Allegheny 7 Offensive Player of the Year Kyle Tipinski finds family, stability at North Catholic

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | 9:41 AM


At 18, Kyle Tipinski has overcome a number of obstacles, but he eventually found a stable home environment.

It has led to the New Kensington resident and North Catholic High School senior to reach the brink of a major decision: which football scholarship to accept.

Tipinski, a key member of North Catholic’s WPIAL Class 3A runner-up, is fielding offers and garnering interest from about 10 Division I college football programs. Tipinski recently was named offensive player of the year in the Class 3A Allegheny 7 Conference and first-team defense at linebacker.

Getting to this point appeared unlikely just a few years ago until Tipinski met up with the Lapinsky family from the Deer Lakes area.

Tipinski’s mother, Tara, is in prison, and his father has been largely absent from his life.

“I was always moving a lot of places, but Kelly and her family brought me in with them and loved me and cared for me,” Tipinski said. “I feel like I am part of their family. I love them and I will feel this way until the day I die.”

“It’s been three or four years since we got him,” Kelly Lapinsky said. “He’s really had to overcome some insane things in his life. Our goal has been to get into college with a scholarship and get him on his way to get a good life. He’s just like another son at this point.”

Kelly’s husband, Jon Lapinsky, her daughter, Gia, and son, Jaxon, also a senior at North Catholic, were unanimous in the decision to bring Kyle into the household.

Kelly’s father — former Valley High School basketball standout Jeff Cheatham — also has taken Kyle under his wing. Cheatham has trained and advised a number of Western Pennsylvania athletes for several decades.

Said Tipinski: “Jeff came into my life early,” Tipinksi said. “He has me running up and down Drey Street in Arnold and has me run a mile under five minutes. Then he has me doing footwork drills and a lot of old-school stuff.”

The work has paid off. Tipinski said he has offers on the table from schools such as Toledo and Bowling Green. He is being recruited as a linebacker. Also showing interest are Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Akron, Kent State and Ohio.

The problem now is the aforementioned schools don’t know how many seniors are going to stay for another year and who might be entering the transfer portal from other schools, Cheatham said.

Tipinski won’t be playing basketball at North Catholic this season but said he is going to concentrate on making a college choice and take part in indoor track.

He went out for track for the first time last season and excelled. He was part of the WPIAL-winning 400-meter relay team with Trevor Paschall, Luke Mager and Jack Fennell.

Kelly Lapinksy, who owns a hair salon in Wexford, also credits North Catholic for embracing Kyle.

“When he started at North, he had the help of a lot of parents,” Lapinsky said. “There were a lot of people who fell in love with him, and everybody was willing to help.”

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