A-K Valley notebook: PSAC football gets shot of local flavor
Some of the Alle-Kiski Valley’s top football players will square off on a weekly basis next season in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Signing Day on Wednesday had a heavy PSAC tilt, as six local players — Deer Lakes’ Colin Kadlick (Slippery Rock), Highlands’ Seth Cohen (Clarion), Kiski Area’s Jack Colecchi (Cal, Pa.) and Drew Dinunzio-Biss (IUP), Leechburg’s Tanner Dudek (Cal, Pa.) and Valley’s Deonte Ross (Gannon) — signed with PSAC schools.
Given all five of those colleges reside not only in the same conference but the same division, that will make for plenty of on-field battles in the fall.
“It feels great to play against some of the guys again because you don’t feel like you’re alone and the energy and feeling is more hyped,” said Ross, a 1,500-yard rusher as a senior at Valley.
Cohen, Colecchi and Dinunzio-Biss announced their commitments in late January. Dudek, Kadlick and Ross made decisions last week, on the eve of Signing Day.
Slippery Rock offered Kadlick on Monday, and he committed later that day.
“My decision to attend Slippery Rock next year was a dream come true, not only because of the great school or the football program,” said Kadlick, who is recruited as a tight end. “It was because I made a promise to my mom that she will see me play college football, and this is the best way for her to see me play. Everything about Slippery Rock helped me make my decision. The coaching staff welcomed me with open arms when I was still in need of a home.”
Dudek, a standout kicker/punter at Leechburg, committed to Cal (Pa.) on Tuesday as a preferred walk-on.
“There was a lot of pressure in choosing the right school and what would make me feel like at home,” Dudek said. “Cal had all of these, and I am very excited for my future there. Also, their coaches were extremely excited to talk to me and their focus is on winning and the future, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Their campus and sport facilities are shocking in a good way. I am looking forward to my college future at Cal.”
• Freeport senior linebacker/running back Conor Selinger signed Friday with Lake Erie College. Despite suffering an ankle injury that limited him in Freeport’s first two games of the season, Selinger still led the Yellowjackets with 75 tackles, including five for loss, a sack and two interceptions. Offensively, he rushed for 716 yards and 12 touchdowns. He totaled more than 200 tackles and rushed for 24 touchdowns in his career.
• Shady Side Academy’s Alex Bellinotti, a Lower Burrell native, committed to play football at Washington & Jefferson. The standout linebacker had 151 tackles, 12 sacks and seven forced fumbles last season, his first at Shady Side Academy and also scored six touchdowns on offense. He was an all-conference performer at linebacker and tight end during his sophomore and junior years at Burrell.
• Plum senior Hunter Linhart committed to Westminster for football and track and field. Linhart started 10 games at quarterback for Plum as a senior, passing for 1,068 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished fourth in discus at the WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships as a junior, qualifying for the PIAA championships, where he placed 10th.
The Alle-Kiski Valley will send 17 basketball teams to the WPIAL playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Friday.
Boys team qualifiers include Fox Chapel in Class 6A, Highlands, Knoch and Freeport in 4A, Deer Lakes and Valley in 3A, Springdale in 2A and St. Joseph and Leechburg in A.
Girls team qualifiers include Fox Chapel in 6A, Plum in 5A, Freeport, Apollo-Ridge and Knoch in 4A, Deer Lakes in 3A, Riverview in 2A and Leechburg in A.
The WPIAL will reveal first-round matchups, dates and times at its annual pairings meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Green Tree.
Isaac Greeley put together quite a resume as a Pitt-Johnstown wrestler, twice becoming an All-American and also helping the Mountain Cats win a pair of NCAA Division II championships.
He now can add “Hall of Famer” to that list of accomplishments, as Pitt-Johnstown last week revealed Greeley, a longtime Burrell wrestling assistant, as part of its 2019 athletic Hall of Fame class.
“It’s a reminder of getting old, I guess,” Greeley joked. “But it feels good because that was a big part of my life, my years at UPJ. It’s more of an honor than anything. If there was anything I’d want to be honored for, it’s that.”
Greeley wrestled at Pitt-Johnstown from 1994-99, helping the Mountain Cats win NCAA titles in ‘96 and ‘99. He finished second nationally as a junior, becoming an All-American for the first time, and third as a senior. He also claimed three NCAA East Regional championships, won 106 career matches, which ranks 19th all-time in school history, and held an .822 winning percentage, which ranks 11th.
Greeley joined Burrell’s coaching staff in 2004 and has been with the Bucs for their 13 consecutive WPIAL Class AA championships. He also co-founded The Mat Factory, a Lower Burrell training facility for wrestlers, mixed-martial artists and other combat disciplines, with fellow Burrell coach Chris Como.
Also a member of the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling and District 9 Wrestling halls of fame, Greeley credited others, especially legendary Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora, for his success.
“Wrestling is an individual sport, but there’s so many people that come into play for your success,” Greeley said. “Your parents and your coaches and your teammates. Really, your successes get directed by the people around you. Obviously, coaching is very important, and I was blessed to have exceptional coaching. The best thing about that was I was taught not just how to wrestle, I was taught how to live like a man.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.