Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls (2024)

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As high school cross country season nears its halfway point, Lexi Fluharty has lived up to her billing as one of the WPIAL’s top Class 1A runners.

She’s certainly picked up where she left off last year when she finished second at the WPIAL Championships and eighth at the PIAA Championships.

On Sept. 2, she won the Fire Girls division at the 51st Marty Uher Vulcans Invitational at California University of Pennsylvania. She beat a field of 169 runners in a 5K race that included girls from 25 WPIAL schools in the 1A and 2A classifications including West Allegheny, Ambridge, Beaver, Hopewell, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and New Brighton.

After running the course in 20:23.20, she told PA MileSplit that, “I just want to get some better times and hopefully commit to a college soon.”

On Sept. 9 at the 21st Annual Red, White & Blue Classic held at White Oak Park near McKeesport, Fluharty finished second in the 5,000 meters in class 1A. There were 122 runners entered in the race. She was timed at 19:32, which was 16 seconds after Grace Neubert of Elk County Catholic crossed the finish line at 19:16.

Then on Sept. 12 at a section meet at Shenango that also included Rochester, Laurel and Union, Fluharty set a personal record with a time of 18:51.1.

When asked about Fluharty’s goals the rest of the season, Riverside cross country coach Joe Fisher said “she wants to place one, two or three at states.”

When Fluharty was a sophom*ore, she placed 14th at the WPIAL meet in Class 1A and 58th at the PIAA meet.

Last year at the WPIAL Championships, Fluharty finished second to Shady Side Academy’s Chelsea Hartman, who ran a 19:29. Fluharty was next at 19:58.

“That’s a big gap but the course may have been made for (Hartman),” Fisher said. “It’s a new course this year, so we’ll see what happens.”

Last year, the WPIAL meet was held at Cal U. This year – on Oct. 26 – it will be held at White Oak Park.

After three more sectional meets, Fluharty and other runners on Riverside boys and girls cross country teams will compete in a series of high-prolife races. Among them are the Midwestern Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 11 at Settler’s Cabin in Robinson Township and the Tri-State Track Coaches Invitational at Baldwin on Oct. 19

Fluharty is the younger sister of Ty Fluharty, a former Riverside cross country and track standout who’s now running at the University of Buffalo.

Lexi Fluharty, who also runs track, has not yet decided on where she’ll attend college, but she is considering Duquesne and Gannon.


At South Side, there are two boys sports teams that are undefeated right now.

One is the 4-0 football team which ranks among the WPIAL’s best Class 1A schools. The other is the 12-0 golf team that clinched the Section 6, Class 2A championship last week.

Last year, the Rams shared first place in the section with Hopewell (both were 11-1).

“I’m very happy with the way our team has been playing,” said Joe Pascarella, who’s been coaching the golf team for 15 years. “It’s a very dedicated team. The top six guys in the lineup are all friends. Even in the off-season, they play a lot of golf together. They enjoy themselves on the golf course. The hard work they put in really shows this season.”

The six-man rotation includes No. 1 player Braeden Mitchell as well as Cash Bradley, Nolan English, R.J. Fischer, Nick Hewlett and Andrew Medeja.

Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls (1)

South Side competes in a section with Beaver Falls, Freedom, Hopewell, Lincoln Park, New Brighton and Rochester.

As many as six golfers from each of those teams will compete Tuesday in the sectional qualifiers being held this week for the WPIAL’s 17 boys and six girls golf sections.

The Section 6, 2A qualifier will be played at Ponderosa Golf Course in Hanover Township. That’s South Side’s home course.

Each sectional has its own target score. For example, anyone who shoots an 84 at Ponderosa on Tuesday advances to the first round of the WPIAL Individual Championships.

The 36 players and ties from first-round play advance to the finals.

First-round matches will be played Monday, Sept. 25: Class 2A at Willowbrook Country Club in Apollo, Class 3A at Latrobe Country Club.

The finals will be held Monday, Oct. 2: 2A at Butler Country Club, 3A at Valleybrook Country Club in McMurray.

For girls, the first round and finals in 2A and 3A will both be played at Diamond Run Golf Club in Ohio Township, Sept. 26 and Oct. 4, respectively.


It’s hard to keep track of all the records and championships Bill Pfeifer has achieved in his 28 years as a high school girls soccer coach.

Pfeifer, who’s in his third season of his second stint at Moon Area, is the all-time wins leader among all girls soccer coaches in Pennsylvania.

Last after leading the Tigers to WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A championships with a 24-0 record, he was named the National Federation of State High School Associations Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

What’s amazing is that usually when Moon wins, the opposition doesn’t even score a goal. Last year the Tigers recorded 21 shutouts when it outscored opponents 98-3.

Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls (2)

It’s more of the same this year.

Going into Monday’s Section 4, Class 3A match at Blackhawk, the Tigers were 6-1-1 and had outscored their opponents 24-1.

They started the season with five straight shut-out victories before tying Montour 0-0 in two overtimes.

Last Wednesday, they lost a section match against South Fayette, 1-0. But on Saturday, they rebounded with a 5-0 non-section whitewash over McDowell of Erie.

Last year, Pfeifer told a newspaper reporter that “All 11 players on the team play defense, not just the back four or (goalkeeper) Serayah Leech. It’s something we work on. It’s a mentality. I tell the kids, ‘If we don’t give up goals, we can’t lose. We can tie 0-0, but we can’t lose.’ ”

Leech is back this year for her senior season.

Two years ago when Moon won WPIAL and PIAA 4A titles with a 20-1-1 record, they recorded 17 shutouts and allowed only five goals.

So, in their last 55 matches dating back to the start of the 2021 season, Moon has blanked its opponents 43 times and allowed only nine goals.


No football program in the WPIAL has more WPIAL titles than the 19 Aliquippa has won over the years. And no WPIAL football program has produced as many running backs who surpassed 4,000 rushing yards in their careers.

On Sept. 8 in a 33-7 win over North Catholic, Tiqwai “Tikey” Hayes became the seventh Quip to enter the 4,000 Yard Club when he rushed for 228 yards.

With the 97 yards he gained this past Friday in a 42-18 win over Montour, Hayes now has 4,209 yards, and he’s only a junior.

Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls (3)

Of the seven Aliquippa running backs to surpass 4,000 career yards, Hayes ranks seventh.

Ahead of him are:

Dravon Henry, class of 2014, 5,454.

Chico Williams, class of 1993, 5,417.

Kaezon Pugh, class of 2016, 4,979.

Avante “Chief” McKenzie, class of 2019, 4,791.

Rapheal “Pudgey” Abercrombie, class of 1985, 4,603.

Terry Swanson, class of 2014, 4,333.

All seven Quip RBs with over 4,000 career rushing yards have played on at least one WPIAL championship team.

With at least six regular-season games this year and all of his senior seasons, Hayes will likely become Aliquippa’s all-time leading rusher if he stays healthy.

Hayes, by the way, recently announced that he’s narrowed his list of college choices to eight. They are: Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Maryland, Michigan State and Cincinnati.

MikeBirescan be reached online atbiresoj1972@gmail.comor by phone at 724-622-4284.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls

Times' high school notebook: Fluharty gears up for state run, South Side boys golf rolls (2024)
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