Richland wrestling standout Nick Naglic consistently made a name for himself statewide, as he made two PIAA tournament appearances and snagged podium finishes at district and regional tournaments.
With ambitions of making a name for himself nationally, he won’t have to go very far to hit the ground running.
On Tuesday, Naglic signed on to join the squad at Pitt-Johnstown under the guidance of coach Pat Pecora.
The familiarity in the nationally renowned program helped Naglic put pen to paper when deciding to advance his wrestling career.
“It just felt like home,” Naglic said. “It pretty much is. I’ve grown up with UPJ. I’ve known UPJ my whole life. I could probably name more UPJ wrestlers than I could Pittsburgh Pirates.”
UPJ’s legacy of greatness on the mat was not lost on Naglic.
“They’re one of the top D-II programs in the nation,” Naglic said. “Coach Pecora is a big reason for that. There’s plenty of kids that have not been state champs, they come out there and they become all-Americans. I want to be that. I want to be on the wall on the wrestling room, just like all the other guys.”
Naglic, who was 111-42, is his four years of varsity competition, finished his career with back-to-back 31-9 seasons that ended with trips to the PIAA tournament.
As a junior, Naglic finished second in District 6 Class AA and matched that feat in that year’s Southwest Regional tournament. This past year, Naglic took third in both the district and regional tournaments.
That being said, Naglic sees UPJ as a place where he can step up his abilities and handle unfinished business.
“Personally, I felt that I could have done better at the end of the year,” Naglic said. “At states, I didn’t have my best tournament. I wanted to place with a state medal. That’s high school; now it’s going to be college. It’s a whole new thing and a whole new start. I’m excited for that.”
Those accomplishments paired with an optimistic eye toward the future makes Mike Naglic - his father and coach at Richland - doubly proud.
“I’m extremely proud on both aspects,” Mike Naglic said. “As a father, I’m proud of him no matter what he did. He had some other options in football or wrestling. He had some offers to go to some different places. UPJ, though, is a powerhouse. Their program is an elite program in the country. As a father, I’m proud that they believe in his ability, that he’s worthy enough to possibly wrestle on their team and be a part of that storied tradition.”
Nick Naglic, is the son of Mike and Tonya Naglic.
Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.