Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winners and Winners

More Clairton Stars

“Hot Coles burns competition: Clairton High School has always had successful extra-curricular activities. The band, the majorettes (Honeybears), the athletic teams, and other representatives of activities from the student newspaper to the school yearbook have won awards. Athletics have played a large part in molding young leaders and athletes. Today we feature CHS sophomore sprinter Trenton Coles who has been winning races and being named the MVP at various meets all school year. He has running in his blood. Not only was his mother, the late Marla Puryear Smith one of the greatest sprinters in WPIAL history, his grandfather and part time coach Norman Jones was the 1971 PIAA champion of the 100 year dash at Clairton. Trent Coles was also the field goal kicker on the football team whose toe helped the Bears to the state championship. Thanks to blog reader and CHS Alumni Tom Nixon for the tip about Coles.”

One year later several tips poured regarding the performance of sprinter Coles. Thanks to Tom as well as Bob White, Don Taylor and the others who sent information about our hometown. So what has happened with Mr. Coles since last year?

First, he helped the Bears win a second state football championship and earned himself another state championship ring. As a sophomore he was the kicker, but as a junior Trenton played wide receiver and defensive back. That combination, combined with his speed, has Division I schools, salivating over the possibility of landing him as a recruit next year. Once football season was over Trenton started running – not for office, but for the finish line on the track. Of course, there is no track in to run on in Clairton so his practice time was limited. The CHS junior is still being coached by his grandfather, Norman Jones who won the PIAA gold 40 years ago. Young Trenton Coles is less than half the age of his Grandpa, but he won twice the gold – two gold medals in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. The state competition was held at Shippensburg University. Last week, while running the same event at the WPIAL championship, Coles won more gold as he set a record for the 200 meter event, running it in 21.69.

How rare is it for a PIAA gold medal to be awarded to a Clairton runner? The last one, before Coles, was his grandfather’s gold in 1971. The medals were awarded to Coles by his grandfather, making the event even more special. Trenton and his two brothers live with their grandpa and his wife, Shirley. Their mother passed away two years ago. She ran for Thomas Jefferson and won six gold medals during her reign in the 1980s. Trenton’s mom. Marla, is considered by many to be the best track athlete in the history of Western Pennsylvania. Three generations of gold medal winners! Imagine! What makes this story even more amazing is that Trenton Coles only practices 1-2 days per week. It is not because he is lazy or unmotivated, but because Clairton does not have a track so he must drive to TJ to practice on their track.

What does the future hold for Trenton Coles? Well first, of course, he has to finish high school. He is an excellent student and an outstanding football player. That combination has brought scholarship offers from Pitt and Big 10 powerhouse Wisconsin. Does his speed as a trackster help him as a football player? As mentioned above, his record setting win at the WPIAL finals broke a record that was set in 2005 by Tommie Campbell of Aliquippa. Campbell played for Pitt and was recently drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Yes, speed matters if you’re a wide receiver. At 6’3” and 173 lbs. Coles is the ideal size for a wide receiver. Coles-Puryear-Jones; a Clairton family.

Another kind of family running competition: The Coles-Puryear-Jones family has been running for four decades. The Tachoir-Grisnik family has run together only once – during the recent elections. Kathy Grisnik Tachoir came from the family whose business was baking. Grisniks served bread, cakes, pastries and other baked goods to generations of Clairton residents from their bakery on St. Clair Avenue. She married Roger Tachoir and they operate a successful auto body shop business on Twelfth Street in Clairton.

Community service is in the blood of this couple. Kathy’s father, the late Frank Grisnik, Jr. served on the Clairton School Board for more than two and a half decades. Kathy and Roger have spent 38 years in the auto business together. Kathy is an Accredited Auto Manager as well as a Licensed Automotive Appraiser. She has also served five terms as president of Clairton’s Chamber of Commerce and is the recipient of the All Star Award from the Regional Business Alliance. Kathy is a Clairton gal born and bred.

Roger Tachoir is a retired Clairton school teacher who has served on the school board for eight years. His public service also includes serving as president and vice president of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Board, Steel Center Vo-Tech School Board, and Director of the Allegheny Health Consortium.

With 40 years of marriage and nearly that many of business and community service under their belts, Roger and Kathy decided to offer their expertise to the City of Clairton at the same time. During the recent elections Kathy ran for Ward 4 City Council and Roger ran for the Clairton School Board. Both were elected. We thank them for their contributions to the City of Clairton. Roger and Kathy Tachoir, a Clairton family.

A little blogging music Maestro: “Be Somebody,” by Paula Cole.

Dr. Forgot

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