Westmoreland high school notebook: Hempfield senior signs with Duquesne

Saturday, February 19, 2022 | 6:03 PM

A torn ACL and the accompanying surgery cost Capri DeCaro her senior basketball season, but the injury did not ward off college suitors looking to recruit the Hempfield senior for track and field.

A talented jumper, DeCaro signed last week to join the women’s program at Duquesne.

She had one of those feels-right connections with the Atlantic 10 program.

“After I visited Duquesne, I fell in love with the school,” DeCaro said. “Then I met the coaches and loved it even more.”

A WPIAL and PIAA qualifier last season, DeCaro was second in the WPIAL Class 3A triple jump (37 feet, 3 inches), and placed fifth in the long jump (17-1/2).

At the state meet, she took sixth in the triple jump (37-4 1/2).

She won the triple jump at the 2021 Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet.

DeCaro, who is five months into recovery from her injury, also considered Ohio, Akron and Youngstown State.

“There was just something about the city that I loved, and that it wasn’t too far away, but far enough to be away from home,” she said. “Last track season, I did not expect to do so well. But as I progressed and my coach (Nick Keefer) started talking about schools, it got me very interested. I really thought about it and realized how amazing it would be if I could go D-1.”

DeCaro has come to terms with losing her final basketball season. She would have been a key guard for the Lady Spartans.

“I think it has made me stronger mentally, and it will only push me to come back stronger for this outdoor season,” she said.

DeCaro is running again and slowly returning to jumps.

She hopes to get medical clearance to compete in about a month.

Reason to cheer

It will be a fun role-reversal for a good cause.

Mt. Pleasant and Southmoreland will have their “Swishes for Wishes” fundraiser March 25 at Southmoreland to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The schools’ cheerleaders will play basketball against each other, and the male athletes will be cheerleaders for their counterparts.

Don’t miss the halftime routine.

There will be a junior high game at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity main event at 7:30.

Additional fundraising efforts include a Chinese auction and raffle items.

Admission is $5.

Fetter in the finals

Latrobe senior Bobby Fetter, the quarterback of the football team last season, is a finalist for the Pittsburgh Community Service Award through the Challenge Program.

Fetter and teammate Tyler Lynch developed “Cats’ Pride,” a program where they took in donated sports equipment for young athletes to refurbish and use.

They received a $1,500 grant from a local donor, and another $1,000 from Dick’s Sporting Goods and opted to put on an essay contest for Latrobe elementary students. The winners got to shop for fresh gear at Dick’s.

Fetter and Lynch took the children on a shopping spree.

As for the community service award, candidates earn likes on Facebook and Instagram for their handiwork. The top vote-getter wins.

Fetter said the initiative could become a Westmoreland County-wide project.

Voting ends Monday.


Belle Vernon senior Joe Klanchar signed to compete as a thrower on the Duquesne track and field team. Klanchar also plays football and basketball for the Leopards.

• Aaron Alakson, a senior at Mt. Pleasant, signed to play Division II baseball in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference at Cal (Pa.). Alakson, a shortstop, has been one of the Vikings’ top hitters the last couple of seasons.

Greensburg Salem had three student-athletes commit to colleges. Senior Chelsea Stabile will continue her softball career at Chatham. She is a three-year letterwinner for the Golden Lions. Senior football player Preston Henry will play at Washington & Jefferson, and senior Catherine Martin is headed to Marietta for lacrosse.

• Sydney Mitchell, a senior at Hempfield, committed to play softball at Pitt-Johnstown.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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