Westmoreland County athletes follow in older siblings’ footsteps with Division I commitments
By: Likitha Janga
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | 8:12 PM
Nick Coy wanted to be a wrestler because he saw his older brother, Cam, become proficient in the sport.
Twisting opponents into precarious positions and holding them down on the mat appealed to the impressionable younger sibling, two years Cam’s junior.
“I thought, ‘I’ll give it a try,’ ” said Nick Coy, a senior at Penn-Trafford. “I ended up loving it.”
The Coy brothers went on to wrestle together at Penn-Trafford, and now they will reunite in college.
What’s better than one Coy on a roster? Twooo!
Nick made his plans to compete at Virginia official by signing his letter of intent.
“It’ll be like the good old high school days,” Coy said of joining Cam, a redshirt freshman who competes at 165 pounds and was a three-time PIAA champion.
Senior athletes in any sport but football could put pen to paper Wednesday as the NCAA signing period began.
A number of other athletes from Westmoreland County also will follow in the footsteps of their siblings or relatives to the Division I level.
Yough baseball player Jarett Bach formalized his commitment to Pitt. His sister, Hannah, is a freshman softball player for the Panthers.
Abby Zambruno of Greensburg Central Catholic signed with St. Francis (Pa.) for golf. Olivia Zambruno, her older sister, is a sophomore on the Penn State golf team.
Hempfield’s Mackenna Orie will sign with DePaul for track and field, the sport that earned her sister, Sam, an appointment to Navy.
And Latrobe basketball standout Reed Fenton followed his father Neal’s path to college as he signed with Lehigh. Neal Fenton played for the Mountain Hawks in the late 1980s.
Nick Coy is a 138- or 145-pounder for Penn-Trafford. He is a three-time PIAA qualifier and has a career record of 99-31.
He also considered Bucknell, Pitt and Virginia Military Institute.
“My brother being at Virginia played a huge part on me going there,” Nick said. “But I looked at all my options and Virginia was the best fit.”
Penn-Trafford assistant wrestling coach Larry Hohman wrestled on the same team with his brother, Lee Chickel, at Pitt-Johnstown.
“It’s like when you see someone from your family (get a scholarship), you say, I can do it too,” Hohman said. “Both of them will do well there. They have different styles.”
Orie wants to wait for her sister to come home next week so they can be together for the signing.
“While I was just starting out throwing she was always someone I looked up to while at practice and meets,” Mackenna Orie said. “Being able to throw Division I and follow her footsteps feels amazing. She has always been a role model in sports but also life.”
The Zambruno name has become synonymous with GCC golf. Abby Zambruno is anxious to carry on the family name on the course in college.
She had not announced her commitment to St. Francis until Wednesday.
“I have always aspired to play college golf so I am so happy I can continue the game I love,” she said.
Bach, a 6-foot-4 lefty pitcher, was asked in jest if his parents will have to take up residence in Oakland now that they have two Pitt recruits in the family.
“They might have to for how often they’ll be there,” Jarett said. “They’re happy for me and glad that I’m going to be close (to home) and will be with my sister.”
Other local players who signed with Division I schools Wednesday:
Belle Vernon — Scott Joll (West Virginia, wrestling) and Josh Hoffman (Youngstown State, baseball).
Franklin Regional — Cali Konek (Charlotte, basketball).
Hempfield — Gavin Mayo (North Carolina, swimming) and Zoey Wilson (St. Francis, Pa., swimming).
Latrobe — Reed Fenton (Lehigh, basketball) and Brady Pevarnik (Penn State, golf).
Norwin — Emily Brozeski (Duquesne, track), Jessica Kolesar (Cornell, track), Maddy Genicola (Duquesne, soccer), Lexi Gray (Bucknell, track and field) and Kendra Pampus (Indiana, soccer).
Penn-Trafford — Emma Armstrong (Hartford, softball), Kiley Dugan (Valparaiso, soccer), Paige Kalik (Akron, diving) and Griffin Martin (New Jersey Institute of Technology, lacrosse).
Franklin Regional will have three more signings Thursday: Palmer Jackson (Notre Dame, golf), Zach McCann (American, wrestling) and Colton Camacho (Pitt, wrestling).
Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.