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HS sports: 2 local All-Americans, Penns Valley’s thriller, and more

The Penns Valley girls volleyball team celebrates winning a point during a game against Clearfield Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at Penns Valley High School.
The Penns Valley girls volleyball team celebrates winning a point during a game against Clearfield Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at Penns Valley High School.

The State College Swimming team had two swimmers named to the USA Swimming Scholastic All-America Team for 2017-2018. Noah Witt, a senior at State High, and Michael Challis, who is taking a gap year to train before beginning his collegiate swim career at Penn State after graduating from State High last year, were both named to the team.

To qualify, swimmers must maintain a 3.5 GPA for the year and achieve a 2017 Winter Junior qualifying time in an individual event. Rose Snyder, who coached Challis for four years and Witt for three and is currently an assistant coach for the team, said the achievement says a lot about Challis and Witt.

“In order ... to place in the top eight swimmers ... at the PIAA state meet it takes a lot of drive, dedication, grit, and commitment,” Snyder said.. “These same qualities can flow over into both of their academic success in the classroom.” She also added, “It shows that we have a program that supports the full development of student-athletes.”

Girls volleyball

Penns Valley’s volleyball team defeated Tyrone in a five-set thriller on the road on Thursday, 25-23, 14- 25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11. The Rams were led on offense by Emma Butler and Marissa Stecko, who had 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Jadyn Butler led the team’s defense with 25 digs, and Bella Culver added eight blocks.

Penns Valley will be in action at home on Thursday when they take on Bellefonte at 7 p.m.

Cross country

Both Bellefonte cross country teams took part in the Ben Bloser Bulldog Invitational at Big Spring High School in Newville. The girls’ team finished 9th out of 18 teams, while the boys’ team finished 17th out of 27. The girls were led by Mia Elmore, who finished 30th with a time of 22 minutes, 40 seconds. The boys were led by Austin Melius who placed 21st with a time of 17:56. Both teams will be at Hershey on Saturday for the PIAA Foundation Meet.

Girls soccer

Bellefonte’s girls’ soccer team dropped to 3-4 on the season when they lost 2-1 at Clearfield on Monday. Sophomore Madalyn Morelli scored the Red Raiders’ only goal and was assisted by junior Mallorie Smith.

Senior Cati Besch saved five of Clearfield’s seven shots on goal, but it wasn’t enough as Clearfield’s Hayley Moore saved 14 of Bellefonte’s 15 shots on goal. Bellefonte’s next game will be on Wednesday at home when they take on Huntingdon at 4 p.m.

State High’s girls’ soccer team traveled to Altoona for the Altoona Lady Lion Shootout and played two games on Saturday. They split the games to go 1-1 and bring their record to 4-2-1 on the season.

Their first game was a 4-3 defeat at the hands of East Juniata. The Little Lions went into the half with a 3-2 lead thanks to two goals from Tori Steward and another from Abby Edelman. However, in the second half, East Juniata’s Thea Neimond scored two goals by the 49th minute and State College was unable recover.

In the second game, State College blew out Juniata, 10-0. Erica Feese netted a hat trick to lead the Little Lions’ scoring effort. Coach Doug Bates said that the two games provided an opportunity for his team to go through a learning experience.

“We utilized these games to try a couple of different things within our formation and personnel,” Bates said. “Whenever you try new things there are going to be growing pains and that is what we experienced today.”

State College will be at home when they take on Carlisle on Saturday at noon.