Greensburg Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Hempfield's Ricky Cavallo, Greensburg Salem's Karly Mellinger
Claim to fame: Cavallo (16-5) won his second Westmoreland County Coaches' Association title with a 7-3 victory over Ligonier Valley‘s Justin Patrick in the 113-pound finals Saturday. Cavallo, who has a 4.2 grade-point average, also finished fourth at the Powerade Christmas Tournament at Canon-McMillan.
“I think this weekend I did pretty well,” Cavello said. “I was ranked second in the tournament, and I wanted to win. This year we have had tougher opponents, and I thought I have done well for myself considering the harder schedule.”
How did you get started in wrestling?
I started wrestling when I was pretty young at 5 years old. It's something I enjoyed and it has been something I believe has improved me as a person. It's one of the toughest sports where it makes me think, ‘If I can do this sport, I can do anything.'
What were your goals going into the season?
I set my goals high in order to improve on how I did last year. I wanted to win Powerade since I lost last year and I wanted to make it to states and hopefully be victorious.
How do you keep your weight in check before weigh-ins?
I do a lot of running to keep my weight down. I always come in around my weight class during weigh-ins.
What do you like to eat after weigh-ins?
After weigh-ins, our coach provides the team with bagels with cream cheese and Gatorade.
Who is your role model and why?
Personally, I look up to my parents. They push and support me every day. They work hard every day and provide me with what I have today. I hope to do the same.
School: Greensburg Salem
Claim to fame: Mellinger, who is averaging 13.3 ppg and is second on the team in assists, scored 20 points to lead Greensburg Salem (10-3, 6-0) to a 61-41 win over Indiana in Section 3-AAA action on Jan. 10. Mellinger, who transferred from Greensburg Central Catholic, scored 28 points in 65-47 win over West Mifflin in the Hempfield Tournament on Dec. 29.
“I was excited for the new experience and we are starting to mesh and play good,” Mellinger said. “At first, we didn't start well with the loss to Central. But we are 6-0 in section play and we know how good we could be. It's starting to come together.”
Why did you decide to transfer from Greensburg Central Catholic?
I grew up with all the Greensburg Salem players. I missed playing with them. It just wasn't a good fit for me at Greensburg Central Catholic.
What has been the main factor for the team success this year?
Our coach (Janine Vertacnik) is the main factor. She pushes us each practice and knows how good we could be.
How is it to play with the Oberdorf sisters, Jayne and Claire?
It's a lot better this year to play with them because they are talented players. We are getting along this year and we know where each other are on the court. I know I need to get them the ball whenever one of the sisters are hot.
How do you think things will shake out the rest of the way?
I honestly think we can win our section and we can get to the WPIAL final. It's dependent on if we work hard and how much we want it.
Who is your favorite NBA player?
LeBron James. I have liked him while he has been at Miami. I know everyone is against him, and he has been one of my favorite players.
— Andrew John