The annual St. Francis University volleyball tournament for high school squads drew 29 girls’ teams on Saturday.
Conemaugh Township struggled during pool play, finishing 3-5, but found its rhythm in the Bronze Division bracket. The Indians beat Mount Union and Purchase Line in the first two rounds before besting WestPAC foe Meyersdale 25-9 in the championship game.
In the Silver Division bracket, Westmont Hilltop, 6-2 in pool play, bested Central and United before falling to Juniata Valley 22-25, 25-19, 15-12 in the final.
There were three squads who finished unbeaten in pool play, West Shamokin, Central Cambria and Penn Cambria. The Red Devils lost to the Wolves in the semifinals while Cambria Heights eliminated the Panthers.
West Shamokin, which played strong all day and was 8-0 in pool play, was the Gold Division winner, but Cambria Heights gave the Wolves a run for the title. The Highlanders, 8-1 in pool play, also bested Forest Hills in the quarterfinals then Penn Cambria in the semifinals, before being downed by the Armstrong County squad 24-26, 27-25, 15-8.
The Wolves had earlier this week taken defending PIAA Class A champion Northern Cambria to five sets in a Heritage Conference contest. The Colts fell behind by two before winning the final three in order to remain unbeaten.
Returning to play in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference this week, Cambria Heights and Central Cambria are both still unbeaten. Penn Cambria, Bishop Carroll, Bishop Guilfoyle, Bishop McCort and Westmont Hilltop all have one loss in league play.
In the WestPAC, North Star leads the North Division followed by Conemaugh Township, Portage and Conemaugh Valley while in the South, Berlin Brothersvalley, Meyersdale and Shade lead the way.
In the Heritage, Northern Cambria and West Shamokin hold the top spots.
Cross country notes: Westmont Hilltop senior Nick Fetzer finished fourth out of 179 runners on Friday at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational held at Penn State University’s course.
Fetzer finished in a time of 15:49, a new personal record for the Hilltoppers runner.
• On Saturday, the defending PIAA champion Central Cambria girls claimed the Class AA title at the 24th annual Ben Bloser Bulldog Invitational at Big Spring High School in Newville (Cumberland County).
The Red Devils finished with 53 points, just ahead of Donegal of Mount Joy in Lancaster County, which finished with 61.
Sophomore Stella Kuntz was the top Central Cambria finisher with a time of 19:44.68 behind freshman winner Peyton Ellis of Boiling Springs, who crossed the line in 18:50.95.
Freshman Annalise Niebauer was fourth with sophomore Abby Walwro, 16th. Junior Jenna Smith, sophomore Faith Wilson and freshman Abbie George were 18th through 20th, respectively for the Red Devils, who are currently tied with unbeaten Westmont Hilltop and Forest Hills in the Laurel Highlands standings.
The Red Devils boys were second behind York Suburban in the Class AA race with 71 points, just behind the Trojans who had 52.
Junior Toby Cree and senior Nate Kuntz finished in the top 10 for the Red Devils, fifth and eighth, respectively. Freshman Devon Morgan and junior Tyler Gibson were 18th and 19th while sophomore Eli Wandel and junior Adam Lechleitner were 24th and 25th.
In the LHAC, Penn Cambria and Central Cambria are both unbeaten in the boys standings with Westmont, Somerset, Bedford and Richland all with one loss each.