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Alle-Kiski Valley notebook: Letter of intent day looms for large crop

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 12:15 a.m.

A hefty crop of Division I football talent will make their college decisions official when the initial signing period begins Wednesday.

Letter of intent day will usher in the next-level careers of up to 10 players from the Alle-Kiski Valley. The unique group was recruited for a wide range of positions.

Highlands' Allan Cratsenberg, a linebacker who some feel has been under-recruited, could become the 10th local player to commit if chooses to do so this week. He has offers from Virginia Military Institute and St. Francis (Pa.).

Three of the area's Division I recruits go to schools outside of the Valley and had championship seasons. Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino, who is from Vandergrift and transferred from Kiski Area, will sign with Florida State and Cardinal Weurl North Catholic linebacker Jarred Fragapane and Ronnie Meder, who used to attend Deer Lakes, will sign with Lafayette and Penn, respectively.

The others are Fox Chapel linebacker Quintin Wirginis (Pitt) and lineman Pat Denny (Columbia), Knoch lineman Connor Shinsky (Kent State) and three from Kiski Area: linebacker Shane Kuhn (Youngstown State), kicker/punter Adam Mitcheson (Buffalo) and lineman Andrew Yohe (Dartmouth).

What happens in Vegas ...

Three area football standouts from the class of 2015 will show their skills in a national event in the spring.

Juniors Tre Tipton of Apollo-Ridge, Elijah Jackson of Highlands and D'Aundre Johnson of Valley will take part in the Pylon Football Elite Camps' 7-vs-7 Tournament on March 14-16 in Las Vegas. The players were contacted to participate and have to pay airfare only.

Big 33 appearance

Local Big 33 Football Classic selections have been rare in the A-K Valley of late, but Central's Cosentino bucked the trend when he was picked to play for Team Pennsylvania in this summer's 57th installment of the popular all-star game in Hershey.

Cosentino is the first local picked for the game since Valley's Toney Clemons in 2007. Clemons had three catches for 69 yards in Pennsylvania's 28-10 win over Ohio before playing at Michigan, Colorado and in the NFL.

Bordonaro's milestone

Burrell junior Sydney Bordonaro is believed to be the fourth Burrell girls basketball player to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her career. Now, the Pepperdine recruit has larger goals — albeit second on a list that leads with winning championships.

Burrell's school scoring record was set by 1990 graduate Kim Horvath, who scored 1,148 points.

With the rest of this season and all of next, Bordonaro could eradicate the school record and not look back.

Other members of Burrell's 1,000-point club are Rachel Geisler (1,091 points, 1991-94) and Taylor Myers (1,000 points, 2005-09).

Balla to Mt. Union

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Tyler Balla, who showed big-play ability as a running back and pass-catcher, has committed to play at Division III power Mount Union.

A New Kensington native who transferred from Valley, Balla (5-8, 185) accounted for more than 2,400 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns. He was recruited as a running back but also played strong safety for the Centurions.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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