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Crash claims lives of former wrestler, friend

A former star wrestler from West Mifflin and a friend were killed Friday when their car spun out of control and collided with a pickup truck.

Gideon Lamont Short, 19, of Garfield Avenue, and Brittany Michele Maycock, 17, of Kittanning, died instantly in the accident that occurred at 7:39 a.m. along Route 422, two miles west of West Kittanning, Armstrong County Coroner Robert T. Bower said.

Maycock, a student at Lenape Vocational Technical School in Ford City, was driving to school, Bower said.

Short, who had a standout career at West Mifflin High School, was riding in the passenger seat. The Penn State University sophomore was visiting Maycock and her family for the weekend, Bower said.

State police said Maycock's car crossed the center medial of the roadway, entered the oncoming lanes and had spun out of control when it was struck on the driver's side door by a pickup truck driven by Todd R. Wilson, 27, of the Kittanning area. Wilson sustained moderate injuries.

As a senior at West Mifflin High School, Short placed second in the WPIAL/PIAA Southwest Regionals at 189 pounds and qualified for the state tournament in 2003. He finished with a 32-6 record as a senior.

The two-time Section 5-AAA champion went to Penn State but quit the sport to focus on academics.

"I've been coaching for 10 years in high school and he was the hardest-working kid I've ever coached," said Tony Salopek, West Mifflin wrestling coach.

"I don't know how to say it. He made so many sacrifices to wrestle. I tell the kids I will always make myself available for as much time as they want to put in. Nobody took me up on that offer more than Gideon," Salopek said.

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