Greensburg-area grads choose to stay close to home at Seton Hill
By Chris Adamski
Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Over the course of their college searches, Hope Pehrson, Zach Martinelli and Zach Voytek didn't have to go very far to find the perfect fit.
Each was a sports standout at a Greensburg-based high school. All ultimately signed to play at a Greensburg-based college.
Pehrson (softball), Martinelli (baseball) and Voytek (wrestling) were part of this year's recruiting classes at Seton Hill. Pehrson and Martinelli recently graduated from Hempfield and Voytek from Greensburg Salem.
“Recruiting locally for us can only be positive,” said Seton Hill wrestling coach Brian Tucker, who is entering his second season. “Not just with the talent that is seen, but gaining local support will lead to an increase in attendance at matches, help with community engagement, and more acknowledgment for Seton Hill, our wrestling program, and student-athletes in general.”
The Griffins' wrestling roster this past season included one wrestler with a listed hometown of Greensburg (senior 133-pounder Mike Grant). Though Seton Hill's softball team had no Greensburg natives this past spring, sophomore pitcher Christine Henderson is a Ligonier Valley alum.
Seton Hill baseball traditionally has relied on talent in its backyard the most. Its 2013 roster had two Greensburg Salem graduates and two who went to Hempfield.
Martinelli is at least the seventh Hempfield alum who has played for Seton Hill during Marc Marizzaldi's decade as coach.
“We don't necessarily put an emphasis on having to recruit local players, but we do feel the need to recruit the top players in the area — particularly Westmoreland County,” Marizzaldi said. “From a college baseball standpoint, local kids have what we believe is one of the best small college baseball programs in the country right here in Greensburg.”
The Griffins went 42-17 this past season, advancing to an NCAA Division II regional final.
“I wanted to play on a winning baseball team, and I knew they had a really good program there,” said Martinelli, a right-handed pitcher. “They had the major I wanted, which helped out, too, and I knew the coach to be a really nice guy, too.”
Martinelli, who has played on teams with Hempfield alum and current Seton Hill catcher Anthony Fanelli since he was 13, attended Seton Hill's baseball camps when he was younger.
“He has a great arsenal of stuff that we think can get a lot of college hitters out,” Marizzaldi said.
Pehrson also was an accomplished and decorated high school pitcher — “above average speed, accuracy and movement,” Seton Hill softball coach Paul O'Brien said. “A kid that truly battles from the circle.”
Pehrson was part of an early-signee recruiting class that included players from Maryland, New Jersey and California. The roster also has many Western Pennsylvania natives.
“This will always be my recruiting philosophy,” O'Brien said. “All I look for are kids that want to be Griffins. They love Seton Hill and will enthusiastically join our softball family.”
Pehrson said she chose Seton Hill because of the coaching staff and the small-school learning environment. But, she added, “I'm very close to my family, so if I had gone far away for college I would have hated it.”
Being far from home won't be a concern for two-time PIAA Class AAA wrestling medalist Voytek, the all-time wins leader at Greensburg Salem (165).
“I look for him to enter the lineup at 157 pounds and make a positive impact immediately,” Tucker said. “He is a great fit for our program.”
That'd be the case regardless of where Voytek was from. But snagging one of the best from the Westmoreland County wrestling grounds was a point of emphasis for Tucker.
“This was a big step for our wrestling program,” he said.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.