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Guido: Beaver County Hall inductee Petruny held court in basketball, tennis

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

Former Springdale High School athlete Joe Petruny was recently inducted into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame.

Petruny, a 1964 Springdale graduate, played basketball at Geneva College and was an educator in the Hopewell School District for 34 years.

When one looks at some of the members of the Beaver County Hall, such as Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka and Sean Miller, prestigious doesn't begin to describe the organization.

“It was very humbling,” Petruny said.

“I couldn't sleep the night before the banquet. I wrote my acceptance speech at two in the morning.”

Petruny was a point guard on some outstanding Dynamos basketball teams under legendary coach Chuck DeVenzio. Petruny graduated just before the late Dickie DeVenzio took over the point guard spot as a sophomore.

One Chuck DeVenzio story that stood out with Petruny took place when the guard had chicken pox, and a big section game was coming up against Fox Chapel.

DeVenzio had the team bus stop by Petruny's house to pick him up.

Petruny eventually got into the game and contributed to a Dynamos victory in an era when Springdale routinely defeated schools two or three times its size, such as Penn Hills and Gateway.

While playing at Geneva, Petruny's sports career took an odd turn when he was asked by tennis coach Cliff Aultman to fill out a doubles team, though Petruny had never played the sport.

“He said he'd seen me play basketball and that I could play tennis,” Petruny recalled.

That started Petruny on a tennis playing and coaching odyssey that included six victories in the acclaimed Beaver County Tennis Tournament.

He later teamed with Glenn Caughey to train tennis players under a “bubble” at Brady's Run Park, the first all-weather facility of its type in the county.

Petruny taught tennis for 25 years in Beaver County.

His basketball prowess hasn't been forgotten, however, as Petruny was named one of the best 50 players in Geneva's first 100 years of basketball.

He was the Golden Tornadoes' team captain as a senior in 1967-68.

Plum pitcher Manuppelli heads to Upstate

One of the last local athletes of the Class of 2013 to announce his college choice was Plum's Zac Manuppelli.

The four-year varsity pitcher signed with the University of South Carolina Upstate.

The Spartanburg, S.C., school began playing Division I sports several years ago, joining the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2007.

“The first thing is an education,” Manuppelli said. “I went down there, and they have a great business school and a very nice campus.

“I feel like that's a good spot for me.”

Manuppelli's final appearance as a scholastic athlete came in the 10th annual WPIAL Coaches Association all-star game Sunday in Robinson Township.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander started for the Class AAAA all-stars and pitched the first three innings, giving up two runs.

“It's an awesome experience, I couldn't ask for a better opportunity,” Manuppelli said.

Manuppelli will play for the Steel City Wildcats this summer before heading to the Palmetto State in the fall.

The university was founded in 1967 as the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg before changing the name to Upstate in 2004.

George Guido is a freelance writer. His scholastic column appears Wednesdays.

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