It’s a long way from Weirton, W.Va., to The Swamp.
That’s where the journey has taken Ross Comis.
The redshirt sophomore will quarterback the University of Massachusetts football team against perennial power Florida Saturday in The Swamp, Gator fans’ fond nickname for the football stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
Comis’ parents grew up in Burgettstown and moved to Weirton in 1992. Ross attended Weirton Madonna High School, where he had a sparkling football career. He received a scholarship offer from Massachusetts and won the starting quarterback position this season. UMass, which no longer belongs to a conference, plays an independent schedule.
“This year, from Day 1, I’ve been more vocal definitely,” Comis told Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe this week. “When I talk, these guys eyes are on me, they listen to me, and they trust me. From Day 1, you can see the different change in the way that people look at me and trust me behind center.”
Interestingly, the head coach at UMass is Mark Whipple, who spent three seasons as Ben Roethlisberger’s quarterback coach with the Steelers. Comis sat behind last year’s starter Blake Frohnapfel but is ready to step in.
“He’s really excited and confident,” said Comis’ father Lou. “He’s never been a cocky kid, just real humble.”
Comis graduated from Weirton Madonna High school in 2013, where he led the football team to a 14-0 undefeated season and a West Virginia Class A state championship as a senior. Comis finished with 9,255 total yards and 121 touchdowns and was a Class A All-State First-Team selection as a junior and senior. His 4,839 career rushing yards and 71 rushing touchdowns were state records.
Comis played late against Notre Dame last season and completed all eight passes, including one for a touchdown.
Virginia junior forward Veronica Latsko recorded her first career hat trick and provided the offensive spark as the No. 4-ranked Cavaliers defeated Old Dominion, 4-0, Sunday.
Latsko, a Venetia native and former Pennsylvania Player of the Year while at Peters Township, scored three first-half goals and assisted on the lone goal in the second half.
“I was glad to see Veronica get the (hat trick),” Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. “She’s a tremendous athlete and player, and she’s improved a lot in her first two years here. It was good to see her get some goals and hopefully she can continue with that heading into a different part of our schedule.”
Latsko’s first goal came eight minutes into the match as she collected a loose ball in the box and put it in the net from 15 yards. She scored again in the 11th minute. She took a long pass and raced behind the defense, tapping the ball past the ODU goalkeeper.
Latsko made it a hat trick in the 21st minute when she took a pass in the middle of the box and found the back of the net.
Latsko is the leading scorer for Virginia (4-0) with four goals on 10 shots with 10 points.
Kyra Murphy, a sophomore goalkeeper from Canonsburg, stopped eight shots and helped Duquesne to a 2-0 victory over Pitt on Aug. 21.
A member of the Atlantic 10’s All-Rookie team last season, Murphy has a 1-1-1 record and 0.93 goals-against-average.
Former Canon-McMillan standout Riley Piechnick has been named assistant coach at Gettysburg College.
Piechnick is a 2016 graduate of Loyola University in Maryland, where she was a three-year starter and helped the Greyhounds to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title in 2012. Piechnick started 49 matches over her final three seasons at Loyola.
Point Park’s Shiloh Simonson, a senior outside hitter from Venetia and Peters Township High School, had a team-high 12 kills and 13 digs in the Pioneers’ recent five-game loss to Lindsey Wilson, the No. 3-ranked team in the NAIA. Lindsey Wilson won 26-24, 25-22, 16-25, 18-25, 15-12.
Simonson is in her fourth season as a starter and began the year with 874 career kills, 1,150 digs and a serve that has put her among the NAIA leaders in aces.
Phil Mary finished his first season at Mount Union leading the Purple Raiders’ pitching staff in appearances.
Mary, a Venetia native and Peters Township graduate, pitched in 16 games including four starts. He had a 4-2 record with two saves, two complete games and a 4.59 ERA. His four wins were the team-high for Mount Union, which had an 18-20 record.
The highlight of the season for Mary was his two-hit shutout of Alama (Mich.). In a 5-0 victory, Mary struck out a career-high 12 and did not issue a walk.