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Skarupa new coach at Central

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Central’s Katelyn Poston (11) dribbles past a William Monroe player during the Region B quarterfinals on Feb. 22 in Woodstock. Mallory Skarupa is the new girls basketball coach at Central. Dennis Grundman/Daily file

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

Mallory Skarupa helped out a camp when she was in high school at North Allegheny (Pa.) High School and after helping some younger kids with the game of basketball knew what she wanted to do.

"Ever since then I knew I wanted to get into teaching and maybe do some coaching on the side," Skarupa said in a phone interview from Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Skarupa is doing both at Central. Last week she was named the new girls basketball coach at Central, replacing Stephanie Cooper. Skarupa was the JV girls basketball coach last year, and was an assistant for the varsity team.

"I was really excited when I found out I got it," Skarupa said. "Stephanie and I are really close, and I wouldn't have applied if I hadn't gotten her blessing. I talked to her about it before I applied."

Cooper coached the team for six years and had helped turn the program around. Last year the team advanced to the Region B semifinals, where it lost to eventual state champion George Mason. The Falcons won in the Region B quarterfinals for their first regional win since 1997.

Central athletic director Kenny Rinker said Cooper did a great job with the program during her time there.

"She took the program -- and by no means is it in shambles," Rinker said. "She's done a lot of good things for the girls basketball program. Last year we started out 3-7 and she had some issues she had to deal with, but we ended up eight points shy of the state tournament, losing to the eventual state champion.

"On behalf of Central High School we'd like to thank her for the six good years she put into working with the student-athletes of Central High School."

Skarupa played basketball in high school and for two years at Division III Grove City College. Last year was her first year at Central, where she teaches English.

Rinker said Skarupa seemed like a perfect fit for the program.

"She fit the bill of what we're looking for," Rinker said. "She's very enthusiastic. She has a lot of energy. She's a great teacher, first of all. She wants the kids to do well, and do the right things in the classroom and on the court as teammates."

Skarupa also was the head coach of the girls tennis team this past season. The girls tennis team had a very successful season as they won a district title for the first time in over a decade. Central's Molly Barb also advanced to the Group A state semifinals, becoming the first girls player to achieve the feat in over a decade.

Skarupa said she feels that coaching the girls tennis team and getting that first experience as a head varsity coach will help her with the upcoming basketball season.

Another thing that will certainly help Skarupa is having helped coach all of the players on the team before. Central's JV team went 12-8 last season. Skarupa said there are some talented younger players in the program, and she believes some of the rising freshman will help contribute to the varsity team this season.

Central ended the year with only eight players on the team and a 15-12 record, after losing two players during the season.

They are losing two seniors -- Theresa Barela and Rebecca Sigler -- to graduation. Rising junior Brenna Cook has also transferred to Millbrook.

"We have some work ahead of us," Skarupa said. "Obviously, we need to build the numbers back up. I think once we get the numbers back up we'll be good to go."

Skarupa said size will obviously be a weakness, the tallest returning player is 5-foot-7, but they should have plenty of team speed.

The Falcons should have five returning players, including leading scorer and rising junior Katelyn Poston.

Skarupa said last season ended on a down note with the loss, and some off-court drama.
With a little over four minutes left in the Region B quarterfinals, Cooper took Poston out of the game and the two argued on the sidelines. Shortly afterwards, Cooper tried to put her back into the game. However, Poston walked back to the bench, and eventually headed to the locker room. Poston did not start in the regional semifinals two days later to George Mason, but did come off the bench and led the team in scoring.

"We need the support of the parents and community," Skarupa said. "I think that's important. We have a chance to be very successful. We have a lot of young talent."

Skarupa said she has not had a chance to talk with the players yet, because she's been out of town, but will do so as soon as she gets back in town. Even though the team hasn't been doing any organized off-season activities, Skarupa said she doesn't think that will hurt the team for the upcoming season.

Skarupa said she plans on talking to assistant coach Sarah DiNardo this week, and begin talking about the upcoming season. Skarupa said she doesn't plan on changing much of what Cooper did, and plans to still use the motion offense that Cooper used.

"I think the motion offense is a great way to learn how to play the game," Skarupa said. "There are so many different sets you can use out of it."

One thing Skarupa said she does plan on doing differently is to have JV and varsity players practice together. Skarupa said she's excited to begin and for the upcoming season.

"I want us to play as a team," Skarupa said. "We're not going to have a big team, but we're fast. We have lots of athletic girls coming back. We know in the Bull Run District George Mason will be our toughest competition. And [William] Monroe has some big girls.

"It will be a challenge."


Nice choice. I think coach Skarupa will do a good job.

Skarupa may have went to college for 2 seasons to play basketball,but she did NOT play! After her second season ended,she left..because she played left bench! Practicing JV and Varsity together?!?! Those kids are put onto different levels for a reason! The Varsity level players are not going to be well prepared for varsity level games by practicing with JV players!! It is somewhat of an insult to the varsity players, I feel. Check her stats from last season,when the JV team lost it was by A LOT! And not to mention they never scored over 40 points in a game the ENTIRE season...good luck with the CHS basketball program. They barely had 8 players last year, this year they will be lucky to have that.

Now I see why the young lady made this comment - "We need the support of the parents and community," Skarupa said. "I think that's important."

I'm pretty sure she was talking about people like yourself. If you know so much why didn't you apply for the job?

