Vanderbilt next stop for Plum's Cressler


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Nolan Cressler had to go through the basketball recruiting process for the second time. But this time, big-time programs chased him.

Cressler, a former star guard at Plum who decided to leave Cornell and transfer after this past season, said Monday night he had accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt.

Cressler, a 6-foot-4 guard, played two years at Cornell and was the team's leading scorer this season at 16.8 points a game. Since he decided to transfer, Cressler had scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, Dayton, Notre Dame and Rutgers. Pitt and Michigan were among other schools that showed interest, but neither offered a scholarship.

Cressler made a recruiting visit to Vanderbilt this past weekend. He will finish this semester at Cornell and have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

When Cressler signed with Cornell as a Plum senior, his other top choice was Yale. His other scholarship offers then were from Holy Cross, Boston and Saint Francis.

Cressler, a Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 selection, was an honorable mention all-Ivy League choice this past season. Besides his scoring, he averaged 4.2 rebounds a game and shot 36 percent (68 of 187) from 3-point range. He had 23 points and five rebounds against Syracuse and 17 points and nine rebounds against Notre Dame. But Cornell finished with a 2-26 record and was 13-18 in Cressler's freshman year.

Baseball notes

Is there a WPIAL hitter who has started the season hotter than Norwin's J.J. Matijevic?

Matijevic, a 6-foot, 198-pound shortstop, is on an unforgettable streak. He hit a home run Monday in an 11-5 victory against previously undefeated Penn-Trafford to give him six consecutive games with a homer. According to the National Federation of High Schools record book, that ties for the 12th-longest streak ever in the country.

On top of that, Matijevic has a hit in 10-consecutive at-bats. He has seven home runs and 25 RBIs in seven games this season. Matijevic signed in November with the University of Arizona.

"That's if he gets there," said Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski.

Matijevic could be selected in the June Major League Baseball draft.

* Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay was scheduled to put his 37-inning scoreless streak on the line Monday against Ambridge, but the game was postponed because of rain. He could pitch Wednesday against Central Valley.

* Butler has to be considered one of the surprise teams this season. The Golden Tornado is 6-2 and in first place of Class AAAA Section 1. This after going 2-16 last season. The Golden Tornado has allowed one or no runs in seven of eight games.

Historic night for Schwartz

Shaler star distance runner Brianna Schwartz ran in her first big meet Friday, and it was a night to remember.

Schwartz, a junior, won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the Butler Invitational, and both times were the best in WPIAL history. She ran the 800 in 2:10.15 and the 1,600 in 4:45.43. Schwartz already owned the best 1,600 time in WPIAL history of 4:47.07, run a year ago at the WPIAL championships. But she bettered that mark at Butler.

According to the Track & Field News, Schwartz's 1,600 time is the best outdoor mark in the country this year. She ran a 4:42.58 in the indoor season.

Her 800 time is the eighth best in the country this year and third best outdoors.

Coaching news

* Pine-Richland has opened its boys basketball position. Brian Gaetano was 51-66 in six seasons with one WPIAL playoff appearance.

How's the arm?

Coach Ralph Blundo guided the New Castle boys basketball team to a perfect record this past season. Now he's ready to take the mound at PNC Park. The team will be honored before the Pirates game Thursday against Milwaukee, and Blundo will throw out the first pitch.

For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at Mike White:, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.

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