Recognize Greater Pittsburgh

Updated: November 20, 2008, 4:46 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Girls' Basketball - South Park



The successes of the South Park girls' soccer team and the girls'basketball team have gone hand in hand, thanks to the efforts of two players  Brittany Pfaff and Nicole Doria. Unfortunately, Pfaff has graduated, leaving Doria to try to carry both teams. The girls' soccer team barely missed a beat, earning a third straight WPIAL crown with Doria as one of the region's top goal scorers this season. Time will tell if the basketball team follows suit, but coach Reggie Wells is confident the team can defend its WPIAL Class AA title. "We have a lot of talent," he says. "We're looking to do big things." Doria, a senior guard and ESPN RISE All-Area first team selection, averaged 15.8 points per game last year while earning All-State second team honors. "She gives everyone confidence,"Wells says. "She is instinctively talented. You can count on her making play after play." Doria is flanked by juniors Beth Belejchak and Laurel Lindsay, both of whom are multi-faceted. Belejchak is a defensive whiz while Lindsay can play any position. "She's so unselfish, to the point where she's a little too unselfish sometimes," Wells says. Sophomore Kaitlyn Piscitelli and seniors Melissa Schwartz and Jess Brueggman add depth to the Eagles, who face a tough road back toward the title game. But Wells thinks the team is up to it. "The girls have shown up since the summer," he says, "and they've worked really hard."



Boys' Basketball - Franklin Regional


The Panthers just keep improving season after season. Two years ago, the team qualified for the WPIAL Class AAAA tournament but lost in the preliminary round. Last season, coach Doug Kelly led his boys to an improved record and a fourth-place finish at the WPIAL regional tournament. This season, led by seniors Nick Novak, Anthony Vendemia and Jake Higgins, the Panthers should continue to rise to the top of the WPIAL ladder.



Girls' Swimming - Shady Side


Seven was the lucky number for Shady Side last season. It came from all kinds of directions. First, it was current sophomore Anne Marie Bilott, a 100 breast specialist who finished seventh at the PIAA Class AA state meet. Then it was junior Margaux Georgiadis in the 200 free, who finished seventh. Senior Katie Vincent, a sprinter, also finished seventh at state in the 50 free. Together, they helped the team finish fourth. All three return this season.



Boys' Swimming - Cathedral Prep


The runner-up finish for the Ramblers at last year's PIAA Class AAA state meet was no fluke. And even with the loss of a few seniors, some of whom were on high-performing relay teams, Cathedral Prep will be out to show everyone that the team can contend for a state title again. Junior Tommy Steele should vie for an individual title in the 100 and 200 free races, while seniors Joseph Stark (100 breast, 200 IM) and Joseph Glowacki (100 fly) add great depth.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



BOYS' BASKETBALL  GREENSBURG SALEM
ESPN RISE All-Area first teamer Chris Climchock leads the up-and-coming Lions.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL  CHARTIERS VALLEY
Juniors Paige Aleski and Erica Restich have the Colts on the right track.

WRESTLING  FORT CHERRY
Andrew Lucarini, the defending WPIAL champ at 103 pounds, returns as a senior.

GYMNASTICS  BEAVER
Cassandra Ringer, fourth at last year's WPIAL championship, is only a junior this year.