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Wrestling: Belle Vernon standout advances to event in Slovakia

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

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

Jarod Verkleeren and his parents will travel to Slovakia in the middle of July, but it's not for a family vacation.

Verkleeren, who recently completed his freshman year at Belle Vernon, qualified for the FILA Cadet World Wrestling Championships July 15-20 in Snina, Slovakia.

"I'm so excited," said Verkleeren, who has never traveled overseas. "This is a real game-changer."

Verkleeren qualified by winning the 63-kilogram weight class, which translates to 138.75 pounds, at the FILA World Qualifier May 23-25 in Akron, Ohio.

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Baseball: South Feature Athlete - Dylan Pietrantoni, Belle Vernon

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Dylan Pietrantoni
School: Belle Vernon
Grade: 12
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher

Background Info: When Pietrantoni is on the mound, Belle Vernon has a chance to beat just about anybody. Pietrantoni, a senior right-hander, is 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA and has 43 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. A team captain, Pietrantoni has given up more than one earned run in just one of his six starts. His finest performance came in a 1-0 win against Ringgold on April 8. In that game, Pietrantoni fired a one-hitter and struck out 16. In a 4-0 win against Greensburg Salem in the season opener, Pietrantoni pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Offensively, Pietrantoni is hitting .294 with a team-high nine RBIs.

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Track: Gaul, McCaskill win titles for Leopards

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Belle Vernon had two champions at the Big South Invitational last Wednesday.

For the girls, Gianna Gaul won the discus with a throw of 120-5, which was almost five feet farther than the second-place finisher, Deilona DeVaughn of West Mifflin. The Leopards’ Kaitlyn Slagus finished third.

Gaul also finished sixth in the javelin and eighth in the shot put.

Marcel McCaskill, a junior won the 400 meters by a little more than a second over Chartiers Valley’s Sean Paraenti and Jake Collins

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Baseball: Big season could be in store for Belle Vernon

Written by Brad Everett on .

A year after winning a section title, Belle Vernon slipped to third place a season ago.

The Leopards might have what it takes to reach the summit again this season.

Belle Vernon is off to a perfect start. The Leopards were 3-0 heading into Monday's Class AAA Section 4 opener against West Mifflin.

"Because of this team's attitude and work ethic, I think that this team can be in the hunt for the section title and/or a playoff berth," first-year coach Daryl Hixenbaugh said.

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Boys Basketball: South Feature Athlete - Belle Vernon's Jason Capco

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Jason Capco
School: Belle Vernon
Grade: 12
Sport: Boys Basketball
Position: Guard

Background: Belle Vernon won't make the playoffs this season, but could still finish with a winning record. A big reason for that has been the play of Capco, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who is averaging a team-best 20.6 points per game. That's more than any other South area player.

Capco had a great two-game stretch in mid-January. He scored 29 points in an overtime win against Ringgold and followed that up with a career-high 36 in a loss to Class AAAA Section 4 leader Thomas Jefferson. As a junior, Capco averaged 15.8 points per game.