Wrestling: Belle Vernon star will have a busy summer

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Belle Vernon wrestler Jarod Verkleeren. Read his story below.

The Verkleeren family will be traveling to Southeastern Europe in August, but it's not for a vacation.

The family will be visiting Sarajevo, the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to watch Jarod Verkleeren wrestle in the FILA Cadet Freestyle World Championships, which begin Aug. 25.

"My parents, my two brothers, and my sister will be making the trip to cheer me on," said Verkleeren, who recently completed his sophomore year at Belle Vernon Area High School. "I'm really looking forward to the trip. I didn't do well at last year's tournament. I lost in the first round, so I wanted another chance."

Verkleeren earned his second trip to the world championships by winning his weight class championship at the Cadet National Team Trials, which took place May 29-31 in Akron, Ohio. He competed in the 63 kilogram weight class, which translates to 138.75 pounds. He wrestled at 145 pounds during the past high school season.


Softball: Belle Vernon finding a way to win, no matter the odds

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Belle Vernon softball team.

2015 0605 BelleVernon Softball(Photo: Belle Vernon's Emily Frederick hits the game winning single scoring two runs against Yough in the WPIAL Class AAA softball championship at California University Thursday. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"Three days removed from the improbable come-from-behind stunner in the WPIAL Class AAA final, Belle Vernon Area coach Tom Rodriguez was still not quite sure how it happened.

Rodriguez watched as his team turned silver into gold by rallying from a three-run deficit against Yough in the bottom of the seventh inning.

When senior center fielder Emily Frederick lined a two-run, walk-off single into the outfield, it capped the comeback and a 5-4 Belle Vernon win against a very good Yough team. It was the Leopards' first WPIAL title since 2007.

"I don't know what to say," Rodriguez said after watching his team further extend the season with a 3-0 win against Punxsutawney Monday in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. "I still don't know how that happened. That was just the ultimate. I don't know, to make a comeback like that in the last inning, I don't think I can top that.""



Softball: Belle Vernon carries momentum into state playoffs

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Considering the way they won their WPIAL championship, a letdown could be excused for the Belle Vernon softball team. But the WPIAL Class AAA champions, fresh off a stunning three-run bottom of the seventh inning rally in the title game, kept their season alive with a much less dramatic win, Monday night in the PIAA first round. Belle Vernon blanked District 9 champion Punxsutawney, 3-0, to advance to the PIAA quarterfinals Thursday where it will meet WPIAL foe, Trinity. Trinity, a WPIAL semifinalist and third-place consolation game winner, was also on the winning side of a 3-0 shutout in the PIAA first round. The Hillers defeated District 10 Warren.

Belle Vernon and Trinity will return to the scene of Belle Vernon's stunning win over Yough in the WPIAL final, California University. The game will be played Thursday at 3 p.m.

Just four days removed from the WPIAL final, Belle Vernon coach Tom Rodriguez let his team relax Monday afternoon on the way to North Allegheny.


Photo Journal: Softball WPIAL AAA Championship - Belle Vernon vs. Yough (May 28)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .


The WPIAL Softball Championships were held at Lilley Field, California University, Thursday, May 28, 2015.  In the AAA game Yough faced Belle Vernon.  Belle Vernon pulled off a victory at the bottom of the 7th to win the championship 5-4.

Photos by Marilyn C. Schwilm, Tri-State Sports & News Service


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Alumni Update - Jessica Slagus (Seton Hill)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Seton Hill senior Mallory Sanner made history on Saturday afternoon as she became the first Seton Hill track and field athlete to earn fourSlagus SHU straight NCAA All American Awards.  Sanner earned the award with a third place finish in the javelin at the 2015 NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships in Allendale, Michigan. Sophomore Jessica Slagus earned her first All American Award with a second team All American Award after a tenth place finish.

Slagus, a Belle Vernon graduate, threw ninth in the second flight and opened with a PR throw of 43.92m.  She followed that with another PR of 44.71m.  

Jessica's last throw of 43.35m was not good enough to qualify her for the finals as she finished in 10th place overall, just missing the finals by one spot.  Slagus earned second team All American honors with the 10th place finish.


(photo courtesy of Seton Hill University)