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Belle Vernon’s Schwerha among 13 transfers ruled eligible by WPIAL who cannot compete in postseason | TribLIVE.com
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Belle Vernon’s Schwerha among 13 transfers ruled eligible by WPIAL who cannot compete in postseason

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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Joseph Schwerha during soccer practice at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Soccer standout Joseph “JoJo” Schwerha, who transferred from Greensburg Central Catholic to Belle Vernon, was among more than four dozen transfers approved this week by the WPIAL.

However, since Schwerha transferred after Aug. 6, the senior is ineligible to compete in the WPIAL or PIAA postseason.

The PIAA approved new restrictions this summer that makes all transfers ineligible for the postseason unless the athlete meets one of the hardship waivers established in the rule.

The rule change took affect Aug. 6. The majority of the transfers approved this week switched schools before that deadline.

Schwerha, who aspires to play soccer professionally, said in August that he was considering enrollment in the D.C. United Academy. The Beadling Soccer Club standout was invited to participate in a training session run by the Major League Soccer program last month.

Also approved Monday by the WPIAL but with postseason ineligibility were Freedom’s Kayleen Boring (softball), California’s Malik Ramse (basketball), Woodland Hills’ Devine Clark (football), Connellsville’s Skylar Shallenberger (soccer/swimming/baseball), Nazareth Prep’s Eugene Goodwine (basketball), North Catholic’s Brett Mushnok (football) and Winchester Thurston’s Jake Rabner (golf).

All can request a WPIAL hearing to seek a hardship waiver.

The eight are among the first WPIAL athletes declared ineligible for the postseason under the new rule. The first five declared postseason ineligible last month were Belle Vernon’s Elaina Serrao (volleyball), Bishop Canevin’s Keegan Hitchings (cross country/track), Mars’ John Rice (lacrosse), Pine-Richland’s Annabelle Nielsen (cross country/track) and Quigley Catholic’s Amanda Tracy (softball).

Nielsen already has requested a WPIAL hearing.

The hardship waiver says a district committee “may waive this period of ineligibility upon demonstration by the student that the transfer was necessitated by exceptional and unusual circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the student’s family.”

The reasons deemed sufficient are:

A change of residence necessitated by a change in employment.

A school-initiated administrative transfer within a school district.

A court-ordered transfer.

A change of schools caused by a military reassignment of a parent.

A change of schools caused by release from a juvenile facility.

A demonstrable change in income or other financial resources that compels withdrawal from a private school.

The PIAA rule also states that a transfer for “academic, developmental, spiritual and/or social reasons” does not meet the hardship waiver standard. Nor does “a change of residence resulting from a family separation, unless court approved.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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