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Shaler’s Holtz has ties to Alle-Kiski Valley |

Shaler’s Holtz has ties to Alle-Kiski Valley

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:00 a.m

J.P. Holtz in a Deer Lakes football uniform?

It’s enough to make a Lancers’ fan jump through the goal post.

It almost happened.

Holtz, the standout from Shaler who signed to play at Pitt, was in the Deer Lakes School District until the sixth grade before transferring for family reasons.

Holtz (6-foot-4, 200), who was recruited as a tight end but played anything from quarterback, to running back, to linebacker, at Shaler, played his youth football in West Deer.

“I remember growing up in my neighborhood,” Holtz said, “and always playing pick-up games in all the sports.”

Holtz also has been a solid forward in basketball. He’s helped No. 1 seed Shaler (21-2) advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals in Class AAAA. The Titans will play Plum (16-7) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at North Allegheny.

Holtz had 10 points and 11 rebounds in a come-from-behind win over McKeesport in the first round.

Cager set

The 16th annual Cager Classic basketball all-star games will be March 24 at Highlands.

Coaches have been announced.

For the first time, organizers have named coaches from the same schools for both games.

St. Joseph’s Kelly Robinson (boys) and Dan Slain (girls) will coach the East teams, while Apollo-Ridge’s Matt Gourley (boys) and Desiree Syster (girls) will coach the West.

The girls game is set for 6 p.m. The boys game is at 8.

It will be Robinson’s third appearance in the Cager, which is now in its 16th season. He also coached in 2001 and ’05.

Highlands’ Micah Mason said he will play in the Cager. Nobody is betting against him in the event’s 3-point contest. Mason has the WPIAL career record for 3s with 346.

Mason, who was plagued by “junk” defenses all season, tweeted this week: “If I get 1-3 chased in an all-star game I quit basketball.”

Lutz to Shippensburg

Plum senior C.J. Lutz, one of the most productive wide receivers in the WPIAL the past two seasons, has committed to continue his career at Shippensburg University.

Lutz, an over-the-middle threat who had an Alle-Kiski best 41 receptions last season, had some initial interest from Buffalo and Robert Morris. Buffalo stopped contacting him, and Robert Morris told him it was focusing more on defense with its recruits.

Lycoming, St. Vincent, Bethany, Abright and Waynesburg also recruited him.

Indoor track finals

Two girls, two boys and a relay team will represent the A-K Valley today in the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Indoor Championships at Penn State.

Burrell sophomore Kami Kaczanowicz and Springdale senior Kim Watterson, a Syracuse recruit, both qualified in the 200-meter run.

Kaczanowicz also qualified in the 60-meter dash.

On the boys side, Fox Chapel has two qualifiers: Ethan Martin (3,000-meter run) and Connor Whelan (1-mile run).

And the Kiski Area distance team of Richard Lednak, Patrick Miller, Tyler Snider and Brent Kennedy also qualified. That race consists of a 1,200-, 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter sections.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review local sports editor. You can contact Bill at 724-224-2696, or via Twitter .

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