Norwin notebook: Hall of Fame to honor 2 classes of inductees

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Saturday, August 7, 2021 | 10:01 AM


The latest classes of the Norwin Athletic Hall of Fame will include stars of the past from track and field, cross country, soccer, swimming, wrestling, softball and volleyball.

This also will be a unique year.

Normally, the hall of fame ceremony is a biennial event, but it will include both the 2020 and ‘21 class because last year’s induction banquet was canceled because of the pandemic.

The inductees will be recognized Oct. 12 at Stratigos Banquet Centre in North Huntingdon.

The 2021 class includes: Drew Phipps (2016 graduate, wrestling), Otto Tancraitor (2000, soccer), Kris Wexell-Ruppert (1983, volleyball), Madeline Wensel (2015, softball), and the 2005 boys volleyball team and the 2009 unbeaten girls cross country team.

Phipps was a WPIAL champion and PIAA runner-up and posted a career record of 145-14.

Tancraitor, an all-state player who stood out at midfielder and defender, helped lead the Knights deep into the WPIAL and PIAA postseasons.

Ruppert was a member of three PIAA championship teams and a WPIAL champion, along with being a two-time AAU Junior Olympic All-American.

Wensel, an all-state catcher, was one of the top hitters for the Knights during her career.

The ‘05 volleyball team finished 26-2 and was WPIAL and PIAA runner-up and undefeated section champion.

The 2020 all-female class includes: Jenna Gigliotti (2010, cross country), Kathy Marchalek Pawlak (1994, track and field), Kathryn Painter (2015, swimming), and the 2008 and ‘09 WPIAL champion girls track and field teams.

Painter, a record-breaker who went on to swim at Kentucky, was a PIAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle in 2015 and won four WPIAL titles in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.

Pawluk was a WPIAL champion in the javelin in 1993 and ‘94 and made the 1995 All-American Intercollegiate Track and Field Team.

Gigliotti, who ran at Duquesne, was a three-time PIAA qualifier and won a WPIAL individual cross country title in 2009. She helped Norwin win team track and field titles in 2008 and ‘09. Also in cross country, she went unbeaten in section dual meets and took first in four invitationals.

And the ‘08 and ‘09 track teams marked a four-year run of district titles in North Huntingdon. The 2006 and ‘07 teams also raised trophies and were inducted into the hall last year.

Spur of the moment

Two Norwin junior girls soccer players sharpened their skills against top competition on a national stage.

Ashley Ornowski and Alyssa Aquilio played for the Hotspurs Soccer Club 2005 team in the national championships after winning the USYS Eastern Region title.

Other local members included McKenzie Pritts (Yough), Sofia DeCert (Latrobe), Regan Reilly (Latrobe) and Ava Lorenzi (Latrobe).

The Hotspurs played a number of tight games but finished one win shy of the semifinals.

Net gains

The Boys Junior Volleyball National Tournament in Kansas City last month had local representation.

Four area players suited up and played well for the A-10 Club team, which is coached by Jake Stone.

The players are, Troy Horvath (Norwin), Jackson Genicola (Norwin), Owen Kelley (Hempfield) and Chaz Ewer (Hempfield).

Growing interest

Brianna Zajicek, a rising senior at Norwin, is beginning to see an uptick in college interest. About a week after receiving a scholarship offer from Alderson Broaddus (W.Va.), Zajicek was offered by West Virginia Wesleyan. Both are Division II programs.

Known for her on-the-ball defensive play with her Western PA Bruins AAU team, Zajicek will be one of the top returning starters at Norwin.

• Senior Luke Levendosky of Norwin, a quarterback and safety, has an offer to play at Grove City.

AAU finalists

A trio of area girls basketball players reached the AAU national championship last Sunday at Spooky Nook.

The Western PA Bruins Zeise 2024 team finished as the national runner-up in the Girls Under Armour Association Rise Championship to finish the season with a 46-7 record.

The local players on the team included Avery Davis (Norwin), Elle Snyder (Latrobe) and Kaitlin Mankins (Greensburg Salem).

Team Stuck, which defeated the Bruins in the final, was coached by former Detroit Pistons player Rodney Stuckey.

Golf fundraiser

The Reflections of Grace Foundation “Golf for Grace” outing will be Sept. 4 at The Madison Club. Funds raised will go toward childhood cancer research.

Registration begins at 1 p.m., with a shotgun start at 2. Scramble format.

Cost is $125 per golfer and includes golf, cart and dinner.

Deadline to register is Aug. 28. Make checks payable to: Reflections Of Grace Foundation, P.O. Box 298, Irwin, PA 15642

Online registration is available at www.reflectionsofgrace.org.

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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