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Jeannette grad Paulone making moves at Waynesburg

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

This spring was already busy for Thomas Paulone, a Jeannette High School and junior at Waynesburg University.

First off, there are the academic rigors of the semester, as Paulone carries a 3.36 grade point average while working toward a criminal justice degree with a minor in political science.

There's also spring football practice, as Paulone and his Yellow Jacket teammates begin to gear up for next season.

And spring is also when Paulone competes in his second sport for Waynesburg, golf.

If that weren't enough, Paulone leaned of a new position he'll add to his plate.

And he couldn't be more excited about it.

Last week, Paulone was named the vice president of the NCAA Division III Presidents' Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“I was ecstatic when I found out,” said Paulone.

“It's a great honor. I have the utmost respect for the conference I play in ... I'm proud to be a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.”

As a news release from the PAC explained, “The committee is made up of student-athletes from schools throughout the conference who “provide insight on the student-athlete experience and to offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on PAC member campuses.

“The SAAC serves as a conduit of communication among student-athletes, coaches, and athletics administrators on issues to improve the student-athlete experience and promote growth and education through sports participation.”

“The position entails being ‘the voice of the student athlete' in our conference,” said Paulone.

“We meet directly with the NCAA on certain issues and roles.

“An example would be something we voted on the other day, such as should Division III women's basketball team be allowed to (scrimmage) men's scout teams? Should contact be allowed during spring football?”

Paulone has been involved in Waynesburg's SAAC for some time.

He recently spoke at the PAC's annual conference meeting and that's where Aaron Wilkinson — a senior soccer player at St. Vincent and the PAC's SAAC current president — nominated him.

Bortak, Juniata ready for post-season

The men's volleyball post-season gears up this weekend, and Jeannette area native Joe Bortak and his teammates at Juniata College are more than ready.

Juniata, a Division III power, entered the week 22-10 overall and 6-2 in the Continental Volleyball Conference (they played Princeton Tuesday night but the match ended too late for this edition).

That record is deceiving, though, as the team has even played Division I teams such as George Mason and Ohio State.

The Eagles will compete in the CVC tournament this weekend.

Should they win, they'll qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Bortak, a middle blocker and one of the team's top players, said his squad is ready for the challenge.

“Confident would be a great way to describe (the mood of the team),” he said.

“We have a great deal of confidence. We have a four-match winning streak going into the post-season. We're ready.”

Cortazzo cruises

Jeannette grad Kirstie Cortazzo had another big week for the Gannon University softball team.

The junior second baseman had a double and RBI in game two of Gannon's sweep of Ursuline College on April 4.

Then, in game two of Gannon's sweep of Clarion on Sunday, Cortazzo clubbed a two-run homer and an RBI single.

Cortazzo has a .400 batting average, a .443 on-base percentage and a .726 slugging percentage. She has three home runs and a team-high 23-RBIs.

Gannon is 19-1 overall and 4-0 in the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Weightman scores

Brian Weightman, a junior outfielder on the St. Bonaventure baseball team, scored a run in the Bonnies' 6-5 win over St. Joseph on Saturday.

Weightman, a Jeannette graduate, was serving as a pinch runner and scored on Billy Urban's eight inning double.

St. Bonaventure is 8-14 overall, 2-4 in the Division I Atlantic 10 Conference.

Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.

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