Westmoreland high school notebook: Norwin’s Rizzo gets 1st offer

Saturday, March 17, 2018 | 3:54 PM


It is no secret Norwin's Gianni Rizzo has speed around the track. He ran a leg of the Knights' PIAA Class AAA winning 1,600-meter relay team last spring.

But Rizzo could also be moving into the fast lane in college football recruiting on the eve of his senior season.

Rizzo picked up his first Division I scholarship last week from Fordham, an FCS program that plays in the Patriot League.

Rizzo is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver and outside linebacker. Last season, he caught 30 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he made 49 tackles, 29 solo, to go with five sacks, an interception and two caused fumbles.

Russell to IUP

Norwin junior softball player Sara Russell verbally committed to IUP. A catcher, Russell hit .382 last season with 16 RBIs. She threw out nearly 40 percent of potential base stealers and had three pickoffs.

Russell's poise and toughness behind the plate could be connected to her affiliation with martial arts. She is a two-time National Blackbelt League World Champion in karate for Allegheny Shotokan/Team Kumite out of Irwin.

She also considered playing softball at Cal (Pa.), Buffalo and Saint Vincent.

Latrobe players sign

Latrobe hockey player JT Schimizzi signed with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League. A forward, Schimizzi most recently played for the Esmark Stars 18-Under team and had 19 goals and 32 assists in 61 games this season.

A PIHL all-star, he was named the league's Class AA Player of the Month for February as he put up 12 points in five games and scored the winning goal in a 5-4 victory over Upper St. Clair.

Schimizzi wasn't alone: teammate Blake Rossi last month signed with the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL's South Division. Rossi, a defenseman, also plays for the Esmark 18-U team, for which he scored five goals and dished seven assists this season. He played in the recent NAPHL all-star game.

Pair in all-star game

Two more Westmoreland area players were selected to play in the Never Fear Being Different all-star football game in May at a venue to be announced.

Penn-Trafford senior running back John Gay IV, an Air Force recruit, and Latrobe senior linebacker Jason Armstrong (Mercyhurst) were picked for the event.

They will join two other locals in Jeannette quarterback/running back/defensive back Robert Kennedy and quarterback Justin Sliwoski of Hempfield. Kennedy will attend Lackawanna junior college in Scranton, and Sliwoski is headed to Pitt as a preferred walk-on.

Lynch to SVC

Mt. Pleasant senior baseball player Noah Lynch will continue his playing career at Saint Vincent. Lynch, perhaps best known for getting hit by pitches more than 40 times during the high school and American Legion seasons last year, has played numerous positions including pitcher, first base, third base and outfield.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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

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