Franklin Regional grad Smith dominant for Bucknell in wrestling debut
Tyler Smith made his mark as one of the best performers in the history of Franklin Regional wrestling, and now, as a freshman at Bucknell University, he hopes to establish himself as a major player on the collegiate mats.
On Saturday, in the season opener for the Bison against Pittsburgh at Pitt’s Fitzgerald Field House, Smith, wrestling at 141, scored one of three victories in a 22-11 loss to the Panthers.
He was dominant in his homecoming to the Pittsburgh area.
Smith scored an 18-3 technical fall over Pitt’s Ben Ross at 141. The victory gave Bucknell an 8-3 lead.
The Panthers, however, won the next six bouts to wrap up the match. Included in those Pitt wins were three by wrestlers ranked No. 16, No. 5 and No. 7 in the nation.
Smith concluded his high school career with a 158-21 record.
He was a three-time individual state place winner, and he won a PIAA title as a junior in 2013.
Smith also finished third at states in March and fifth as a sophomore in 2012.
The three-year captain at Franklin Regional was a four-year WPIAL runner-up, and he helped the Panthers claim the 2014 state team title and take home a third-place finish at states in 2013.
Smith and the rest of the Bison wrestlers will return to action Nov. 22 with their annual trip to the Navy Classic.
Franklin Regional graduate Gionna Fonseca, a freshman midfielder on the Penn State-Behrend women’s soccer team, has helped the Lions throughout the 2014 fall season.
She was able to celebrate with her Behrend teammates on Nov. 8 after they, as the No. 3 seed, defeated top-seeded Pitt-Bradford, 2-1, in overtime to claim the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship.
The win marks the Lions’ fourth straight conference title and 10th overall for the program. Behrend also improved to 16-5-1 with the victory.
Fonseca didn’t have any shots in the title game, but she played a part in the Lions’ 6-1 victory over Franciscan in the semifinals on Nov. 5.
Behrend jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Franciscan scored to avoid a shutout.
The Lions tallied the final three goals, and Fonseca provided a pass to teammate and Seneca Valley graduate Alex Bilka for the sixth and final goal of the game.
Fonseca has appeared in every game this season with one start to her credit. She has two assists and 12 shots with five shots on goal.
The Behrend women’s soccer team has a Pittsburgh-area flair, as 16 graduates of WPIAL schools are on the roster.
The Lions earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament and will face Brandeis on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in first-round action.
Behrend is ranked seventh in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Poll, while Brandeis (12-4-2) finished sixth in the University Athletic Association but is ranked third in the New England Regional Poll.�
Franklin Regional’s Ian Griffith, a freshman on the Penn State-Behrend men’s cross country team, earned All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference honors after placing 12th at the conference championship meet on Nov. 1 at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
The team captured its fourth straight league title and eighth title overall. It recorded a perfect team score of 15, placing the top five runners.
All seven Behrend runners placed in the top 12, showing the team depth that has helped them to success all season.
Griffith’s time at the AMCC meet was 28:06, while another area graduate, Alan Yocca, a freshman from Plum, took eighth (27:47).
Yocca, Griffith and the rest of the Behrend men’s team will test their mettle at the NCAA Regional meet, hosted by Franciscan, on Nov. 15.
The Lions runners also hope to be in the mix at the NCAA championships, set for Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio.
Grove City junior football player Ryan Hickey, a Franklin Regional graduate, is one of two Wolverines to earn Academic All-District First Team honors from Capital One and the College Sports Information Directors of America.
The recognition comes through recent voting by the region’s sports information directors.
Hickey earned All-District distinction for the second straight season at defensive end.
As a first-team honoree, he advances to the national CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot.
The Academic All-America Team will be announced later this month.
Hickey has started all nine games this year for Grove City and has 44 total tackles, including 31 solo stops.
He is second on the team with nine tackles for a loss and also has two quarterback sacks. He is a two-year starter and a three-year letterman for the Wolverines.
Hickey has earned a 3.66 cumulative GPA as a mechanical engineering major. He has been named to the Dean’s List and the Presidents Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Currently, CoSIDA honors student-athletes in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, along with a “college” division that includes NAIA institutions and junior colleges.
Grove City now is part of District IV for the CoSIDA Academic All-America program, and it includes all of the NCAA Division III programs in Pennsylvania.
To be nominated for the CoSIDA Academic All-America program, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a 3.3 or higher cumulative grade-point average and be a starter or significant reserve.
Hickey and the rest of the Grove City football team will close out the 2014 season Saturday at home against Thiel at 1:30 p.m.
The Wolverines, 0-9 overall and 0-7 in the conference, will be looking to break through against the Tomcats.
Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.