The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

February 14, 2013

UPJ will induct four standouts to Hall of Fame

JOHNSTOWN — The Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame will add a 2,000-point scorer, a Final Four participant, a three-time All-American who wrestled on a national championship team, and one of the nationally renown wrestling program’s founders.

The Class of 2013 will be inducted on April 20 at the UPJ Living-Learning Center.

Additionally, the 1986-87 Lady Cats women’s basketball team will be recognized for its appearance in the NCAA Division II Final Four. That squad remains the only UPJ basketball team to reach the Final Four.

The inductees include:

n Tony Albertelli, wrestling (1992-97): Albertelli excelled on the mat and in the classroom. He earned three All-American honors and was a four-time National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Wrestling First-Team selection.

The Penn Cambria product was part of UPJ’s NCAA Division II National Championship team in 1996. That squad earned the first of two team national titles for coach Pat Pecora’s Mountain Cats.

Albertelli was the East Regional Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in 1997 after he won his second regional crown. He placed third at nationals that year as UPJ  had its third straight top-5 finish in the Division II Tournament.

His 138 career wins rank second to Carlton Haselrig, and Albertelli’s .826 winning percentage is 12th on UPJ’s list.

n Jill Halapin, women’s basketball (1984-88): A two-time All-American, Halapin ranks in the Lady Cats’ top-10 in both scoring and rebounding. She was a driving force on UPJ’s Division II Final Four team in 1986-87.

Halapin reached double-digit scoring in every game she played from 1986 through 1988 and earned the prestigious Kodak All-American honor both in 1987 and 1988. She scored 1,560 career points (fifth all-time at UPJ) and had 747 rebounds (10th all-time).

The Franklin Regional graduate led a 25-5 team that upset No. 1-ranked Delta State before falling to Cal Poly Pomona by two points in the national semifinals. Halapin was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. She also was Mason-Dixon Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1986-87.

n Bruce Haselrig, wrestling coach (1973-75)/official: UPJ’s storied wrestling history was made possible by pioneers of the Mountain Cats program such as Haselrig, who with assistance of the UPJ administration started the program and became its first head coach in 1973.

After a junior varsity season, Haselrig helped UPJ move to the varsity level in the NAIA. UPJ went 9-6-1 and Steve Ragland became the Mountain Cats first All-American.

Haselrig set the foundation. Then, Curt Davis took the coaching job for one year until Pecora became the head coach.

Since then, Haselrig has been one of the most respected officials in the sport at the high school and college levels. After more than four decades as an official, Haselrig worked six NCAA Division II National Championships, three NAIA National Championships and 20 PIAA high school state championships.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania Chapter inducted Haselrig in 2007, and the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame inducted him in 2012.

n Justin Walther, men’s basketball (1996-2000): Walther remains the only Mountain Cats player to score more than 2,000 career points. His 875 career rebounds rank third all-time at UPJ.

Walther helped the Mountain Cats make back-to-back NCAA Division II Tournament appearances during his freshman and sophomore seasons. In Walther’s four seasons as a contributor, UPJ compiled an 87-23 record, including 23-4 in 1999-2000, when UPJ climbed as high as fourth in the national polls.

A two-time First-Team Daktronics All-East Region selection, Walther finished with 2,073 career points. He led the region in scoring both his junior and senior seasons. He led the nation in free throws made and attempted during those seasons. Walther holds UPJ records for career field goals (735), career free throws made (517) and single-season free throws made (164).

n 1986-87 women’s basketball Final Four team: Coach Jodi Gault’s Lady Cats went 25-5 and reached the NCAA Division II Final Four after a stunning upset against top-ranked Delta State.

Gault recorded her 100th career win during the season and earned Mason-Dixon Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors. The Lady Cats won the East Regional Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight, where UPJ edged Delta State 68-63 at the Sports Center. Defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona won 72-70 in Springfield, Mass., to end UPJ’s season in the national semifinals.

For more information on the hall of fame banquet: 269-2000.

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