Upper St. Clair hires Serio as girls coach

Written by Mike White on .

The McConnell extended family coaching tree just got a little bigger tonight.

Upper St. Clair hired Pete Serio as its new girls basketball coach. Serio has been out of coaching for a few years, but he has head coaching experience previously with girls teams at Peters Township, Mt. Lebanon and Bishop Canevin. He last coached at Peters Township in the 2008-09 season.

Serio's wife, Suzie McConnell Serio, is the head coach of the Pitt women's team. The couple has three daughters and a son and Pete will coach his youngest daughter at Upper St. Clair this year. Pete Serio is a teacher in the Upper St. Clair district. He takes over for Ernie Koontz, who resigned after he was told he would not be brought back as coach. Koontz won five WPIAL titles, one PIAA title and more than 500 games in 29 seasons as coach.

Pete Serio(The photo is of Pete Serio and Suzie, their three daughters and Suzie's father, Tom, at a press conference after Suzie was named coach at Pitt in 2013).

Other current head coaches in the McConnell family are:

** Tim McConnell, longtime and highly successful boys coach at Chartiers Valley High School.

** Tom McConnell is the head women's coach at IUP.

** Sherri McConnell - married to Mike McConnell - is North Allegheny's girls coach. Mike, brother to Suzie, Tim and Tom, at one time was Carlynton's head girls coach.

** On top of that, Kathy McConnell-Miller, is an assistant women's coach with her sister, Suzie, at Pitt.

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Staal on Penguins' frustration: 'It means [we’re] doing our job right' - 05-12-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has played a big role in limiting the Penguins' offense throughout the series. He has also been involved in his fair share of physical confrontations with several of the Penguins' better players. At the end of the second period and regulation of last night's 3-1 win against against the Penguins, Staal was on the ice for situations which devolved into near line brawls.

After the game, Staal talked bout the Penguins getting frustrated:

On the Penguins:

“They’re getting chippy. That’s a good thing. If they weren’t getting like that, we would be doing something wrong. We want to frustrate them as much as we can.”

James Neal was given a 10-minute misconduct. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were each given minor penalties. Are they guys you specifically want to frustrate?

"Yeah. They’re emotional guys. They’re getting frustrated throughout the game. It means [we’re] doing our job right.”

Is there a book on how to frustrate them?

“I don’t know if it’s the book. As a team, [we’re] playing solid. You want to stifle them as much as you can and get under their skin and all of those sorts of things come with grinding out series like we have. Now we get to play another Game 7."

On the penalties:

"There’s a lot stuff a lot of people were getting away. [Crosby], a lot of their guys. Sometimes it’s tough as referees to pick and choose what you’re going to call and what you’re not going to call. Sometimes you don’t know as players and you’ve got to do your best to protect yourself in serious situations and not put your team at a disadvantage.”

(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)


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Cover girl Shailene Woodley is done living for others!

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


shailene-woodley-cover-594 - Copy
Shailene Woodley, who was in Pittsburgh last year to film “The Fault in Our Stars” before heading to Amsterdam for a few days, is on the cover of InStyle, talking about dating, self-confidence and misconceptions about her generation. 
Here are excerpts courtesy of the magazine, which will hit newsstands on Friday:
On living for herself:  “I’m done living for other people.  I’m done being a people pleaser.  I’m done thinking about what people think about me.”
On her body: “I’m in a place where I feel healthier than I’ve ever been, and my body is exactly where it wants to be.  I feel like I’m a woman.  My boobs shrank.  No one tells you that when you lose weight.  No bra, no problem.”
On self-confidence: “I realize I was good at being outwardly positive because that’s how I am by nature.  But internally?  I was so mean to myself.  Realizing I need to make a shift was a big moment for me.” She then uses a particular f-word in regard to insecurity and lack of confidence. 
On her generation: “People say my generation is irresponsible.  I think we’re on top of things actually.  Maybe I feel this way because I surround myself with like-minded people.  Doing the right thing always makes you feel good.  And it’s contagious.”
On dating:  “I have zero expectations and zero rules.  I’m open.  I can’t see it being another actor, except that they understand this lifestyle.  Hey I could fall in love with an Aussie and move to Australia.  Who knows!”
See for more information. 
Here are the details of her cover look:
Dress:  Dolce & Gabbana
Ring:  Stanmore
Bracelets:  Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz and Annelise Michelson
Sandals:  Marni
Photographed for InStyle by Giampaolo Sgura and styled by Melissa Rubini


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Blackhawk coach deciding whether to use McKay ...... other notes

Written by Mike White on .

