Much has been made recently about the athletic prowess of Lawrence County. Indeed it has been an extraordinary year.

It has provided us to root for the success of many student-athletes across the county. As a resident of Shenango, father of three Wildcat graduates, I know many a good young person on both the baseball and softball teams and gladly cheer for them (in every game, other than when the play the Spartans). As a Laurel graduate and current superintendent, I have watched our sports teams and competitors blossom and am fortunate to celebrate a unique three-peat of WPIAL championships for the softball program. 

Recently, these two special communities, Laurel and Shenango, whose high schools are 10 minutes apart, traveled an hour and 45 minutes to play for a WPIAL championship. It was a back-and-forth nail-biter. Laurel jumps up, 2-0. Shenango goes up, 3-2. Laurel ties the game, 3-3. Shenango takes the lead, 5-3. How can Laurel come back against a team and pitcher that threw a no-hitter the first time they met? Final score — Laurel 6, Shenango 5.

While I certainly congratulate the beloved Spartans and marvel at the uniqueness of the accomplishment, I believe it is also appropriate to tip the hat to the Wildcats. They were our opponent. They are our historical rival.

Good luck to coach Pat Quahliero and Shenango softball. May we meet again in the western finals! 

(Len Rich is the Laurel School District superintendent. )

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