The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports North Star

December 28, 2012

Top 10 sports stories of 2012 | No. 4 Rizzo, Roberts earn rare PIAA three-peat

JOHNSTOWN — The region’s scholastic wrestling scene possessed a pretty solid hand during the PIAA Class AA championships in March:

A pair of 3s.

Richland’s John Rizzo and North Star’s Nick Roberts each won their third state championship during the PIAA’s premier event at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Prior to 2012, no wrestler in The Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area had ever pulled off a three-peat of state championships.

Roberts defeated Bethlehem Catholic’s Zeke Mosley, 3-2, in the 120-pound championship to become the first area wrestler to win three state titles.

“It’s unprecedented at North Star,” Cougars coach Pat Berzonski said after Roberts’ win. “Not too many people in the history of Pennsylvania wrestling have won three titles.”

Rizzo matched that milestone a few bouts later. The 220-pounder scored a 12-3 major decision over Lackawanna Trail’s Eric Laytos, who had won a state title in 2010, to claim his third gold medal.

“It feels unbelievable,” Rizzo told The Tribune-Democrat after the historic win. “To go out there and score points, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Rizzo won his two previous state championships while wrestling at 285 pounds in 2011 and 2010. He dropped a weight class during his senior season.

“It’s just so special,” Richland coach Tom Smith said after the title bout. “It’s a special feeling. He works so hard year in and year out. He’s the guy that you’re rooting for to do something like this, to do something great like this. He’s kind of Richland’s Rocky Balboa, because they see him out there working and doing all of the things he needs to do to have success in his life.”

Roberts finished his career with a 146-10 record. The Ohio State scholarship wrestler won his first two state championships at 103 pounds in 2009 and at 112 pounds in 2011.

His semifinal loss in 2010 prevented him from having a shot at joining a rare group of four-time Pennsylvania champions.

“I think about that all the time,” Roberts said after his third championship. “Every single practice I think about it. It’s horrible, but I’ve got to be proud of what I already have. I’m thankful and very happy.”

In May, both Roberts and Rizzo were named to the 27th ASICS All-America Wrestling Team. Roberts made the third team and Rizzo was an honorable mention on the prestigious squad.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
HS Sports North Star
  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • High school sports in brief 4/9/2014

    April 8, 2014

  • South boosted by Rambler presence

    A turnaround season at Windber High School will have one more stop for four Ramblers’ players and their coach.
    First-year head coach Jude Leonardis will send off seniors Bryce Spak, Matt Barkley and Dan and Devon Tomlinson during the seventh annual AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase on Sunday afternoon at Pitt-Johnstown.

    April 4, 2014

  • Baseball ready to leave on-deck circle

    March 29, 2014

  • West boys victorious in District 5 showcase

    Monday’s District 5 Athletic Director’s Association boys’ all-star game at Chestnut Ridge High School was indirectly sponsored by the number 3 ... As in 34 combined 3-pointers.
    It was the fourth-quarter long-range marksmanship from the West all-star squad – comprised of student-athletes from Somerset County – that ruled the night as the West topped the East – made up of players from Bedford and Fulton counties – 97-86.

    March 24, 2014

  • East beats West girls in District 5 all-star game

    While the result wasn’t the one desired by Berlin Brothersvalley coach Rachel Prosser, having a chance to coach her gifted seniors one last time at the District 5 All-Star Game at Chestnut Ridge was one that she gladly hopped on.
    Her West all-star squad, comprised of student-athletes from Somerset County, featured four Mountaineers seniors on the roster and a number of players she’s coached against in WestPAC play.

    March 24, 2014

  • Senior Hoops Showcase rosters announced

    The rosters for the seventh annual AmeriServ Senior Hoops Showcase are set, with 1,000-point scorers, 500-rebound players and conference and district champions represented on the boys’ and girls’ all-star squads.
    The Showcase will be played on Sunday, April 6 at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center. The girls’ game begins at 1 p.m., with the boys contest to follow at 3 p.m.

    March 22, 2014

  • wrestling9 Second place little consolation to contenders

     Perspective can be a tricky thing in athletics.
    Just ask Richland’s Nico Pecora and Bedford’s Jon Gabriel.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Day 1 gives ups and downs for region

    There was plenty of talk about roller coasters on Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center, but it had nothing to do with the thrill rides across the parking lot at Hersheypark.
    It was all about the ups and downs of the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.

    March 6, 2014

Poll

Who do you think will win Friday's Class 1A Quarterfinals match-up: the Cougars or the Bears?

North Star Cougars
Clairton Bears
     View Results

AP Video
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide