Norwin notebook: Former, future Knights wrestlers compete at U.S. Open event

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Saturday, May 7, 2022 | 11:01 AM


There is no offseason for the Norwin wrestling program.

A Norwin graduate and a rising standout competed recently in national competitions.

Kurtis Phipps, a sophomore at Bucknell, and Landon Sidun, who is set to make the jump from junior high to varsity wrestling, competed at the United States Marine Corps/USA Wrestling U.S. Open in Las Vegas.

The event is the national championship for freestyle wrestling and serves as a qualified for the World Team Trials.

Phipps took seventh place in the U20 division at 61kg, while Sidun took second in the U15 division at 52kg.

Norwin had never had a wrestler place at the prestigious event.

Phipps was representing Bucknell’s Regional Training Center, Buffalo Valley RTC, Sidun Norwin’s Knights Regional Training Center.

“It is literally one of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the country each year,” Norwin coach Kyle Martin said. “This event features the absolute best wrestlers in the country at every level each year with world medalists, NCAA Champions and All-Americans, and Olympic competitors in the event.

“We are very proud of both athletes and will continue to build our focus on international styles of wrestling as we build this program.”

Another RTC member, Ty Lydic, a Latrobe alum, took fourth in the 63kg division, and qualified for the Senior World Team Trials.

Martin said Phipps is a role model for young wrestlers in the program.

Norwin had a program-record 19 state qualifiers in freestyle and Greco Roman competition.

“We will continue emphasizing the importance of playing multiple sports, but freestyle/Greco Roman wrestling is something that is increasingly important to compete at the highest level of the sport,” Martin said. “And the great news is that with our tremendous staff we offer four evening practices each week so that our athletes can compete in their spring sports while also continuing to be on the mat.”

A large staff at Knights Regional Training Center includes former NCAA champion Jarrod King.

The center is taking large strides into what it hopes is a long, productive future.

“We are slowly building a program here at Norwin and this is just part of the process,” Martin said. “These guys competing in national and soon-to-be international events is so important to reaching the highest levels of the sport.”

Knights run to victory

The Norwin girls made a strong showing at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Track and Field Championship, winning the team title with 146 points.

Norwin senior Nataiah Robertson-Dutreiulle won the 100-meter dash and long jump, while senior Bernadette Zukina won the 400 and 200.

Zukina was a repeat winner in the 200 and earned the MVP of the track events.

Other winners for the Knights were senior Layla Robertson, who repeated in the 300 hurdles; junior Ashley Laukus, who repeated in the high jump; and freshman Alexis Heller in the javelin.

Also the team of junior Bella Brozeski, senior Alexandra Walton, Robertson and Zukina won the 1,600 relay title.

Offer for Schmook

Norwin senior javelin thrower Aaron Schmook has a Division I scholarship offer to throw at the next level. Kent State offered Schmook, who is expected to compete for a WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles later this month.

Schmook’s throw of 198 feet, 3 inches at the Butler Invitational ranked first in Pennsylvania and was ninth nationwide.

Team playoffs

Coming off another section title, the Norwin girls track and field team was primed to host three opponents in the first round of the WPIAL Class 3A team playoffs set to start May 3.

Belle Vernon, Bethel Park and Canon-McMillan were lined up to meet the Norwin girls. The winner at each site advanced to the WPIAL finals May 11 at West Mifflin.

The Norwin boys also drew a home meet, with Baldwin, Canon-McMillan and Connellsville traveling to North Huntingdon.

Matijevic optioned

After a short stay in the majors with the Houston Astros, former Norwin star JJ Matijevic was sent back to Triple-A Sugar Land when Jose Altuve returned from an injury assignment.

Matijevic, played in two games and was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. He made one start at first base.

College scene

Checking in on Norwin alumni competing at the collegiate level:

Men’s tennis

Saint Vincent: The Bearcats (15-6) reached the PAC Championship match before falling to Grove City, 5-1. It was the team’s first trip to the conference finals.

In a 5-3 semifinal win over Franciscan, senior Mauricio Sanchez and senior Aaron Kuhn (Norwin) won at No. 3 doubles.

Baseball

Penn State Greater Allegheny: Sophomore Brian Woods, who has been the starting catcher for the Lions for the past two seasons, had two doubles and three RBIs in a 7-5 victory over Penn State Fayette.

Woods hit .420 last season and made the All-PSUAC team. This season, he batted .298 and drove in eight runs, while scoring 10.

Softball

Saint Vincent: Sophomore Alex Dillner ripped a walk-off double to propel the Bearcats to a 12-11 win over Thiel in eight innings.

SVC came back from a 6-0 deficit. Dillner went 3 for 5 with a home run and five RBIs.

Westminster: Freshman Sydney Lokay hit her first collegiate home run in a 14-0 victory over Chatham. Lokay had a .321 batting average with eight runs and five RBIs in 17 games.

Men’s lacrosse

Saint Vincent: When the Bearcats trounced Franciscan, 25-1, grad student Tyler Condrasky reached a milestone: 100 career goals. Condrasky had three goal and two assists in the win.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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