Athletes rarely get to rest over summer

| Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 11:59 a.m.

Five times a week, Jake Pilewicz will work out for hockey. Three times a week, he'll actually take the ice. Then, he'll play a couple of baseball games with Quaker Valley palomino or the Beaver County based Sports Zone Express.Summer break? Hardly sounds like it.School might be out for the season, but barely any of the area's top high school athletes are kicking back on the front porch. Whether they play on travel or club teams or train independently or with teammates, young athletes might be hard-pressed during June, July or August to actually find time for school.It's no coincidence, though, that so many kids fill up the extra hours with activity supplemental to their school athletics. With academics taking precedence in-season, kids can use the offseason to try to improve in sports."One of the things I've learned is that it's kind of hard to take a step forward while in season," said Pilewicz, a rising senior at Quaker Valley. "In the offseason is when you can really take steps forward and try to get up on the competition."A lot of kids seem to share that sentiment, as Pilewicz joins many of his Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy contemporaries on the QV palomino baseball team, which plays about two games a week in the competitive Quad County league.The Express, a higher-level travel baseball team, is the 18-and-under squad fielded by the Sports Zone Baseball Academy that plays more frequently. Pilewicz and former Quaker Valley player Augie Luptak, who transferred to The Kiski School in Saltsburg, are on the roster.Sports Zone also fields tournament teams all the way down to the 11-year-old level. Sewickley Academy's Joe Nagel and Sam Duerr play for one of the 16-and-under teams with Quaker Valley's Tyler Garbee and Christian Miller.There's also a high-level traveling lacrosse program — True Lacrosse — that fields a high school team in the summer including Quaker Valley players Garrett Powell, Jimmy Perkins and Jake Trovato. This fall, True Lacrosse will also field a girls team.On top of that, Powell frequently plays tennis in the summer in addition

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