When Tommy Shaw sang "I have too much time on my hands,'' the Styx frontman might have had this weekend and this sports writer in mind.
Usually, the Mirror is filled with feature stories, previews, multi-story game coverage and lots of photos from places like Indiana, Clarion and University Park this time in March as some area basketball team hits the home stretch in its run for a PIAA championship. An area team has played on finals weekend five years running and eight of the last 10 seasons.
However, with the Bishop Guilfoyle and Hollidaysburg girls falling by the wayside on Wednesday, the final two of the 10 area teams to make the states were knocked out of the tournament.
To put into perspective how unusual it is for the Mirror not to be covering one of its teams on state quarterfinals weekend, this is the first time it's happened since the PIAA expanded to four classifications in 1984.
On the positive side, the lineups of a lot of the area teams that made interdistricts will be back intact in 2012-13. The Guilfoyle girls return four starters. Five of the top seven players return for the Hollidaysburg and Altoona girls. Northern Cambria has five starters coming back, Bishop Carroll four and BG three among the Class A boys qualifiers.
However, the road to the tournament next year will get narrower, as the PIAA has passed elimination of its preliminary round play-in games. That means in Class AAAA girls, Altoona and Hollidaysburg could be competing against each other as well as State College - which had no seniors - for potentially one postseason berth.
PIAA executive director Brad Cashman said, though, on Friday the play-in round could be reinstituted before next winter's tournament schedule is made.
n Speaking of someone who could go far in the PIAA tourney next year, look to Sarah Fye.
The Ramey native and former Moshannon Valley High School softball star who played collegiately at St. Francis, Fye became the first woman since Kathy Kendall in 1993 to officiate a District 5 championship game when she handled the Berlin/Southern Fulton Class A girls final with Don Donaldson and Rod Brumbaugh.
Fye wasn't eligible to move on to interdistricts, though, because she's only been reffing varsity games for four years, and an official needs at least five to get a state playoff game.
n Penn State's 2013 football recruiting is off to a nice start, and the Nittany Lions' class may grow by one this weekend.
Although he told Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell that he still wants to see some other schools, there is a lot of speculation that Brendon Mahon will commit to the Lions when or soon after he visits Happy Valley with his parents today. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound third-team all-New Jersey guard is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and currently at three stars by the other services.
A source close to Mahon told the Mirror Penn State and Rutgers seemed way out in front for him.
Penn State also is entertaining blue-chip Washington, D.C. corner Devin Butler this weekend. Meanwhile, the Lions look to be gearing up for another big recruiting weekend centered around the Coaches Clinic scrimmage at the end of the month when current commits like Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman are expected to be back on campus to help recruit the likes of 6-foot-9 offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and ultra-fast running back David Williams, both of Philadelphia.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.