As the calendar flips to 2020 and local high school teams take a holiday break, I took one more look back at some of 2019’s top performers. This week’s recap covers January through June, with the second half of the year to follow in next week’s edition.
The Port Allegany wrestlers win the eight-team Towanda Duals ... Howie Stuckey scores his 1,000th point in basketball.
“I passed it to Shawn McNeil, he got me open with a screen, and I just put it up and thankfully it went through,” the high-scoring guard said. “It was good to get it at home. The next two games are away, so it was really good to get it in front of the fans and the school.”
Reese Vollmer collects his 100th win as the Gators (19-3, 7-0) take second at the District 9 dual-meet championships, then clinch their first Allegheny Mountain League championship since 2015.
“His only loss was a 7-4 decision to a kid ranked third in the state (Forest Hills freshman phenom Jackson Arrington), so he’s right there with the best in the state. Reese getting his 100 is special,” coach B.J. Greenman said. Of the AML title, he noted, “It’s great. It’s always the first goal when we talk about team goals. We want to go undefeated in the league.”
The following week, the Port girls basketball team closed out the season in the D-9 playoffs with a 16-7 mark.
“This is one to grow on. This isn’t a high point; this is where we start from, and we want to keep going up,” first-year coach Jamie Evens said. “You look at our younger programs, and we’ve got some talent coming up. As long as they keep working and they buy into what we try to do at the varsity level, I have high expectations. I think the program is in good shape.”
At the District 9 Individual Wrestling Championships, 1994 PAHS grad Mike Sauers is inducted into the D-9 Hall of Fame, and Smethport junior Braedon Johnson wins gold as the team finishes fourth. Johnson would go on to take second at regionals, qualifiying for states.
Sauers, a state qualifer who went on to become a Navy SEAL, start a successful clothing business, and use it to raise millions of dollars for service-related organizations, is the third Gator to enter the HOF, joining teammate Isaac Greeley and coach John Kriner. His induction was marked by lengthy standing ovations at both the Class AA and AAA ceremonies.
“It’s very humbling to get a standing ovation from these people,” he said. “California is a different state; to come back to Pennsylvania, especially central Pennsylvania, it’s very patriotic. Just a lot of blue-collar, hardworking good American people. To have those people honor you in that way was very humbling; I felt like I should be honoring them. It’s just something you don’t see everywhere in America today; in California, you’ve got the sunshine, but the patriotism isn’t as evident as it is here. With everything going on in America right now, people being torn from different sides, it just felt really good to see all those people stand up and be proud of someone from the local area.”
Josh Kinney is inducted into the Quincy University Hall of Fame. The 1997 Port High grad, who pitched for Owsayo Valley as part of a co-op before the Gators established their own program the following year, went on to a stellar career at Quincy before earning a World Series ring for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. ...
Postseason honors for Gator winter sports teams include Greenman’s second Olean Times Herald’s Big 30 Wrestling Coach of the Year award, with Vollmer, Johnson, and Issac Smoker all selected for the paper’s all-star squad.
“It’s nice to get that recognition of putting a team together and having a good team,” Greenman said. “It is difficult to have a good team nowadays. Numbers are a big thing. We definitely had the numbers this year with 24 kids on the squad, and the other thing is having kids healthy the whole year to be able to complete the season. We were able to do both of those. I think it’s a testament to our program as a whole; the coaching staff and the kids too, coming together and wrestling well.”
Multi-sport Gator star Jim Turner, a 1959 PAHS alumnus who helped the Gators win their lone D-9 boys basketball crown before going on to a Hall of Fame career at Mansfield University and a lengthy teaching and coaching career at his alma mater, is added to the Big 30 Basketball Hall of Fame at the fourth annual Senior Classic.
“The call itself was an absolute shock, that anyone actually remembered that I played basketball or anything around here,” said the “Then after I got it, I sat down and began to think about all the athletes that have come out of the Big 30 area in the last 60 years since I graduated, outstanding, talented individuals. To be singled out amongst those and to be given such an accolade was quite an honor and pretty humbling.”
Greeley, a two-time NCAA All-American and already a member of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Hall of Fame as a member of the Mountain Cats’ 1999 national championship team, is inducted for his individual performance.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame Committee,” Greeley said. “My short time as a Pitt-Johnstown student-athlete gave me the foundation to become successful in all facets of life and for that, I am forever grateful.”...
2006 PAHS alumnus Logan Pearsall also earns a Hall call, as Clarion University honored the four-time NCAA national champion and six-time All-American diver in its 2019 class. Pearsall has continued his successful career in the sport, competing in world championships at the masters level and earning back-to-back NCAA Division II Diving Coach of the Year awards at Colorado Mesa University.
“I was extremely excited; I actually started crying, because it’s one of those dreams that when it comes true, it’s unbelievable. It’s something you don’t expect, but when it happens, you’re like, ‘I guess I am deserving of this.’ It was just incredible,” he said. “It was a moment that I’ll always remember. It was cool coming from nothing in Port Allegany, no program, a lot of things to overcome, to achieving… now I’m officially in the history books at Clarion, and that’s just very memorable.”
Alliyah Penick and A.J. Edgell qualify for the D-9 Track and Field championships ... The Port baseball team drops a heartbreaker at Otto-Eldred in its playoff opener ... Port resident and 1970 PAHS grad Jim Goochee completes his 40th General Clinton Canoe Regatta 70-mile race, becoming just the sixth member of the longstanding event’s 2800-Mile Club.
Stuckey and teammate Carter Moses make the Northen Allegheny League All-Star team, with Stuckey tabbed as league MVP. ... The Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp packs the PAHS gym once again, followed a week later by the first “Under the Lights” wrestling tournament on the football field.