It's not like she is doing something that is unusual by practicing the teams together.

I don't even live near Central High School and want to see them do well just to prove people like yourself wrong...

I was hoping with a new administration in Central High School that things would change for the better. You have chosen the most unqualified candidate in Skarupa. Just because someone played basketball in college does not mean they can coach. I attended many of the JV girls basketball games and saw Skarupa coach. There is no way she is ready for the Varsity level. Skarupa does not even know the talent that exists in that school and how will she even be able to recruit players to come back to the program. Despite what Kenny Rinker states everyone at CHS knows the girls basketball program is in "shambles." We lost a lot of talented girls that did not come out under Cooper and since her try outs were closed some girls were unable to even try out for the team. Your choice for the job should have been Shanna McComb. Shanna's knowledge of the game and ability to coach far surpasses Skarupa. Her record coaching girls basketball over four years at Central was 64-7. Her record speaks volumes, did the administration not even look at this? Shanna knows the talent in CHS and would have been able to recruit players to come back to the program that were lost under Cooper. The girls that have played under her know she was the one for the job and were begging her to come back and coach, it's just a shame administration could not see it too. If this decision is a glimpse of how CHS is going to be, then nothing will ever change.

If you attended any of the games last year you would see why the community is upset with this choice for a coach.

Agreed! can't say how disappointed I am with this decision. Skarupa is the most unqualified applicant they had. CHS obviously does not care about the future of girls basketball.

Your right. Central's basketball program is in shambles, but not because of the coaches. The problem is the parents that do their best to dictate when and how their daughter plays. From yelling for subs from the sideline to cornering the coach after the game. Some of these are the ones that wanted McComb back, not because of her ability as a coach but because they think their daughter stands a better chance of playing with her back. And coach Cooper had the best players on the floor. Any that didn't come back were not going to change the outcome of the season. I can't say I blame her for leaving with the garbage she put up with. Now you hear the constant echo of I'll just move my kid to Strasburg, Page, Stonewall, anywhere but here. Well by all means follow Mr. Cook out of town and let Coach Skarupa do what she can. At least she won't have to listen to you.

The problem with these message boards is that they give people a forum to express opinions as if they are facts. By being able to do so essentially anonymously, they have no accountability for their inaccuracies and personal attacks. No wonder our educators are faced with dealing with so much teenage drama and bullying. It's exactly what they kids are seeing and hearing from their parents. It reminds me of the quote, "Better to say nothing and let others think you are ignorant rather than opening your mouth and erasing all doubt." Do something more productive with your time - volunteer, clean up roadside trash, or simply say nothing - and the community will be a better place.

Many things have changed at Central High School recently. Unfortunately, what has not changed is the bitter, mean-spirited attitude displayed by a few parents who - instead of supporting the team and teaching their daughters to be team players - are set on tearing down instead of building up. At the end of the day, what are you teaching these young women? The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the whole. That is a formula that never works. I wish that you could have heard Kenny Lambiotte speak to the boys at the Kids and Pros Camp last week. He talked about how being part of the team and being the best you can be whether you start or ride the bench will color the way your life unfolds. Kenny started his college football career on the "scout team" which ran the opposing team's plays so the "real" players could practice. His coaches noticed his efforts and he got the opportunity to move to varsity and ended his college career as an All-American Quarterback who was drafted and played for Philadelphia. His career there was brief, but the lessons he learned through athletics have been part of his successful life. It is my hope that you will put down your poison pen and try to be the best parent you can be by supporting your child, her coach and the school. If not, then yes, it will be the same old thing - just a different year.

I agree 100% with you. Like I said in my post if they feel like they are more qualified they should have applied.

It is the job of the administration to put the most qualified person for the job in the position. Someone who has been in the program one year coaching JV is hardly qualified. Coaching stats speak for themselves. Cooks move speaks to the problems with the program. You can't tell me he moved to the state champion school for other reasons than basketball and you are right others should follow if they want their daughters to go anywhere.

I told myself I was not going to reply to any more inane comments by you, Woodstock14, but if you decide to become a fortune teller, count me as your first customer since you seem to know everything that people think and all the motives behind their actions. You must have a heck of a radar. Too bad you can't see up close enough to realize just how faulty your vision is. My advice? Be a Christian. Turn your cheek. Love your neighbor. Fight perceived injuries with kindness. You will be amazed at how far you can go and how this will affect your daughter. That is if you have a daughter who played basketball or volleyball or maybe plays softball. I might have a crystal ball too.

McComb was clearly the best choice for the benefit of the progam. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly has to be insane. Her record speaks for herself. Skarupa doesn't have nearly as much to offer as McComb. Central basketball will keep going downhill until the people who have experience under their belt get put into position. Until then CHS basketball will continue to go nowhere.

As a student athlete at CHS I can speak from the perspective of a student. Many of us play on travel teams where we spend 8-10 months a year working to make ourselves better. The bar is definitly set higher for ourselves and for our coaching staff. The selection of a coach is no easy task. If the homework was properly done for this coaching job it should have been an easy decision in picking McComb.

as a student athlete you should be posting your support for your coach. Not setting more obstacles in front of her. Parents of players and the players should be putting their efforts into promoting a positive light on the coaching selection and upcoming season. I'm sure if your a travel player your parents can tell you about those annoying parents and players that complain about everything.

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