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CoGo's High School Sports Unsung Hero: Belle Vernon's Jarod Verkleeren

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Belle Vernon junior wrestler Jarod Verkleeren has quietly become one of the most decorated athletes in the state.

Friday night, CoGo's recognized Verkleeren for his outstanding achievement with the October 2015 High School Sports Unsung Hero award.

The High School Sports Unsung Hero Award, presented by CoGo's, recognizes local high school coaches and student-athletes who have dedicated themselves to sports and academics, but traditionally have not received the deserved attention.

As a sophomore, Verkleeren finished second in the WPIAL and fourth in the state at 145 pounds, and went on represent the United States Cadet Freestyle team at 63 KG/138 lbs in Slovakia.

Jarod followed up his international experience by competing in -- and dominating -- the 2014 USAW Cadet National Freestyle Championship at 145-pounds, winning the gold medal.

Already a two-time section champion and PIAA state qualifier, Jarod traveled to Sarajevo this past summer where he won a gold medal in the Cadet World Championships at 63 KG/138 lbs.

Over the past two scholastic seasons, Verkleeren has compiled a 67-13 overall record, including a 46-7 mark last year. Verkleeren helped the Leopards finish fourth out of 48 teams from 11 different states in last year's Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament. Belle Vernon Area was also the WPIAL Class AAA team runner-up and competed in the PIAA Class AAA Team Tournament a year ago.

Off the mat, Jared is an excellent student who maintains an A average and has achieved a 4.0 GPA in recent semesters,

Verkleeren was honored as the October Unsung Hero at Belle Vernon's 13-12 win over Ringgold on Oct. 9.

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