New Castle News

Sports

July 2, 2014

Athletes of the Year: Meet the girls candidates

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County females put on quite the performance during the 2013-2014 academic year.

From a state gold medal to individual first-team recognition, there was no shortage of quality efforts by the local high school athletes.

Fifteen competitors separated themselves from the pack, but only one will reach the mountain top when the New Castle News announces its Female Athlete of the Year tomorrow.

Individuals in just one sport qualify for nomination, but special consideration is given to multi-sport athletes.

Following are the athletes, listed in alphabetical order:

MADISON ALTMYER

Altmyer was a standout in volleyball and softball for Neshannock.

Altmyer worked her way into one of the Lady Lancers’ go-to hitters as they posted a pair of upsets in the WPIAL playoffs before bowing out in the semifinals as a senior outside hitter for coach Andrew Frank. Neshannock earned a spot in the PIAA playoffs, but was swept by District 10 champion Cochranton.

She earned first-team All-Section 3-A honors at the conclusion of her senior season after posting 209 points, 143 kills, a 68 percent kill efficiency and 61 aces.

Altmyer routinely batted fifth and started at shortstop for the two-time WPIAL Class A champion Lady Lancers.

She pounded out 23 hits in 51 at-bats for a .451 batting average and was tied for seventh in the county with 21 RBIs. She also scored 21 times.

Altmyer, who was Neshannock’s valedictorian this year, will attend Penn State University in the fall.

RACHAEL BAKER

Success followed Baker around this year at Laurel with her volleyball, basketball and softball teams all qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs.

The Lady Spartans senior was named to the Section 3-A first team after helping Laurel volleyball team to its first playoff victory in over six years by edging Geibel Catholic 3-2 in a WPIAL preliminary-round battle at North Allegheny.

She registered 91 points, 81 kills and 21 aces from her outside hitter post.

The 5-foot-7 guard/forward canned 68 percent of her free throws (51 for 74) and contributed 7.3 points a game.

She reached double figures eight times, while posting a season-high 18 points in a 65-48 win over Wilmington.

Behind Baker’s steady play, the Lady Spartans flirted with a WPIAL Section 2-AA title before finishing in third place behind rivals Neshannock and Mohawk. Laurel topped Ford City 43-37 in a preliminary-round contest at Butler before falling to Greensburg Central Catholic in a first-round clash at Fox Chapel.

Baker bounced between shortstop and center field for the Lady Spartans, who dropped a 3-0 decision to Keystone Oaks in WPIAL first-round action, and was credited by Laurel coach Lori Krol for her defensive efforts.

Baker, who was Laurel’s valedictorian this year, was among the county leaders in batting average (.354) and total hits (17) while batting seventh for Laurel.

She will attend Philadelphia College and plans to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant.

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