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the high school scene

The weather forecast has the start of WPIAL baseball playoffs up in the air today. But that's not the only uncertain thing with Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia.

Blackhawk is the No. 1 seed for the WPIAL Class AAA bracket and will play No. 16 seed Uniontown tonight (7 p.m.) at the Burkett Complex in Robinson. Amalia can't decide whether to use ace pitcher Brendan McKay, or take a chance and save him for the quarterfinals Thursday.

"I keep going back and forth," Amalia said last night. "I probably won't decide until [today]."

Brendan McKayMcKay hasn't allowed a run this year and is on a 58-inning scoreless streak dating back to last season. It is the fourth-longest streak in U.S. high school baseball history.

The opinion here is to save McKay for the quarterfinals Wednesday. If your No. 2 pitcher can't beat the No. 16 seed, then you really aren't a championship-caliber team. With a win tonight, Blackhawk will play the winner of Mars and Indiana (the 8-9 game). Wouldn't you rather have your No. 2 pitcher throw against the No. 16 seed and not the No. 8 or 9?

Blackhawk's No. 2 pitcher is Dante Parente, who is certainly capable of beating Uniontown. Amalia did say if McKay doesn't start tonight and the game is on the line late, "there is no doubt we're using him."

If Blackhawk gets past the first round without using McKay, it spells doom for the rest of Class AAA. The way the WPIAL schedules its playoffs, McKay can then pitch the quarterfinals, semifinals and the championship with plenty of rest. Plenty of people feel it's ridiculous that one pitcher can pitch those three games. The WPIAL has heard those complaints but the WPIAL baseball committee has made its stand already. They think it's fine for one pitcher to be able to pitch three games in a row. So be it.

But even with McKay pitching, Blackhawk could still have its hands full at some point. This is a team that was shut out against Montour and scored only one run last week against West Allegheny. McKay didn't pitcher either of those games and Blackhawk lost. There is no WPIAL pitcher on McKay's level, but that doesn't mean another talented pitcher can't shut down Blackhawk. A scoreless game and a break with a couple hits off McKay and suddenly Blackhawk is behind? It might not happen, but there is no such thing as an unbeatable pitcher in baseball. Though McKay is about as close as you can get.

Baseball all-stars selected

The 11th annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Games will be played June 8 in Butler. The rosters of the teams are at the end of this blog.

Son of Fedko shines

Christian Fedko is the son of well-known local sportscaster John Fedko. But Christian is doing absolutely fine making a name for himself.

Christian is only a freshman, but is making quite an impact on the Vincentian baseball team. In one five-game stretch, he was in "the Fedko zone" when he hit .737 (14 for 19). For the season, he is batting .552 (32 of 58) for the Royals (16-2) who begin the WPIAL playoffs today at 2 against Union.

Coach comments on Jenkins

Baldwin offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins made his college choice last week, picking Penn State. Jenkins is one of the most-heavily recruited players in the state and Ohio State was his other choice.

Although Jenkins (pictured) is highly-rated ('s No. 34 player in the country), he didn't make the coaches all-Sterling Jenkinsconference team last year. Jenkins said he has a lot to prove this upcoming season and making all-conference is one of his goals.

Baldwin coach Pete Wagner praised Jenkins (6 feet 8, 315 pounds) for what he has done this offseason so far.

"I think the sky is the limit for him," Wagner said. "He's someone who is extremely loyal and his work ethic has been outstanding. He's committed to improvement and with his body, his potential is limitless.

"He's hit a home run this offseason and has balanced recruiting in. He hasn't missed a workout and he is doing everything in between. My hat is off to him and what he is putting into this."

Baseball all-stars

Below are the 84 players selected to the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Games Sunday June 8 at the Kelly Automotive Park in Butler  (old Pullman Park). The Class A All-Stars will take on Class AA at 1 p.m., and Class AAA will play Class AAAA at 4 p.m.

There will be a banquet to honor players and coaches June 5 at the Southpointe Hilton Garden. The banquet is open to the public. For information, call 412-429-0546.

CLASS AAAA - Zack Bahm, Mt. Lebanon; Daane Berezo, Pine-Richland; Joey DeFloria, Hempfield; Dom Farina, Norwin; Luca Farina, Central Catholic; Mitch Machi, North Allegheny; J.J. Matijevic, Norwin; Tom McCarthy, Baldwin; Chad Meyer, North Hills; Mark Merlino, Penn-Trafford; Alex Pantuso, Baldwin; Teagan Piechnick, Canon-McMillan; Phil Pisarcik, Peters Township; Mason Prickett, Moon; Trey Reese, Penn Hills; Tyler Saundry, North Allegheny; Tyler Schmidt, Peters Township; Ryan Sciullo, Kiski Area; Tyler Smith, Penn-Trafford; Nick Stotler, Plum; Tyler Tubbs, Hempfield.

