Saturday April 16, 2022 | 10:01 a.m.
A pair of Norwin student-athletes are finalists for the 66th Annual Westmoreland County College-Athlete Awards. The banquet is set for May 3 at Ferrante’s Lakeview.
It will honor 36 nominees, two each from the county’s 18 high schools.
Athletic directors and school officials at each high school nominate two senior students who have excelled as athletes while maintaining a minimum 3.5 GPA or who rank in the top 20% of their class.
Norwin’s main nominees are Paloma Swankler and Michael Fleming.
The banquet is introduced by Judge John J. Driscoll, who retires after the banquet and will be replaced by Judge Michael Stewart II. Other sponsors include Dr. Geof and Dr. Greg Bisignani, Excela Health and Ferrante’s Lakeview.
The 2021 winners were Haylie Brunson of Mt. Pleasant and Ian Oswalt of Burrell.
Swankler is a footballer. Fleming plays basketball and volleyball.
The guest speaker will be Mt. Lebanon football coach Bob Palko, Don Shula High School NFL Coach of the Year, who began his coaching career as an assistant coach in the team from the late Joe Mucci to Jeannette.
Palko led the Blue Devils to the WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A titles last season.
Roy Hall will receive the Michael and John Ferrante Memorial Award for his contributions to the promotion of high school athletics. Hempfield track coach Ron Colland and Kiski area wrestling coach Chuck Tursky were Ferrante’s winners in 2021 and 2020.
On the right track
Norwin senior Aaron Schmook won a javelin title at the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Track & Field Invitational at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.
Schmook, who was the top seed in the WPIAL Class AAA Championships last season, threw 170-foot-3 to edge teammate Cody Scherle (163-2).
The Knights also had two individual girls champions with Nataiah Robertson-Dutrieuille winning the long jump with a mark of 17-foot-2.75 and Layla Robertson finishing first in the 300-meter hurdles (48.81 seconds). .
Norwin’s baseball team rebounded from a 0-2 start with three straight wins to climb to first place in the Division 2-6A.
The Knights, who were 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the section, beat Central Catholic, 8-0, and Baldwin, 17-14, 8-2, before bad weather hampered the schedule.
The Knights also returned to the TribLive HSSN rankings, rising from unranked to occupying fourth place in 6A.
Fall of the Ladies Knights
Norwin Softball fell to Seneca Valley, 2-1, in a tight 2-6A Division game to improve to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the 2-6A Division.
Norwin also fell two spots in the TribLive HSSN 6A rankings, from No. 3 to No. 5.
Hall of Fame
A former wrestling coach Norwin got a call in the room.
Bill Closson, who guided the Norwin program from 2014 to 2016, was inducted into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony took place at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on March 25 at Peters Township.
Closson stood out at Plum, where he was a starter for four years and a member of the Mustangs Hall of Fame.
He compiled a 117-21 record and won a WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A title before moving to wrestling at Lehigh.
While in college, Closson won 105 times and was a two-time All-American.
Closson also made his mark on the freestyle circuit by winning two national titles.
In 1996 he finished sixth at the Olympic trials.
He has also coached at Miami of Ohio, Kutztown, Richmond-Burton High School (Illinois), and Burlington-Central High School.
Closson works as a teacher for the visually impaired and is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist at Norwin.
A pair of Norwin tennis players competed in the Section 1-3A Singles Championships at Franklin Regional, but saw early exits.
Senior Luke Snyder lost 10-0 to Connellsville senior Jakob Greer in the first round, and junior Brady Johnson suffered an 11-9 loss to Latrobe junior Josh Havrilla.
The top four qualified for the WPIAL Championships.
Fleming at SVC
Norwin senior guard Michael Fleming will play his college basketball in Saint Vincent.
Fleming, known as “Waldo” around family and friends, was Norwin’s second leading scorer this season with 15.1 points per game along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
He was one of the best 3-point threats on the team.