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Quaker Valley boys tennis, girls track teams celebrate WPIAL daily double

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Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 9:01 AM


It’s being acclaimed as “Championship Wednesday” at Quaker Valley.

Two teams at QV reeled in WPIAL championships on Wednesday, May 11, and did so in impressive fashion.

The girls track and field squad won its first WPIAL title since 2007, defeating Greensburg Central Catholic, 83-67, Riverside, 85-65, and Shenango, 89-61, at the Class 2A finals at Peters Township.

The boys tennis team, seeded No. 1, repeated as Class 2A champion with a 3-2 win against North Catholic at the WPIAL finals at the Janet L. Swanson Tennis Center at Washington & Jefferson College.

“It was a great day for Quaker Valley athletics to capture two spring WPIAL titles in the same few hours,” said Mike Mastroianni, QV’s director of athletics and student activities. “A big congrats to our student-athletes on both the girls track and boys tennis teams, and to both of our coaching staffs.”

Quaker Valley’s girls track and field squad was led by winning performances in all three relays, and individually by sophomore Ellie Cain, freshman Cecilia Montagnese and junior Nora Johns.

“I am very proud of the girls for their efforts at the championship meet,” coach Jared Jones said. “Winning the WPIAL team championship was a goal we set last year when we tied Mohawk (at the WPIAL championships). Even though we tied the champion, we ended up taking third as a team. This year, we were trying our best not to be in that situation.

“Going into the meet, we knew we weren’t the favorites but that we had a chance to win. The only way we could beat all three schools is if each girl put forth her best effort. At the end of the day, each girl tried her very best, and their hard work paid off.”

Senior Anna Cohen, junior Kathryn Karwoski, sophomore Kate Hines and Cain and made up the Quakers’ 3,200 relay team. The 400 relayers, who won in a photo finish, were freshmen Vanessa Pickett and Kwilai Karto, sophomore Spencer Elliott and Johns. Karwoski, Hines, Cain and Johns competed in the 1,600 relay.

“The turning point for our team against Greensburg Central Catholic was when our 4-by-100 relay defeated GCC by 0.18 seconds,” Jones said. “GCC had the No. 1 seed going into that meet; QV was ranked 15th. When I brought it to their attention, Vanessa, Kwilai, Spencer and Nora embraced the challenge and wanted to beat the best team.”

Individually, Cain won the 400 and 800, Montagnese captured the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, and Johns took first place in the 300 hurdles. Johns also placed second in the 100 hurdles.

Karto finished second in the 100 and third in the 200 and 400. Pickett placed sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200. Hines ended up fourth in the 1,600.

In the field events, senior Ainsley Commens tied for first in the pole vault and Karwoski placed second in the high jump.

Other QV medalists included freshman Joyce Olawaiye (triple jump), senior Ellie Bates (triple jump), senior Ameilia Herrmann (discus), freshman Sarah Minard (pole vault), freshman Joyce Lee Mauer (javelin), junior Paige Nichols (shot put), sophomore Kathryn Main (high jump) and Elliott (long jump).

“Every girl’s performance played a role in this team victory,” Jones said. “Several girls had personal bests.”

QV’s girls team took second place in Section 8-3A this season against the likes of Ambridge, Avonworth, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley and New Castle.

Back-to-back on the court

At W&J, Quaker Valley’s boys tennis team quickly won three matches against North Catholic to clinch its second straight WPIAL crown.

“To say I am excited for our boys and what they have achieved not just this year so far — but also the last few years — would be a gross understatement. I am over the moon,” coach Christi Hays said. “It is the sweet payoff for all the hard work every single one of them has put in. This group is very close and they get along really well. They definitely have a singular mindset, and that is, we win or lose as a team. Every spot on the team is equally important.

“North Catholic was trying not only to win WPIAL team but also win the WPIAL trifecta — singles, doubles and team. That hadn’t been done in 2A since Sewickley Academy did it in 2018.”

QV’s senior doubles tandem Justin Hadjukiewicz and Henry Veeck defeated senior Ken Canavan and sophomore Justin Kontul.

Senior Michael Lipton and sophomore Chase Merkel also won against NC junior Tim Von Preussen and senior Justin Siket.

“Our two doubles teams took over and completely flipped the script,” Hays said. “Not only did our doubles teams win, but they did it quickly and decisively.

“So many times there is so much emphasis on the single spots, but our doubles teams have been outstanding all year. Thanks to them, we quickly found ourselves up 2-1.”

QV senior Will Sirianni clinched the championship by defeating senior Brody Golla, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 2 singles.

“Will got off to an atypical slow start and was down 1-4 before he turned on the jets and won the next five games and the first set,” Hays said. “Will dug deep and showed so much heart, resolve and spirit to pull out the second set and secure the title for us.”

Seniors Mike Sirianni and Devin Carter competed at No. 1 and No. 3 singles for the Quakers

“Every time I visualized the match, I really liked our chances,” Hays said. “So many times competition in any sport is about matchups. Yes, they had Nicolas Scheller at No. 1, but I felt we were deeper.

“Mike Sirianni’s job was to defeat Scheller if he could, but at least keep him on the court as long as he could so North Catholic didn’t get a quick point and the momentum. Mike did his job, and I think he surprised Scheller a bit.

“And even knowing the match was already decided, Devin battled on. By doing that, he gained invaluable experience that will carry going into the state playoffs.”

Rounding out QV’s varsity roster this season are senior Ryan Edwards, junior Michel Snyder, sophomores Joseph Veeck, Grant Webb and Brahm Gianiodis and freshman Grayson Beatty.

“Winning the WPIAL title last year — Quaker Valley’s first since 2003 — was a new experience and so exciting but maybe a little unexpected,” Hays said. “So going into this year we knew exactly what we needed to do. And as any team will tell you, repeating is difficult to do.

“The fact that we were able to do it was thrilling, and to match the accomplishment of QV’s 2002-03 team is a tribute to this team.”

QV repeated as section champion this season with a 14-0 record. Individually, the Quakers won 65 matches and lost only five.

QV defeated South Park, 3-2, in the WPIAL finals last year.

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