Achieving athletes - Dec. 4

Published Dec 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm (Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm)

Putt tops

Andrew Putt has been nominated for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Youth Rider of the Year Award. The winner will be announced next month at the association’s annual banquet.

The Venetia resident is ranked No. 1 in the United States and is the two-time AMA/NATC Youth MotoTrials Championship in the 15 & under division. He also finished fourth in the adult 2013 National MotoTrials Championship in the Expert Class.

The high school freshman has competed at the national level across the United States for the past 2 years on a Sherco 125cc motorcycle. He trains throughout the year with the National Sherco/RYP USA Factory team, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky. He also trains several times a year in Barcelona, Spain.

MotoTrials is a non-speed event on specialized motorcycles, that are lightweight and designed to be ridden standing up. It is not Motocross Racing.

Not a race for the best time, MotoTrials, rather, is a technical, controlled competition, which requires balance, throttle control, traction sensitivity and quick reactions

MotoTrials pits rider and motorcycle against a designated area of terrain or man-made obstacles. The challenge is to negotiate a course without: putting a foot down, backing up, stalling the bike, or riding outside the section boundary markers all within a time limit.

Normally 8-10 sections are set up around a loop that may be several miles in length. Riders negotiate the course three or four times, completing 24 to 32 sections during the day’s event. At the conclusion, the rider with the least amount of points determines the winner of the class.

Dadig invited

Dani Dadig was invited to the OnDeck Softball East Coast National Elite Futures Camp and participated in the Elite Softball College Showcase held recently at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Ga. She is a junior at Seton-La Salle High School.

The East Coast National Elite Futures Camp is an invitation-only two-day event that brings together some of the finest young softball players in the country. Players from the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 classes are eligible, but only 75 players are invited to attend. Widely regarded as an important premier recruiting event, the event enables campers to showcase their skills in front of coaches from many of the top programs in the country along with representatives from USA Softball. In fact, many of the biggest stars in college are alumni of the camp.

Russo at Ashland

Stasia Russo of Mt. Lebanon is a member of the club soccer team at Ashland University.

The daughter of Bryan and Gail Russo is a commercial art major. She is a 2012 Lebo graduate.

Lebo wrestling

Bakhtiyar and Zeynul Zaynullaev captured championships during the Cliff Keen Pennsylvania Wrestling Kickoff Classic. The Mt. Lebanon grapplers won their respective weight classes (197 and 285) in the high school division.

In the 12 and under category, Jack Gray finished fourth at 85 pounds. In the 15 and under division, Turner Gray took third at 140 pounds.

Also in the high school grouping, Kevin Kinyua (128) secured second place, while Ryan Dustevich finished fourth at 285.

Tyler Quach-Dao (122) and Brady Schaer (134) also participated in the event.

KO recruits

Keystone Oaks seniors Maryssa Agurs, Eryn Caragein and Taylor Lehman recently signed their National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic careers at the colleges of their choice.

Agurs will play women’s basketball at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. She is one of the most accomplished shooting guards in KO history. An honor student at KO, she will major in sociology/psychology and minor in coaching.

She selected Mercyhurst because of the quality of the school itself and the distance from home. “Having the opportunity to go to such a great school and to get to be around so many wonderful teammates and coaches, I am very proud to call myself a Lady Laker and I cannot wait to join my second family,” she said.

Caragein is KO all-time stolen bases leader. She could become the first player in the softball program’s history to be named to four consecutive all-section teams.

A member of the National Honor Society, she will major in biology/pre-med and minor in coaching at Shippensburg University. She will play centerfield for the Lady Raiders.

A hard-throwing 6-foot, 7-inch southpaw, Lehman posted an 8-2 record with a 2.20 ERA last spring as a junior. He earned a scholarship to Penn State University and will pitch for the Nittany Lions.

Lehman, who will major in business, said that the opportunity to play in the Big Ten and for such a well-regarded coaching staff played major factors in his decision. “I just feel like Penn State can help me realize my goals both on and off the baseball diamond,” said Lehman.

Two all-state

Kelsey Potts and Jillian Hunsberger earned all-state distinction from the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association for their performances this past cross-country season. Potts and Hunsberger placed fourth and sixth respectively during the PIAA championships, recording times of 18:31 and 18:47 respectively. They also helped Mt. Lebanon to a third-place finish as a team in the state standings. They also helped the Blue Devils to a second straight WPIAL championship. Potts took the bronze medal and Hunsberger finished fourth overall in the individual standings.

“Kelsey and Jillian both worked so hard this past season,” said Lebo head coach Ron Schreiner. “It is a distinct honor to be selected to the all-state cross country team.

“They push each other in practice and on race day. They are both fearless competitors, who care so much for their teammate. With them always at the front, our team enjoyed one of it’s best seasons ever.”

Two at Denison

Andrew Rich and Emily Eiben are members of the Denison University men’s and women’s swim teams.

A McMurray native, Rich is a graduate of Peters Township High School. The freshman is helping the Big Red maintain its No. 1 ranking in Division III.

According to the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top-25 poll, Denison took over the top spot after edging North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Kenyon in a dual meet.

A Bethel Park native and graduate, Eiben hopes to elevate the Denison women to the top spot. They are currently second in Division III rankings according to the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top-25 poll. Denison recently knocked off North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Kenyon.

Hoffman excels

Brittany Hoffman of McMurray has helped the New Jersey City University set standards on the soccer field as well as in the classroom. For the second year in a row and third time in four seasons, the school’s women’s soccer team has been honored on a national level for academic prowess.

After producing a combined grade point average of 3.174 for the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters, NJCU has been recognized as a National Soccer Coaches Association of America College Team Academic Award Winner for the 2012-13 academic year.

To be eligible for the honor, teams in Division I, II and III must have achieved a collective grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters.

The Peters Township graduate made the dean’s list, achieving the 3.50 GPA requirement, in both semesters. She was a junior captain on the squad.

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