PG Athletes Of The Week: Dom Perretta & Connor McGaffic

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Dom Perretta, Beaver Falls

Last week: Perretta won the Class AA 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the PIAA track and field championships Saturday at Shippensburg University.

Check this out: Winning both races was a monumental feat for Perretta, who is a Beaver Falls sophomore. He is the first WPIAL distance runner to win both races at the PIAA level since North Allegheny’s Jerry Richey did it in Class AAA in 1967. Richey was one of the greatest distance runners in WPIAL history. In 1967, the events were the 880-yard run and the mile. Perretta also won the 800 and 1,600 at the WPIAL championships. He didn’t start running until his freshman year and finished third at the WPIAL Class A cross-country meet in the fall.

•Could you tell the story of how you got into running last year? A teacher at our school came up to me and asked if I would help out at the cross-country meets. So I went out there, looked at the times and asked the cross-country coach [Doug Biega] how far they had to run. I thought I could do it.

•Were you a good runner at first? Ahhh … kind of. I was probably the best on the team as soon as I joined. But we really don’t have that good of a cross-country team.

•When you started, did you ever envision being a WPIAL or PIAA champ? I never thought I would win one, but I did think about wanting to win one.

•Do you think people are surprised to see a talented distance runner from Beaver Falls? Yeah, people are really shocked. They usually just think of sprinters or jumpers at Beaver Falls.

•And any other sports? Basketball and football.

•Did you ever play football or basketball? I stopped basketball after ninth grade.

•Were you any good? I started on the ninth-grade team, but I just wasn’t into it. It got boring to me.

•Tell me the three most famous athletes from Beaver Falls? Joe Waters [distance runner], probably Joe Namath and Lance Jeter.

•Will you have a job this summer? Probably not. I’m just going to run.

•Favorite cartoon as a kid? Tom and Jerry.

•People might be surprised to know that … I like bowling.

Connor McGaffic, South Side Beaver

Last week: McGaffic led the South Side Beaver softball team to a WPIAL Class A championship appearance for the first time after hitting a home run and driving in four runs in wins against Jefferson-Morgan and Carmichaels. The Rams (16-3) are scheduled to play defending champion Neshannock (15-2) at 11:30 a.m. today in the Class A championship at California University.

Check this out: McGaffic is only a sophomore, but she already has established herself as one of the top hitters in the WPIAL. She’s batting .546 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs to fuel a South Side Beaver offense that averages better than 12 runs per game. McGaffic plays first base, shortstop and sometimes pitches. She wasted little time picking a college, as she verbally committed to Pitt the summer before her freshman year.

•Was there ever a doubt your team would be in the championship? No. I knew coming into the season we were going to have a strong team because we had a good group of freshmen, who added to what we had back from last year.

•Have you always been a power hitter? I think I have been. I remember five years ago in my first year of travel ball, I hit like 16 home runs. Ever since then I’ve gotten better.

•Best pitcher you’ve faced this year? Probably Neshannock’s pitcher [Madison Shaffer]. She’s probably the best in our section.

•Why did you commit so early? Softball is different than other sports. My class is 2016. Some of the bigger colleges are already done [recruiting] for the Class of 2016. I figured I’d get it over with. I think Pitt was a good fit for me and I didn’t want to wait.

•School you’re most looking forward to traveling to once you get to Pitt? Florida State.

•We hear you have a batting cage at home … Yeah, my dad built me one in our basement. I use it pretty frequently. Almost every day I’m down there hitting.

•Favorite celebrity to follow on Twitter? I like Lauren Gibson. She’s with USA Softball right now. She had played at Tennessee.

•Movie you could watch every day? I like “The Longest Yard” and “42.”

•Most people might be surprised to know that … I’m really shy until people get to know me.

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