Westmoreland athletes of the week: Mt. Pleasant’s Olivia Kovach, Mt. Pleasant’s Dylan Pitzer

Saturday, February 17, 2024 | 7:45 PM

Olivia Kovach

School: Mt. Pleasant

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Gymnastics

Claim to fame: Kovach competed in the WPIAL championship meet for the second year in a row and won a gold medal in the balance beam with a score of 9.575. She also finished second in the all-around (37.450) and in the uneven bars (9.500), in the advanced division.

Kovach competes as an independent for the Vikings.

What was it like winning your first WPIAL gold medal?

I was so in shock that I took first on beam. I couldn’t have been more excited to be in first place.

What did you do particularly well in that meet?

Balance beam has always been my favorite event. I had a great event sticking all of my series and landing my dismount that day and placed first.

Where did you put the medal?

I have hooks on my bedroom walls that hold all of my past meet medals.

What are your expectations going into the state meet?

I hope to do even better than I did at WPIALs.

How long have you been a gymnast, and what inspired you to start?

I have been a gymnast since I was 3 years old. I always loved tumbling and flipping. It was natural to me.

At what level do you compete?

I am a Level 9 gymnast and will train as a Level 10 this summer.

Are you looking to continue gymnastics past high school?

I have not decided what I would like to pursue after high school yet.

Do you play any other sports?

No. No time for anything else.

What do you study at vo-tech?

I am in the automotive collision technology program.

Do you enjoy being home-schooled?

I am a cyber student at Mt. Pleasant. It gives me the flexibility to spend time at the gym practicing and working around my travel schedule during meet season.

How long is your school day, and how does your schedule go?

I start my day at CWCTC at 8 a.m. and return to Mt. Pleasant High School at 11 a.m. I then go home to complete school assignments, and I’m at the gym by 3 p.m. almost every day.

How much do you train for gymnastics?

I am in the gym four days a week for practice, and I also coach our Level 2 and Bronze Gymnasts two days a week.

Your family owns the Alpaca Key Farm in Mt. Pleasant?


What is your role on the farm?

I help with pretty much anything and everything. Feeding, vaccinations … I helped build two of our barns. I can run all the equipment too!

Did you name any of the alpacas?

Most of our alpacas (and other farm animals) have Disney-inspired names. I definitely help choose, but I do choose almost all the names of our goats.

What happens to the alpacas?

They are a pretty easy animal to raise. They mostly graze. They get vaccinated every month by us at the farm to protect them from a disease spread by white tail deer. They get sheared each spring for their health. They have thick wool that would keep them too hot in the summer. We use their fleece to create our alpaca gifts.

Do you have any other unique hobbies or talents?

I love working on cars or anything really. I’m not afraid to get dirty.

Has anyone inspired you?

I watch a lot a college gymnastics but I just inspire myself to bigger and better skills.

Before a big meet I have to __.

Listen to music and just always remember to have fun at the meet.

What do you think your friends would say is your best quality?

Determination and hard working.

Do you like to shop a lot? Online or in-store?

T.J. Maxx is my favorite go to store locally.

Dunkin’ or Starbucks?

Definitely a Dunkin’ girl.

Do you frequent the Evergreen Drive-in in the summer?

Yes. We try to go at least once a month. Hopefully, there’s some great new movies this summer.

What is your favorite movie?


What makes you happiest?

My family and my gymnastics friends.

What would you like to change about the world?

I just hope that my generation would learn to be more appreciative and be more kind to each other.

Dylan Pitzer

School: Mt. Pleasant

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Wrestling

Claim to fame: Pitzer, nicknamed Pickle, won his first section title Saturday by defeating Burgettstown senior Joe Baronick, 4-0, in the 285-pound weight class. Pitzer, who also plays football, is the younger brother of three-time PIAA and WPIAL champion Dayton Pitzer, who is wrestling at Pitt. Dylan Pitzer is 32-0 heading into the WPIAL Class 2A championships Feb. 23-24 at Chartiers Valley.

What does it mean to win your first section title?

It means a lot. I lost a couple matches last year, and it motivated me to work harder this past summer. I worked on my conditioning, and I got stronger.

Has your brother taught you anything?

He’s helped me a lot. He worked on some big-man moves that I can use in high school.

What are your goals?

I want to be a state champion. I just have to keep working hard and staying focused.

Does wrestling help you in football?

I think wrestling helps me in football. I’m in better shape, and lifting and getting stronger helps both sports.

Do you and Dayton still practice?

We do. Going against each other help both of us.

How old were you when you started to wrestle?

I was probably 8 years old. I watched Dayton wrestle so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s worked out well for me.

What do you remember about your first practice?

It was at All-American. I still go there. Coach (Rob) Waller taught me the “Blast Double” takedown. I still use it.

What’s the last movie you saw?


What type of music do you listen to?

I like rock and roll and country.

Do you listen to music prior to a match?

No. I usually try to focus on wrestling.

Where do you and your teammates go for a snack or a meal after practice or a match?

I like to get a steak and chicken bowl at Chipotle.

If your mom was making you your favorite meal, what would it be?


What do you like more? MMA or pro wrestling?

I like MMA.

What is your prediction for the Pirates?

I hope they have a better season than last year.

If you were the Steelers GM, who would you pick in the draft?

I’d get a quarterback or another offensive tackle.

During hunting season, who got the bigger buck — you or Dayton?

Dayton got a six-point, and I got a four-point in West Virginia.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

I like science.

If you were to have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Tom Brady. I’m a big fan, and we’d talk about his career.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.


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Baldwin’s Abby Rexrode wins 3rd straight WPIAL all-around gymnastics title
Pine-Richland gets past Moon to win program’s 4th WPIAL team gymnastics title