For Sabrina Wingard, the opportunity to play collegiate soccer with her sister, Savanna, was too great an opportunity to skip.
For Bobby Colvin, Curt Colvin and Ismail Ahmad, the idea of playing highly competitive soccer next to their high school campus made for an easy choice.
For Pitt-Johnstown men’s and women’s soccer, the incoming freshmen classes with have a distinct Richland High School feel as all four Rams standouts will continue their respective playing careers there.
“I think it says a lot about our soccer program,” said Richland boys’ soccer coach Mike Stayrook. “It’s great to see these players represent us at the next level, and it’s going to be nice to go and see them play. We’ll use them as an example to the underclassmen.”
Bobby and Curt Colvin, who are cousins, were both four-year starters for Richland, which lost on penalty kicks to Bald Eagle Area in the District 6 playoffs during the 2012 season.
Bobby Colvin, a team captain as a junior and senior, led the Rams with 27 goals and 16 assists. The midfielder, who also kicked for Richland’s highly successful football team, was an all-Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference selection.
“I’m not sure if I would go there if UPJ wasn’t joining the (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference,” Colvin said. “It’s a good conference and we’re all hoping we can come in and make a difference.”
Curt Colvin primarily played defense during his four-year run as a starter, but the team captain did score five goals to go with nine assists as a senior.
“It is kind of nice that our parents can come out and watch,” he said.
Ahmad was a three-year starter at striker and the all-conference selection was one of the more creative offensive players in the area. He scored 22 goals with six assists as a senior.
“I wanted to play soccer at a good school,” Ahmad said. “Playing at UPJ is a good opportunity.”
Coached by Eric Kinsey, who will enter his 14th year with the Mountain Cats, Pitt-Johnstown finished 1-14-1 with a 1-7-1 record in its final season in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Midfielder Steve Marsh, who will be a junior, also hails from Richland.
Wingard considered attending Mount Aloysius, but decided playing college soccer with her sister was the correct route for her.
“I was looking at Mount Aloysius for ultrasound, but I honestly couldn’t pass up on playing soccer with my sister. I knew I’d miss it too much if I didn’t play,” said Wingard, who finished her scholastic career with 42 goals and 28 assists, which ranks fifth in team history. “I felt I had to continue my career.”
Wingard could fill a variety of roles for the Lady Cats, who finished 11-7 with a 5-5 conference record in 2012. She spent a few seasons playing striker for the Rams, who won three consecutive District 6 titles before a runner-up finish last fall. As a senior, Wingard played center midfield and outside midfield, too.
“One of her major strength as a striker is finishing. She finished really well,” Rams coach Nathan Gironda said. “She’s suited for midfield perfectly. You could say she has a high soccer IQ. She’s such a good finisher, but she’s such a good midfielder too.”