The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 29, 2013

Grimm, Strasiser headline elite group of student-athletes

JOHNSTOWN — It’s safe to call the 2012-13 high school sports year a wildly successful one, from an individual perspective and for teams throughout The Tribune-Democrat’s 31-school coverage area.

As the year kicked off, it became obvious Richland football and Bedford boys’ soccer were headed toward success. Both programs enjoyed historic success as the Rams and Bisons reached the PIAA semifinals in their respective sports for the first time. Central Cambria girls’ cross country also excelled. The Red Devils finished third at the PIAA Class A meet with Penn Cambria not far behind in seventh place.

Chestnut Ridge used superior depth to rise as high as No. 2 in the state wrestling rankings, Cody Law of Forest Hills completed a quest in reaching the top of the PIAA medals podium. From Shade to Northern Cambria and many parts in between, basketball reigned supreme during the winter months. Seven area teams advanced past the first round of the PIAA tournament.

A national championship was celebrated as well during the winter when Conemaugh Township’s Deanna Binnie made the USA Shooting National Junior Team after she won the Women’s 3P (three position) Rifle championship.

The spring sports season earned its share of headlines as Somerset’s Jayna Coyle set a District 6 Class AAA triple jump record and Bishop McCort came up short in its quest to repeat as PIAA Class A baseball champion, though the Crushers did hold a six-run lead on the leam – Johnsonburg – that eventually won the title. North Star won its first 21 games and Golden Eagles’ pitcher Ian Stiffler was the first Pennsylvania high school player selected in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft when the Atlanta Braves picked him in the seventh round.

As teams made postseason runs and individuals collected medals throughout the school year, two names – North Star’s Tony Strasiser and Ligonier Valley’s Maddy Grimm – frequently appeared in the sports section of The Tribune-Democrat. Both were three-sport standouts with Division-I interest in multiple sports. Strasiser considered college football, but will play baseball at West Virginia. Grimm will play softball at Kent State.

Together, they are The Tribune-Democrat athletes of the year.

They were also not the only student-athletes considered for the distinction.

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