Westmoreland notebook: Norwin’s Young added to East-West All-Star Game

Saturday, March 19, 2022 | 6:16 PM

Better late than not at all.

Norwin senior football player Jacob Young was added to the West roster for the big-school East-West All-Star Game set for May 29 at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg.

Young is a two-way lineman who played center, tackle, guard and defensive tackle for the Knights. He also can handle long-snapping duties.

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Young has committed to play at Notre Dame College, a Division II program in Ohio.

What is interesting about the East-West selection is his brother, Zach Young, played in the same all-star game in 2015. He also was a two-way lineman who went on to play at Thiel.

Jacob Young was a nominee this year for the Bill Fralic Award, which recognizes the top interior lineman in the WPIAL.

Whitlock’s career

Devin Whitlock did not play in Belle Vernon’s final two basketball games, both in the PIAA playoffs.

By all accounts, that is the last fans will see of Whitlock in basketball. He is set to fulfill a preferred walk-on commitment to Pitt football.

The senior shared his on-court talents with Westmoreland for four years, including one at Monessen as a freshman.

Whitlock finished with 1,723 career points, 1,236 of which came at Belle Vernon.

The 2020-21 season was shortened to 15 games for the Leopards because of the ongoing pandemic. He scored 557 as a sophomore in 28 games.

Whitlock only knew the postseason in his brilliant, two-sport career.

In basketball, he made the WPIAL semifinals four times, and the finals once. His teams went to the state playoffs every year, and he played in the PIAA semifinals as a freshman.

In football, he also was 4-for-4 in playoff trips, reaching the WPIAL semis three times and the finals twice.

Whitlock’s teams went 71-25 in basketball and 33-8 in football. That’s a combined 104-33 record over four years.

Big 5/6 stars

The Big 5/6 Conference, which recognizes the play of athletes and teams in the WPIAL’s two largest classifications, announced its all-section teams for basketball.

The boys’ Section 3-6A first team included Hempfield senior Sean Gordon, Norwin junior Adam Bilinsky and senior Nick Crum of Penn-Trafford.

In 5A, Section 3 first-team players were senior Caden Smith of Franklin Regional and junior Landon Butler of Latrobe.

Smith is unique in that he has garnered first-team honors in baseball, football and basketball in consecutive seasons.

Girls’ Section 1-6A included Norwin senior Brianna Zajicek and sophomore Lauren Palangio, while John Giannikas of Penn-Trafford was the section’s coach of the year.

The first team from Section 4-5A had Latrobe’s Anna Rafferty (senior), Emma Blair (junior) and Elle Snyder (sophomore), and Greensburg Salem senior Abby Mankins.

Norwin placed multiple players on the second and third teams.

Seniors Michael Fleming and Ty Stecko made the second team, and junior Ryan Edwards was a third-team pick.

For the girls, seniors Maggie Race and Alyssa Laukus made the second team.

Tapper shines

Hempfield junior Liz Tapper earned dual All-American honors at the Nike Indoor National meet March 11-13 at Ocean Breeze Track and Field in Staten Island, N.Y.

She opened the event with a sixth-place finish in the weight throw (45 feet, 10.5 inches), then won the emerging elite pole vault as she cleared 12 feet, 3/4 inch.

She also took fourth in the shot put.

Teammate Cydney Blahovec finished sixth in the emerging elite 800-meter race (2 minutes, 20.61 seconds).

Yough coaches

Yough filled its soccer coaching vacancies.

Ron Dushak was named the boys head coach, while Mike Veychek will lead the girls.

Dushak replaced David Vilchek, who resigned after three seasons. Dushak was Vilchek’s assistant for two years and has coached travel soccer in the area.

Yough made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016.

Veycheck, also heavy into the cup and travel scene, takes over for Dann Appolonia, who left the sidelines after 10 successful seasons.

Appolonia finished with a record of 134-46-6 and never missed the playoffs, guiding the Lady Cougars to four WPIAL semifinals, a finals appearance and a PIAA spot.



Greensburg Salem senior basketball player Ben Thomas, who made a splash when he finally returned from injury this season, will further his career at Pitt-Greensburg.

Thomas, a shooting guard, had back-to-back 40-point games when he came back in late January.

Ligonier Valley soccer player Bjorn Sigurdsson is headed to Penn State Greater Allegheny.

• Belle Vernon senior baseball player Josh Hoffman committed to Barton College, a Division II school in Wilson, N.C.

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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