The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

June 3, 2014

Three Rams ink letters of intent

JOHNSTOWN — Nico Pecora stood out in three sports at Richland High School.

He could perform at a high level in many roles on the football field while catching or throwing passes, making tackles, defensing passes, or booting punts.

On the wrestling mat, Pecora earned a silver medal as a state runner-up this year as a senior.

Pecora also had a knack for making big contributions on the baseball diamond.

On Tuesday, he committed to Pitt-Johnstown, where Pecora will play NCAA Division II baseball for coach Todd Williams.

His father, Pat Pecora, is the athletic director and national-championship-winning wrestling coach of the Mountain Cats.

“It was a tough decision,” said Nico Pecora, who was flanked by his parents, Pat and Tracy, during a signing involving three Richland student-athletes. “Baseball is my interest, but wrestling is not out of the question.”

Nico Pecora believes UPJ is an ideal fit for him.

“It’s a great opportunity. It’s right in my back yard,” he said. “There is no other place in Pennsylvania better than UPJ, and it’s right in our back yard.

“Coach Williams is a great guy,” Nico Pecora added. “He knows a lot about baseball. I’ve been going to his camps since I was little so he’s been a part of the kind of baseball player that I am today.”

As for attending a college where his father oversees the athletic program, Nico Pecora was enthusiastic.

“I’m excited. He’s going to keep me on the right track and make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do,” Nico Pecora said.

Nico Pecora also was accompanied by veteran Richland baseball coach John Sidor at the signing.

“Playing three sports at Richland taught me about commitment and to work hard,” Nico Pecora said. “You have to work hard to get what you want. Coach Sidor made me a better person on the field and off it. All of my coaches helped me the whole way.”

Also signing letters of intent at Richland on Tuesday:

n Benjamin Lambert, California (Pa.) University, cheerleading.

“Cal turned out to be just the right distance away from home,” Lambert said. “They have cheerleading there and the coach is great. While I’m there I’ll actually be with HotCheer All-Stars co-ed team. I’ll be doing game cheerleading with Cal, but I will compete with HotCheer.”

Lambert is coached by Brady Miller at Richland.

He is the son of Gary and Beth Lambert.

n Molly Knepper, Chatham University, women’s basketball.

“I really liked the atmosphere and people at Chatham,” Knepper said of the Pittsburgh campus. “The basketball coach (Sandy Recktenwald) is phenomenal. She makes sure she gives everyone a chance. Every girl on the team cheers everyone on and it’s a great environment to play in.”

Knepper’s coach at Richland was Nate Gironda.

She is the daughter of Carey Knepper-Miller.

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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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