpsville. During the 2013 season, Reddick had games of 391 yards, 306 yards, 269 yards, 262 yards, 248 yards and 206 yards.

1. Crawford County shines at state cross country

Crawford County represented itself about as well as a county could on Nov. 2 at the PIAA Cross Country Championships in Hershey. From standout individual performances to a team championship, there were plenty of smiles to go around across the county.

As a team, the Saegertown boys cross country team its their first-ever Class A state championship. The Panthers were paced by Morgan Schenberg’s time of 17:01, good enough for 14th overall. Brendon Barclay was 18th overall at 17:05, sophomore and first-year runner Brad Amy finished 25th at 17:16, Matt Schenberg clocked in at 17:35 for the 37th place, and Wyatt Fleischer rounded out Saegertown’s top five with a run of 17:42, the 48th-best time of the day. Garrett Johnston (18:38, 112th) and Chris Guy (20:15, 196th) also contributed to the Panthers’ memorable day.

Maplewood’s Jeremy Parsons finished second overall with a time of 16:33, a result that put him among the best finishes for a Crawford County runner in more than four decades.

Jake Parsons, Jeremy’s brother, ran a spectacular race for Maplewood as well, finishing sixth overall with a time of 16:47, and teammate Hanz Wentz finished in 19th place.

Cochranton’s Seth Spykstra finished in 56th place with his time of 17:52, with teammate Nathan Kline clocking in at 18:03, good for 77th place.

In Class AA, Meadville had a pair of runners in Kyle Rose and Matt Svetz compete, with Rose turning in the better time of 17:48, which placed him 77th overall. Svetz ran a time of 18:11, finishing in 114th position.

Conneaut’s first-ever state qualifier Christian Ladabu placed 157th overall with a time of 18:39.

On the girls side, Cambridge Springs’ Reilly Walsh placed 11th overall in the Class A race with a time of 20:02. Walsh’s teammate Olivia Mamula secured a top-30 finish, clocking in at 20:42, which put her 29th overall.