Winter Sports: Bears Rise to the Challenge

From individual triumphs to Girls Basketball’s repeat WPIAL Championship victory, the Bears gave their all for WT this season. “Although the days are shorter, the students always seem to rise to the occasion during the tough winter season,” noted Director of Athletics Kevin Miller. “Whether battling for a playoff spot or playing the crosstown rival, the Bears were always up for the challenge.”

Girls Basketball: Back-to-Back WPIAL Champions

Following a historic 2017 season, this year Girls Basketball repeated their 2017 success—they were undefeated section champions, defended their Class A WPIAL title, and charged ahead to the PIAA playoffs.

With a record of 20-6, the Bears led the way in regular season play and secured an undefeated Section Championship along the way. The team earned a first-round bye in WPIAL playoffs, and decisively defeated both the Cornell Raiders in the second round and the Sewickley Panthers in the semi-finals to earn a repeat appearance in the 2018 Class A WPIAL Championship.

The Bears dominated throughout the Championship game to earn a 76-57 victory over the West Greene Pioneers, and charged ahead to States where their season ended in a hard-fought second-round loss.

In addition to team accolades, seniors Gia Thorpe and Ayanna Townsend reached two notable WT milestones this season: Ayanna became WT’s all-time leading basketball scorer, and Gia earned her 1,000th career point, becoming only the fourth player in WT Girls Basketball history to earn 1,000 points in WPIAL action. Both Bears also received various WPIAL and State honors.

“If I could sum this season up in one word I would say ‘spectacular,’” declared Coach Monica ‘Nika’ Williams. “What made this season so spectacular is not just the fact that we won our second Section title or even our second Class A Championship. It was watching the girls overcome all the obstacles in our way to get there. We became a team, a family, we pulled together. We are not just coaching student-athletes, but friends that will last a lifetime.”

Boys Basketball Makes Fifth Consecutive Playoff Appearance

Led by a strong group of starters, Boys Basketball advanced to WPIAL playoffs for the fifth straight year. Sophomore Dusan Krivokapic led the team with an average of 22 points and 13 rebounds per game, and was named to the All-Section team, and junior David Canavan was the top marksman behind the three point line. Despite their best efforts, the Boys Basketball season came to a close during the first round of playoffs in a tough 44-41 loss to a perennial Class A power, Cornell. The team ended the season with a record of 8-12.

“It was a pleasure to coach this year’s team,” shared Coach Jordan Marks, “We secured a playoff spot yet again in one of the toughest Class A sections, a direct testament to our committed and hardworking student-athletes. Despite a heartbreaking playoff loss in overtime, we can build on this success during next year’s campaign, as our entire team returns, and we hope to welcome some newcomers. The next season cannot arrive soon enough!”

Fencing: Fresh Talent Shows Promise for Next Season

Veteran fencers and coaches Iana Dakova and David Galinsky led the young talent that filled this year’s Fencing roster. With a slow start, both the Boys and Girls Fencing teams worked hard to improve as the season progressed. “At each meet both teams looked better, picking up a win or two every time they fenced,” noted Dakova. By the last meet of the season, the teams were fencing well, with standout performances from fencers Ian Frank, Class of 2020, and Kayla Zemek, Class of 2019. Despite marked improvements, both teams finished in fifth place, just missing a spot in the Pittsburgh International Fencing Association (PIFA) playoffs. But as Dakova points out, “The teams’ progress this season gives us high hopes for next year.”

Individual Athlete Spotlight: Tristan Forsythe

Reigning Class A Individual Cross Country State Champion, senior Tristan Forsythe, continued his success on the track this winter. In February, Tristan won fourth place at the Boys’ Mile race at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, a prestigious track and field competition in Boston, Massachusetts. Tristan also finished fifth in the Boys 3000-meter race at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association (PTFCA) State Indoor Track Championships. A decorated WT Athlete, Tristan is a WPIAL Champion and an Individual State Champion. He will run cross country and track at Georgetown University next year.

Individual Athlete Spotlight: Aria Eppinger

Sophomore Aria Eppinger secured two top-ten finishes at the WPIAL Swimming Championship. In the Girls 500 Freestyle race, Aria swam her way from thirteenth to fifth place with a personal record of 5:23.37 and qualified for States. She dropped almost eight seconds from her time in the Girls 200 Freestyle race to swim a lifetime best of 2:02.87, earning a place on the podium with a tied, eighth-place finish.