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Westmoreland high school notebook: Southmoreland’s Miller headed to RMU

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Pipe dreams can come true. Just look at the Southmoreland softball program.

The once-struggling Scotties won a WPIAL championship last spring. For decades, getting players to the Division I college level seemed nearly as improbable. But things sure have changed in Alverton.

You just need Faith.

Junior Faith Miller, a second baseman who will be one of the team’s top returning hitters when the final snow thaws, gave a verbal commitment this week to Robert Morris.

“RMU has always been somewhere I wanted to go; I have had many relatives that have graduated from there,” Miller said. “I also love how close it is from home and how beautiful the campus is. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

Miller, who also considered Ohio University, hit .406 with 22 runs and 19 RBIs. She had six doubles and a home run.

“She is a Division I athlete due to her incredible work ethic, her never-give-up attitude and her ability to hit the softball,” Southmoreland coach Todd Bunner said.

Bunner’s daughter, Briana, was the last Southmoreland softball player to go Division I. She also plays at Robert Morris, where she is a sophomore outfielder.

Todd Bunner and his staff also coached Greensburg Central Catholic transfer Anne Marie Gatti for one season before she went on to play at Syracuse. The Bunners, and players like Miller, have helped the program make its slow ascent to championship contention.

Once a bystander come WPIAL playoff time, the Scotties have been grown into a competitive team, reaching the playoffs four straight times under Bunner, who came on board in 2013. They made the semifinals in three of those trips before the breakthrough last season. The Scotties won the Class 3A title in their first finals appearance.

They also qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time.

Soccer honors

A number of soccer players from Westmoreland County garnered postseason accolades. The Franklin Regional boys, who won their first WPIAL championship, had the lion’s share with an all-state selection in senior forward Auston Kranick and All-WPIAL Class 3A picks in Kranick, senior midfielder Justin LeDonne, senior goalkeeper Jeremy Lucas, junior midfielder Connor Hudson and freshman forward Anthony DiFalco.

Franklin Regional’s Rand Hudson was the WPIAL Class 3A Coach of the Year.

Norwin senior forward Carter Breen was named WPIAL Class 4A co-player of the year, sharing the honor with Butler’s Tate Mohney. Breen also made All-WPIAL, with teammates Zach Ullum and Jake Nebinski, as did Penn-Trafford senior midfielder Noah Schlessinger.

Belle Vernon senior forward Markello Apodiakos and senior defender Hunter Martin also were All-WPIAL picks in Class 3A, while Mt. Pleasant senior forward Brad Tait and senior midfielder Sam Napper made All-WPIAL in Class 2A.

Four local players made the All-WPIAL Class A team: Greensburg Central Catholic seniors Luke Mort and Sean Gargan, and junior Nate Ward, along with Monessen junior forward Cam Frolo.

On the girls side, Penn-Trafford senior midfielder Kiley Dugan was an all-state selection.

Greensburg Central Catholic, in the meantime, had four players named to the All-WPIAL Class A team: sophomore midfielder Brenna Springer, freshman midfielder Tatum Gretz, senior midfielder Sara Orndoff and senior goalkeeper Bella Skatell.

Local Class 4A All-WPIAL picks included Norwin senior forward Lexi Gray, junior defender Eva Frankovic and senior defender Maddy Genicola; and Penn-Trafford senior midfielders Jordan Lawrence and Kiley Dugan, and junior midfielder Sarah Nguyen.

Sophomore midfielders Brooke Ulery and Mackenzie Leeder of Mt. Pleasant made the Class 3A All-WPIAL team, while Yough juniors Justine and Gianna Appolonia, a forward and midfielder, respectively, made the All-WPIAL Class 2A team.

Jubert places

Norwin sophomore Alex Jubert is ready to run again. The proof is in his latest results.

Jubert, who missed this entire WPIAL season with a stress fracture, finished 14th in the freshmen-sophomore race at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Cross Country meet last weekend in New York City.

He finished 21st in the race last year.

MP softball search

Mt. Pleasant planned to interview candidates this week for its softball head coaching vacancy.

Lauren (Shaheen) Armanious resigned in October after five seasons.

Mt. Pleasant has abundance of talent coming back from its WPIAL and PIAA semifinal team.

Armanious led the Vikings to a WPIAL Class 3A title in 2016 and a PIAA Class 4A championship in 2017.

Henderson opens season

Basketball player Lyndon Henderson, who transferred from Monessen in the offseason, had 16 points for Arbor Prep (Mich.) in a 78-57, season-opening loss to Ann Arbor. Henderson, a junior guard, had a 55-point game last season.

His first game was part of the Ypsi Tipoff Classic and was played at Eastern Michigan University, where Henderson’s brother, Elijah Minnie, is a redshirt senior forward for the Eagles basketball team.

Henderson moved to Michigan to live with Minnie.

Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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