The value of a coach: Greg Molnar

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By William Hetrick

Coaches have banquets.  It has become a time-honored tradition with nearly all sports at all schools.

Athletes get awards, gifts, and accolades.  I suppose it’s a nice way to wrap up the season.

The coach gets a gift and thanks from the booster club, the season ends, and life goes on.  But not always.

Greg Molnar retired as boys basketball coach at Saegertown High School at the close of this past season, a season that saw him register his 100th win, one of only four coaches in our school’s history to achieve that feat.  Longevity.

He spent a decade and some change coaching our boys.  He’s coached pretty much consistently since his first gig in 1984.

It’s not easy sticking with something so long, especially in today’s environment where your credibility is measured in the win-loss column, and you have twenty or more “assistant coaches” in the stands at every game.

Coach Molnar stuck it out–through losing seasons, some good ones despite his record, and through winning seasons, ones he felt could have been better, I’m sure.  It’s the way of the true coach.

You can always do better, get better.  Usually, you remember the close losses more than the dominant wins.  The kids more than the outcome.  And that is why I’m telling you about Greg Molnar.

Sure, he teaches next door to me in the English department at school.  Yes, we’ve had discussions about coaching as we’ve been doing it, though in different sports, for a long time.

We both see the value in sport as a way to see to the core of what kids are capable of doing.  We both see how character is built one drill at a time.

Coaches come and go.  It’s the way of it, the way it’s supposed to be, in fact.  When you leave, the slow ebb of time washes away your achievements, your records, even your legacy.

The full body of your day in the sun becomes a shadow fading into the distance.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t say some things of value about our coach.

I saw him take a technical foul at Iroquois so a unique athlete on their team could make a basket.

It was one of the most selfless and thoughtful acts I’ve seen in my years of coaching.

I’ve seen him play athletes who should have never seen the court because they earned the right in practice.

Greg Molnar 2

Coach Molnar received the game ball from his 100th win at the banquet. 

I’ve seen him allow players to miss practices to attend other activities, like go hunting with a grandfather or attend a school trip; many coaches I know think the world revolves around their practice schedule.

How dare you do anything other than my sport during our season!  Not Coach.  He is a small town coach in charge of small-town athletes.  And he sees the value in each small-town kid.

At his final banquet, Coach complimented his athletes, apologized to many, told his final story. I was there.  It was awesome.  He will go the way of all great coaches.

But I will remember.  His former players will remember.  They are better for having had him teach them basketball.

And life. And that is the real measure of a coach.  Greg, it was a great banquet.  And career.  You deserve to be remembered.

(William Hetrick  coaches cross country at Saegertown High School. He also teaches next door to Greg Molnar. Both are veteran English teachers and coaches.)

SHS Track Club is up and running

By Mason McClure, staff writer

SHS Track Club is just that–a club.  There are no varsity letters to earn or Region titles to win.  Runners participate in track just to see if they can meet the qualifying standard for the District 10 Championship held at Slippery Rock University on Saturday, May 8.

The runners, including seniors Gabe DeYoung and Ben Crowl, as well as several other returners like junior Maddie Mondi, are hard at practice to get ready.  They are able to run at MASH’s home meets and various invitationals in the region, such as at Franklin, Fairview, and Hermitage.

Coach Bill Hetrick said, “We are really just a great group of kids who run various distances from the 100-meter dash to the 3200-meter run, to see if they can make Districts.”  Senior captain Gabe DeYoung said, “I want everyone to work towards their goals and work hard during practice.”

Lady Panthers looking for redemption

By Nick Archacki, news editor

Last spring, the Saegertown softball team was on the prowl to win their first state title after having an unbelievable season on the diamond. Sadly though, the Panthers lost a battle to Mount Union 4-2 in the second playoff game of the PIAA Championships.

Even though the season ended in a grind against Mount Union, the Panthers had a year to remember as they posted a 20-5 record, led the Class AA rankings and won the Region 3 title for their fifth straight year.

Now that the season has officially started for the ladies, they are ready to conquer the field once again with leadership from four returning and very talented senior players: Elizabeth Hasko, Courtney Hess, Carlie Schlosser, and Sarah Swartout. The team also includes four juniors, two sophomores, and eight freshmen.

Hess, one of Saegertown softballs’ best pitchers ever, is confident about the upcoming season and her teammates: “I think we’ll be a good team this year, we just have to keep working at it and reach our goals.” Swartout, who is a dominant force on the infield, is also in good spirits about this year’s campaign. “I think we’ll do good if we work hard because we have a young team. I also believe we will do well if we all work together and complete the plays to win games.”

Both Hess and Swartout have goals for their final softball season: to have a good batting and fielding average and to improve [their] defensive skills. Hess also mentioned that she is going to try her best to continue to be a leader for the younger girls, inspiring them to work hard at the game of softball.

