The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 4, 2014

Forest Hills sees 4 make choices

SIDMAN — Four Forest Hills High School student-athletes announced their intentions to continue their careers at the collegiate level on Wednesday at the school’s field house.

Those are:

Nicole Richards, Gannon University, golf: Richards was part of the Forest Hills golf team that won District 6-AA and placed fourth in the state.

She placed fourth as an individual in the 6-AA championship meet and was an All-LHAC selection in 2013.

“It’s a small school and everyone seemed really friendly,” Richards said of Gannon, where she will major in biomedical engineering. “When I met the coach, I knew she was the one. When she offered me a scholarship, I knew it was the one to pursue.” 

Gannon, which competes in the PSAC, is coached by Abby Sorensen.

Doug Williams coaches the Forest Hills golf team.

“We came from a small town and we’re fourth in the state,” Richards said. We’re the first girls team to make that accomplishment.”

Richards also is a member at Windber Country Club.

“Without my dad supporting me I wouldn’t even get into golf,” Richards said. “Everyone at Windber Country Club is really friendly and supportive. They want to see you do well. Without their encouragement I don’t think I’d be the golfer I am today.”

She is the daughter of Tom and Carol Richards

Brooke Novotny, Slippery Rock University, track and field: Novotny was a four-year 6-AA qualifier and two-time state qualifier for the Rangers.

She earned the District 6 Sportsmanship Award and the varsity girls track and field award in 2014.

Novotny was part of a 6-AA champion team as a freshman and junior and on the LHAC title-winning teams four years.

Also a soccer player, she was on the 2012 6-AA championship squad.

“The campus was really nice and I loved the atmosphere,” Novotny said. “I met the coach and he was cool and really friendly.

“I had a chance to meet some of the athletes and they were great.”

Slippery Rock is coached by John Papa, PSAC women’s coach of the year.

Under Forest Hills coach Tom Hunter, Novotny ran the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles and was part of the 1600-meter relay. She placed second in 6-AA in the 100 hurdles and advanced to the state meet this year.

“Mr. Hunter really pushes you to do your best,” Novotny said. “He knows what you can do. Our team is really supportive.”

She is the daughter of Jeff Novotny and Colleen Buck.

Tyler Shima, Pitt-Johnstown, club ice hockey: Shima was part of the Mid State Mustangs program which won two national championships and five state titles.

The Mustangs are coached by Dave Weaver and play at Altoona’s Galactic Ice.

“The coach at the organization was like a father,” Shima said. “He teaches you not only how to play the game but he teaches you morals.”

Shima will play for Pitt-Johnstown coach Dave Layman, who led the IceCats to the ACHA Men’s Division III national club tournament in Florida.

“I liked what their coach had to say,” Shima said. “He’s a good guy. The style of hockey they play is the style of hockey I play – mean, physical and aggressive hockey. That’s what got them through their conference championship, and they made it to nationals in Florida and made a little bit of noise.”

Shima also played football at Forest Hills and was an All-LHAC selection and second-team Tribune-Democrat pick at defensive back as a senior. He will play in the Ken Lantzy Finest 40 all-star game this month.

Shima was Forest Hills Boosters player of the year, Forest Hills special teams player of the year and recipient of the Forest Hills senior award.

He is the son of Andy and Kim Shima.

Kayla Walls, Pitt-Johnstown, women’s soccer: A four-year letterwinner, Walls was part of a District 6 Class AA championship squad in 2012 and LHAC title winning teams in 2011 and 2012. She was an All-LHAC selection in 2013.

“I loved the campus at UPJ,” Walls said. “It was very rural, out in the open, and I wanted to stay close to home.

“The soccer team has a new coach and she’s been really excited about the season.”

Pitt-Johnstown is coached by Rachel Smith. Walls will major in physical therapy.

At Forest Hills, Walls played for coach Donna Gallaher.

Additionally, Walls was part of 6-AA championship track and field teams in 2011, 2012 and 2013 while lettering three times. She also was part of the 6-AAA champion girls basketball teams in 2012 and 2013. She lettered twice in basketball and was part of a LHAC title-winning squad in 2012.

She is the daughter of Dave and Joanne Walls.


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