Pennsylvania’s Jarod Verkleeren Takes Eligibility Fight to Court

Interview from the summer
Wrestling: Rule flap ensnares wrestling star for now
Written by Ken Wunderley on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 10:00 am.
Ken Wunderley reports on the eligibility situation involving Belle Vernon wrestler Jarod Verkleeren. Read his story below.

BelleVernon Wrestling currently is ineligible for the Class AAA Section 2 tournament. Ken Wunderley/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

Belle Vernon wrestler Jarod Verkleeren was ruled ineligible to wrestle in the Class AAA Section 2 tournament Saturday at Ringgold High School due to a misinterpretation of PIAA rules by Leopards coach Mike Doppelheuer.

The family has responded with a lawsuit against Doppelheuer, the Belle Vernon School District, Superintendent Dr. John D. Wilkinson and the WPIAL. Verkleeren’s mother, Tami, wasn’t happy with Wilkinson’s decision to back Doppelheuer. She hired a lawyer and found a magistrate in Westmoreland County to hear their case.

According to Tami Verkleeren, there was a “preliminary emergency injunction” granted and there is a hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday. She stated that “they will decide whether Jarod can wrestle-off … ”

Verkleeren, a junior who has been ranked No. 2 in WPIAL Class AAA at 145 pounds all season, was moved up to the 160-pound weight class on the final day of the PIAA team tournament when his brother, Derek, suffered a knee injury.

“With my brother out of the lineup, coach Doppelheuer asked me to weigh in at 152 on the third day of the tournament,” said Verkleeren, which gave him the option of wrestling at 152 or 160.
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