High School Athletes of the Week: A.J. Baroffio, Bethel Park/Ben Tackett, Knoch

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A.J. Baroffio, Bethel Park

Last week: Baroffio has been on a hat-trick tear. She scored three goals in four consecutive games against Thomas Jefferson (Sept. 12), Upper St. Clair (Saturday), McKeesport (Monday) and Albert Gallatin (Wedmesday). Upper St. Clair was the No. 2-ranked WPIAL Class AAA team at the time. Baroffio has helped Bethel Park to a 7-0 start this season.

Check this out: Baroffio, a senior forward, made a verbal commitment to Duquesne University in the spring of her junior year. Her goal-scoring ability has been on the rise this season after she scored 15 as a junior. She has 15 in the first seven games. She also runs track for Bethel Park and has a 4.0 grade-point average.

What gives with all these hat tricks? I was so fired up for the Upper St. Clair game because we hadn't beaten them since my freshman year. The other games, I just kept telling myself, 'You have to leave it all out on the field.'

Why are you scoring more this year? What usually happens is I'll distribute the ball, and my teammates will kick it down the line and send it back in. We're communicating more as a team this year. We're more of a team. Last year, it was more everyone for themselves.

Do you think your team has surprised some people? Definitely. The Upper St. Clair game was a surprise.

Before we go further, what does the A.J. stand for? Angelina and Jo is my middle name.

Did you pass your drivers test the first time? I did not. I failed on parallel parking [laugh].

So you figured out parallel parking? Yeah, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather walk a mile than parallel park.

People might be surprised to know ...? I'm president of our senior class.

High school guys just don't understand ...? Hmmm. That's a tough one. I'd say life. They just don't know what's up.

Ben Tackett, Knoch

Last week: Tackett rushed for a WPIAL week-high 253 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries in leading the Knoch football team to a 40-7 win at Derry Area. Tackett scored touchdowns on runs of 64, 77 and 25 yards.

Check this out: Tackett, a senior, moved from wide receiver to running back this season and has used his big-play ability to lead the WPIAL with 11 touchdowns, averaging 37.1 yards on those scores. Tackett is among the area's top rushers, tallying 454 yards on a 10.3 yards-per-carry average. Knoch, the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up last season, is 3-0 this season (2-0 in the Greater Allegheny Conference).

Most you have paid for a pair of shoes? I bought the Under Armour Highlight spikes. They were a pretty penny. Other than that, I try to keep it under $75.

Knoch is located near Saxonburg. What's the best thing to do or place to go there? I'd have to say on Friday nights before football, we run up to a family restaurant, Kelley's, and grab a bite to eat.

Did you initially like the idea of moving to running back? To be honest, running back was the position I grew up playing. I moved to wide receiver last year because Andrew Rumberg-Goodlin [was the starting running back]. He was a heck of runner. I was fine with [playing receiver]. I enjoyed receiver, but my passion is probably running back.

Best nickname on the team? I think my favorite nickname is either Pookie, we call Luke Kroneberg that, or Bam Bam Bigelow for Elijah Bamrick.

Last time you watched something on videotape? At my house, we're a little old school. We run a little bit behind. We still have VHS and a bunch of movies. But I probably haven't watched anything for a good year.

Favorite food a family member makes? I'd have to say on Thanksgiving when my aunt Connie makes deviled eggs.

Athlete of the Week


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