Norwin’s Crosby, Phipps finished high school athletic careers in style

Saturday, May 16, 2020 | 6:43 PM

Editor’s note: This is the 14th in an 18-part series profiling nominees for the Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete Excellence Awards.

When Juliana Crosby made her decision to attend Florida State last month, the move, she said, was not only closure for her high school career but also a bit of good news in what has been a challenging time. Not only was there a premature end to all in-school activities but also her competitive dance season.

“I examined all offers, and I wanted to go to a place in a warmer climate and a place with a lot of programs I could explore,” said the Norwin senior who also made her mark as a three-year letterwinner and captain of the Knights girls golf team. “I am undecided on a major, but I want to go to law school. Florida State is the place for me.”

Crosby, a member of Albright Dance Stars in Monroeville, has danced competitively since seventh grade and has earned award recognition for her efforts.

“It’s been a great opportunity to represent a dance studio and share your artistry with dance judges at competitions,” said Crosby, a member of the National Honors Society who also participated in Model United Nations during her time at Norwin.

“Dance overlapped with golf in the fall, and with school, it was a huge time commitment. It really taught me a lot about time management.”

A highlight of her senior golf season was finishing second at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament.

“Champion Lakes is a really challenging course,” Crosby said. “I went in with no expectations. I think I played well, but I didn’t expect to put up the round that I did. I got in the clubhouse, and they started to put up the scores. I was shocked when I saw that I had one of the best scores. That was a great moment for me.”

Crosby said it was an honor to be a part of the Norwin girls golf team.

“To start in the No. 1 spot for my team, I worked hard to get there,” she said. “I always wanted to put my best foot forward because I was representing more than myself when I was out on the course.”

Kurtis Phipps put his best foot forward representing the Norwin wrestling team the past four years, and he capped his senior season draped in gold with WPIAL/Southwest Regional and PIAA Class AAA championships at 126 pounds.

Phipps, the Trib Westmoreland County Wrestler of the Year, joined a select group in the history of WPIAL wrestling to claim three WPIAL titles.

He then had a great view from the top of the podium in Hershey with his first state championship and a final career record of 143-9.

“It was a great feeling to win that state title after being so close a couple of times,” said Phipps, whose accomplishments at Norwin included his work as class president, involvement with the Peer Buddy’s Club, serving as a volunteer coach for Norwin Junior Wrestling and earning membership to the National Honors Society.

“It’s awesome to be able to say I am the first (state champion) from Norwin. I am excited now for the future of the program, and, hopefully, we can get a few more state champions coming up.”

Phipps is the latest WPIAL standout to commit to the wrestling program at Bucknell. He is one of six from the WPIAL who will be on the roster for the 2020-21 season.

“It’s still exciting to think about it with having that dream of being a Division I athlete for a number of years,” said Phipps, who will take the family baton from older brother Drew, who made his mark over four years in the Bison wrestling program.

“I put a lot into my education, so I wanted to find a place where I could do well in both academics and athletics. Bucknell is that place.”

Phipps entered a five-year course of study with a double major in civil engineering and management. He already owns college credit with courses completed through Seton Hill.

He is preparing for his freshman season with weight training and conditioning exercises sent from a weightlifting coach at Bucknell. Zoom meetings with coaches, he said, are putting him more firmly on track.

“I am really excited to get up there and do something new,” Phipps said. “I’m ready to get with the guys and get to work.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


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