Monday, July 25, 2022 | 11:47
Billed as the “toughest wrestling tournament in the country”, the USA National Wrestling Championships are a true test of talent for trainers and competitors.
For Kyle Martin, the event represents a grandiose step at the height of the level of the competition.
Martin found so much fun and success at last year’s event that he was looking forward to seeing Fargo, ND again this summer.
The experience was equally enjoyable: Coach Norwin led the US U16 team to a second straight head-to-head national title.
Among Martin’s team members were Jo Dollman, who competed in the U16 women’s division; Maddox Shaw (Thomas Jefferson), who took third place individually; Rocco Welsh; Bode Marlow (Thomas Jefferson); Jake Conroy (Ringgold); and Mason Kernan and Logan Hartman (Bethel Park).
Wrestlers qualified through USA Wrestling Regionals or State Championships. Brackets, Martin said, typically have more than 150 entrants in each weight class, and the top eight earn All-America status.
Martin, Pennsylvania U16 manager and freestyle coach since 2018, said none of his title wins followed the same game plan.
“This year was the tightest race and last week I would have said California was the favorite,” Martin said. “But, specifically (July 18), our athletes knocked out some higher-ranked opponents and got a win (223-212) over California. That point differential is literally two games going the other way and we lose.
Martin, who runs the Knights Regional Training Center in North Huntingdon, said he had established a program his wrestlers should follow.
“Emphasis points that all of our U16 athletes get throughout the year,” he said. “We focus on those points in training camps. There’s a lot to do, it’s exhausting, frustrating, but incredibly fun and rewarding to watch our athletes compete at peak levels. We were able to beat tough opponents. We finished with 16 All-Americans.
Martin has also been selected to coach the USA World Team this week in Rome.
John Boyle is the new baseball coach for Greensburg Central Catholic.
Boyle takes over after the resignation of Tom Appleby, who led the Centurions for three years. Boyle was one of Appleby’s assistants.
Appleby went 22-13 with two playoff trips.
Boyle coached the GCC junior high school team for two years and has been active in travel and West Point baseball for over 20 years. He still plays in a local over 4o league.
“Tom left us with a solid base and we’re going to need it,” Boyle said, “now that we’re playing next season.”
GCC will play Class 2A for the next two seasons.
Norwin’s hockey team recently reunited as PIHL champions and collected their spoils: the championship rings.
One last time, the Knights celebrated the greatest season in program history, the one that saw them claim their first league title with a 5-0 victory over Meadville in March at the UPMC Lemieux Complex in Cranberry.
The Knights lifted the Class A penguin cup that night and wouldn’t let go.
The ring ceremony took place at DeNunzio’s home in Monroeville. There was also a pool party at the home of second-year forward Alex Thomas.
“I think it finally hit us when we got (the rings),” said senior Knights striker Dom Barca. “It was kind of a ‘holy cow, we actually won it all’ moment. I think the rings are a great way to remember that we brought back the first Pens Cup in Norwin history, and a great way to look back on the whole experience.
Norwin finished 16-5-4 after falling to West Chester East in the Pennsylvania Cup Class A championship on March 26 near Philadelphia.
A trio of area softball players joined other WPIAL stars to lead their Ohio Outlaws travel team to a title at the Legendary Softball Summer Scorcher in Virginia Beach, VA.
Maddie Griffin of Ligonier Valley, getting back into shape after breaking her hand during the WPIAL season, joined Sophia Smithnosky of Mt. Pleasant and Sydney Mitchell of Hempfield as the team finished 10-0 and edged their opponents, 62 -4.
Other WPIAL players on the team included Neleh Nogay of Neshannock, Madison Pikula of South Allegheny and Amber Morgan of Trinity.
Belle Vernon senior baseball player Ryan Hamer will continue his playing career in Waynesburg.
• Norwin football player Ashley Ornowski, a rising senior, will play at Penn State Behrend.
Key words: Belle-VernonGreensburg CC, Hempfield, Ligonier Valley, Mt. Pleasant, Norwin