CLASS AAA - Jake Benack, Thomas Jefferson; Ryan Creps, Indiana; Drew DeBerry, Laurel Highlands; Eddie Edwards, Hampton; Jake Emge, Blackhawk; Kevin Gannon, Mars; Tyler Godwin, South Fayette; Zach Junk, Knoch; Josh Lapiana, Chartiers Valley; Taylor Lehman, Keystone Oaks; Parker Lynn, Belle Vernon; Brendan McKay, Blackhawk; A.J. Olasz, West Mifflin; Cody Overly, Yough; Brian Penz, Montour; Dylan Pietrantoni, Belle Vernon; Grant Smith, Ambridge; Zack Staschick, Uniontown; Sean Thompson, Indiana; Caleb Thorn, Knoch; Ben Vey, Hampton.

CLASS AA - Davie Boehme, Seton-LaSalle; Ernie Burkes, Neshannock; Todd Coleman, Deer Lakes; Tyler Day, Chartiers-Houston; Matt Hoesch, Steel Valley; Seth Hvizda, Beth-Center; Nolan Lamont, South Side Beaver; Ross Maietta, Riverside; Brent McCormick, Shenango; Ryan Novotney, Brownsville; Matt Olesnevich, Deer Lakes; Jason Pettner, Riverside; Jordan Ranson, Beaver Falls; Chuckie Scales, Shady Side Academy; Noah Shannon, Freeport; R.J. Stewart, Laurel; Matt Swartz, Freeport; Ben Utterback, Quaker Valley; Matt Wilke, Seton-LaSalle; Michael Wise, Jeannette; Jordan Yates, Beaver.

CLASS A - Jason Anthony, Riverview; Ron Baron, California; Dan Bechek, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; Logan Bowman, Jefferson-Morgan; Tracy Bozich, Western Beaver; Brandon Coddington, Serra; Ty Cole, Carmichaels; Jake Columbus, California; Dom Conte, Riverview; Alex Demonte, Springfield; Tim Frayser, Avella; Nick Kocent, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; Brandon Lawless, Carmichaels; Joey Luciana, St. Joseph's; Josh Luko, California; Phil Madonna, Vincentian; Steve Menich, Western Beaver; John O'Donnell, Bishop Canevin; Justice Rawlins, Monessen; Travis Sanner, Frazier; Sam Thimons, St. Joseph.


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Box turtle and baby owl visit the garden

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog box turtle visitsWilson the box turtle spent about 20 minutes getting his picture taken and then was released back into the wild where he was found. Photos by Doug Oster

blog baby owl2It's fun to see this young owl hanging around the garden.My daughter was thrilled to show me this box turtle she found on a garden path. Stephanie named it Wilson as the intricate pattern on the back of the shell resembles a volleyball. It's a tribute to Tom Hank's companion in Castaway.

Those orange eyes tell me it's a male. I've read box turtles can live to be 100 and only have a range of about 750 yards square. It seems the family runs across one every season. The turtles have been wonderful woodland companions.

We put a small mark on Wilson's shell, so that if we ever see him again, we'll be able to identify him.

Shelly was another box turtle we saw annually for many years in the garden, but haven't seen him since for a few years, Here's a story on discovering him one summer.

We're all busy, but spending time without cell phone and sitting in the garden can reveal a host of nature's surprises.

The other big news was seeing a juvenile great horned owl hanging out near the garden.

All winter long we heard the adults calling to each other (listen here). My wife stumbled on to one of them a dusk in the middle of a walking trail. Needless to say, the owl wasn't happy to see her and let her know it by spreading its wings and protesting with its nest defense calls.

The next day we saw this owl in the same area 40 feet up in a tree. At first glance we figured it was an adult until I zoomed in with the camera to see those fuzzy feathers.

This bird has sat in the same tree for a few days, it's only 10 feet from the nest.

Reading up on the species, I found the young owl will stay close for a few more days and then practice flying. The adults are still around somewhere and can take care of the juvenile for most of the summer and possibly into winter.

The wonders found in the garden never cease to amaze.

I was thinning radishes the other day and in the distance heard the young bird squawking away, maybe calling for mom and dad.


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