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
  • Trick play carries Meyersdale to District 5-A victory

    Meyersdale stranded 12 baserunners against rival North Star in Friday’s District 5 Class A semifinal game played on a cold and windy afternoon at Berlin’s Snyder Sports Complex.
    The Red Raiders left the bases loaded twice and had a pair on base at the end of two other frames.

    May 23, 2014

  • Chestnut Ridge blanks North Star

    The Chestnut Ridge bats have been quiet lately but on Thursday in the Lions’ District 5 Class AA softball semifinal against North Star, the bats broke out of their doldrums.
    The hosts put eight runs on the board in the first inning, sending 12 batters to the plate and Chestnut Ridge went on to a 14-0 win in five innings.

    May 22, 2014

  • Zach Scores North Star slips past Shanksville in District 5 Class A playoff

    Third-seeded North Star had half as many hits as visiting Shanksville-Stonycreek in Wednesday’s District 5 Class A first-round baseball playoff game.
    But the Cougars made those hits – and four Shanksville errors – count.

    May 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Windber, Berlin win WestPAC track

    The Windber boys and Berlin Brothersvalley girls used a variety of strong performances to retain their respective titles at the 14th annual WestPAC Track and Field Championships on a record-setting Wednesday at Conemaugh Township High School.
    The Ramblers finished with 148 points while second-place Meyersdale had 77.

    May 7, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 24, 2014

  • Local baseball/softball in brief | April 24, 2014

    April 23, 2014

  • 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