However, the team will have to cope with the loss of a beloved coach this season. Tom Brunot, who coached Saegertown softball for over a decade recently passed away at the age of 62 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Hess and Swartout both experienced Coach Brunot’s love for coaching and his players: “He’ll always be with us no matter where we go and no matter how good or bad we’re playing. He’s our driving force to do well and keep playing, we’re going to dedicate this season to him. He always had a positive attitude, always had your back, and made you feel like a great person.”

The Lady Cats are currently in Kissimmee, Florida for Spring Training and will return April 1. The Panthers’ next game is on April 3 at Rocky Grove and their next home game is on April 4 vs. Northwestern at 4 p.m.

‘State of the Art’ technology fuels future success

By Mason McClure, staff writer

Monday through Sunday, night and day, Saegertown students use their electronics and technology for homework and in-school assignments. Technology is everywhere; it’s entwined into almost every aspect of our culture.

Junior Josh McWright adjusts the battery on a bot for the RoboBots competition.

Using technology in the classroom gives teachers the opportunity to develop their students’ digital skills. It’s one thing to use electronic devices; it’s another thing to know how to use them correctly and responsibly.

Newer electronics and machinery are essential for modern-day careers, so it only makes sense that our schools should have them too. In classes like Robotics, Wood Tech, and Tech Education, students are taught how to properly use modern technology. Students choose electives like these to expand their knowledge, or even to help themselves pursue long-term goals.

According to an article from securedgenetworks.com, “If used correctly, mobile devices and the applications they support, will help prepare students for their future careers.”

Robotics teacher Mr. Nahay emphasizes that, generally, schools should invest more funding into modern advancements and machinery, “Students need experience using modern technology, comparable to technology in workplaces,” he said.

Junior Zane Schlosser, a robotics student, shared his input about the importance of technology in school: “I think technology should be utilized in every subject for school. It can help you prepare for the workforce. Any career you decide, technology will be a huge factor.”

Students and faculty members should have more input on the school’s investment into these advancements. “You have to continually invest in technology,” said Mrs. Stacey Hetrick, journalism advisor and English teacher. “I appreciate the iPad initiative, but I hope the district will continue to invest in computers. I also wish the district would reinstate the ‘bring your own device’ program.”

Schlosser hopes the district will continue to make cutting-edge technology a priority: “The closer to state of the art, the better. When entering the workforce, you will be using newer technology. If our school decided to invest in more advanced technology, we would have a better look into possible future careers.”

Saegertown teachers saddle up for ‘Donkey Basketball’

By Bree Snyder, staff writer

For a second year, teachers from Saegertown will face off against Maplewood in a game of donkey basketball. Principal Tom Baker, teachers Phil Young, Chris Greco, Kelli Peters, Kathleen Mattera, Shannon Stewart, Rose Baker, Brian Hanley, and cafeteria worker Memory Irwin will compete on behalf of SES and SHS.

Exactly as the name suggests, players from both schools will be seated on the backs of donkeys (provided by Buckeye Donkey Ball) while attempting to shoot hoops and score points for their respective teams.  

According to Maplewood PTO co-president Jenna Barickman, all proceeds will be split between the Maplewood Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Saegertown PTO. A Chinese Auction and raffle tickets will also be available for purchase.

“I’m looking forward to having fun,” Mr. Greco said. “I have friends from Maplewood, so I know it will be all in good fun.”

The action will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 in the Maplewood High School gymnasium. Entrance fees are $6 for advanced admission and $8 for gate admission. Children under six are free with paid adult admission.

For more information, you can email barickfam@gmail.com or call (814) 337-1659.

Singers set for region chorus competition

By Morgan Radwick, design editor


After a remarkable performance at District Chorus, four Saegertown students will be moving on to regions taking place this week.

The 2019 PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) Region Chorus competitions will be held at Clarion High School from March 21-23.

Participating students from Saegertown this year are as follows; junior Carson Jones (Tenor II), junior Oliver Smith (Bass I), junior Sam Shelenberger (Bass ll), and senior Madison Morgan (Alto l). They will be accompanied by Mrs. Susan James. Each of the four advancing singers are members of Chambers Singers at Saegertown. “Regions is just a more technical version of Districts, It’s time to see who can put the passion and the intricacies into their music,” Jones said.

The students had to place in the top ten out of approximately twenty-five other contestants at District Chorus. Auditions and competitions will be held shortly after arrival on March 21.

The singers will then warm up in a group while a meeting for the directors is held. After a quick warm up, they will gather in their respective sections and be summoned, one at a time, into a room with three judges and a Sergeant of Arms.

The auditioning students are not to talk to the judges (their backs are turned to the student auditioning) so if they have a question, they ask the Sergeant of Arms.  The SA is also there to help students stay calm.

The students then audition with two pieces of music from their folder, which they received before the competition. Participants are expected to sing their part from the music with only a starting pitch. They are judged on correct pitch, rhythm, intonation, breathing, diction, etc. If the singers receive a high-enough score from the judges, they will move on to the State competition in Pittsburgh on April 3.

Rehearsals for the concert will be held Friday, March 22 and the concert will Saturday at Clarion High School at 2 p.m. Results from the Saegertown student auditions will be available on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.