Westmoreland high school notebook: Ligonier Valley’s Jablonski gets offer

Saturday, March 23, 2019 | 8:14 PM

Ligonier Valley already has one football lineman who is drawing Division I attention in junior Michael Petrof. Now, it has two.

Junior Christian Jablonski last week received his first offer, from Cornell.

The school also offered Petrof, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound two-way tackle who who already had offers from Fordham, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Harvard, and Dartmouth.

Ligonier Valley will have tremendous size up front with this pair.

Jablonski is a 6-5, 260-pound tackle and defensive end.

He has attended junior days at Fordham, Lafayette and Penn.

“It begins with Christian’s size and athleticism,” Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel said. “He has a tremendous work ethic, which is evident by the fact that he played at 240 pounds for us last season and is now 260. He goes to Rusnock’s Sports Performance Center twice a week with Mike Petrof. They are both faster now than last season, and both have added 20 pounds of muscle.”

Salopek adds offer

Norwin junior quarterback Jack Salopek added an offer from Yale to his growing list. Others are from Pitt, Youngstown State, UMass, and Duquesne.

Salopek said he wants to commit before his senior season.

The 6-2, 175-pounder completed 116 of 226 passes for 1,790 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, often scrambling to avoid pressure.

Brose adds two

Hempfield junior lineman Fintan Brose (6-4, 280) added two more Division I offers, from Florida International and Tulane.

Leighty to Baldwin Wallace

Former Southmoreland quarterback John Leighty, who played at The Kiski School for two years, announced he will play at Baldwin Wallace.

Leighty (6-3, 205) passed for more than 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns for Kiski School, which went unbeaten in 2017, the first time that happened in 60 years.

Leighty said playing at a prep school boosted his recruiting.

He also had interest from Muhlenberg, Allegheny, Juniata and Wooster.

Giallonardo gets invite

Dom Giallonardo could be in for a “Wild” night.

The Mt. Pleasant senior who is inspiring more people each day with a comeback story of how he beat cancer twice was invited to be a special guest at a Washington Wild Things baseball game in the summer.

After the team read about Giallonardo’s exploits and imminent return to baseball, they reached out to him on Twitter.

The Wild Things want him to throw out the first pitch and be the “Ambassador” for their “Baseball Fights Cancer Night.”

They invited Giallonardo, his family and the Mt. Pleasant team.

Evans honored

Yough’s Tom Evans was the recipient of the NIAAA State Award of Merit at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Conference.

Volleyball ranks

The Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association released its preseason rankings for the boys spring season.

The Class AAA top 10 is: 1. North Allegheny; 2. Bethel Park; 3. Seneca Valley; 4. Latrobe; 5. Norwin; 6. Penn-Trafford; 7. Hempfield; 8. Shaler; 9. Pine-Richland; 10. Baldwin.

The Class AA top 10 has: 1. Ambridge; 2. Seton LaSalle; 3. Derry; 4. Deer Lakes; 5. Bishop Canevin; 6. Obama Academy; 7. North Catholic; 8. Montour; 9. Beaver County Christian School; 10. OLSH.

Hempfield stranded

Hempfield, the only three-peat state softball champions in the PIAA’s largest classification, found itself stuck on the Turnpike for just more than two hours Monday after the team’s school bus conked out on the way home from Harrisburg.

Hempfield was honored for winning another PIAA title with a tour of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex and had a meet and greet with senators and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.

The road trip to Harrisburg is becoming a regular thing for Hempfield. Longtime coach Bob Kalp, though, had not attended previous trips. He didn’t anticipate an extended pit stop.

“We didn’t expect to be stuck at a Bob Evans in Breezewood, but it was a nice trip,” Kalp said. “The girls had a good time. But it turned into a long day.”

Kalp, in his 23rd season as coach, helped some players with their chemistry homework while the team waited for another bus to arrive from Hempfield.

The Spartans went 24-3 last season and won their fourth straight WPIAL title and third consecutive PIAA championship.

Hempfield began the season No. 1 in the Tribune-Review Class 6A rankings.

Notable quotable

“Nothing is guaranteed. Well, there is one thing: Everyone wants to beat us. You’re the nice neighbor all these years, and they’re still coming for you.” — Kalp on Hempfield being a potential favorite to win it all again.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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