Alle-Kiski Valley notebook: Apollo-Ridge's Tipton gets offer from Toledo

Bill West
| Monday, April 14, 2014, 10:57 p.m.

Though considered a football player with Division I-level talent since his freshman season, Apollo-Ridge junior Tre Tipton fretted when spring came and he remained without a scholarship offer.

Two weeks into April, Tipton's anxiety level has dipped quite a bit.

The recipient of an offer from Duquesne earlier this month, Tipton garnered his second offer Sunday as Toledo joined the mix. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound wide receiver/defensive back, an all-state selection, visited Toledo as part of a three-school Midwest tour this past weekend.

“It makes me humble and grateful to get what I've gotten so far,” said Tipton, who had 44 receptions for 697 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. “It was kind of frustrating at first because I was seeing all these other people get offers. But it taught me that I just have to be humble and patient.”

Tipton's plans for this past weekend initially consisted just of a trip to Michigan State, a school that sits among his most preferred college destinations. But Tipton, his mother, Kim, and his cousin ultimately visited Bowling Green, Toledo and Michigan State between Friday and Saturday.

“The expectation for Michigan State was just to go down there and see them,” Tipton said. “I knew they weren't ready to offer because they want to see me perform. And I respect that.”

Tipton headed to Toledo and Bowling Green with the same expectation, so the Rockets' offer caught him by surprise.

“I figured I'd have to wait it out, just like Michigan State,” he said.

Nolf on Dream Team

With an entire country's worth of 145-pounders to choose from, the organizers of the Wrestling USA/Cliff Keen Dream Team Classic chose Kittanning senior Jason Nolf to fill that weight class for the event's Team USA.

Nolf, a Penn State recruit, did his part to help Team USA beat Team Georgia, 37-15, on Sunday at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga. He won 14-8 over J.J. Alfau, a 2014 Georgia state champ at 152 pounds.

Team USA had six Pennsylvania wrestlers. Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith, a Bucknell recruit, was the only other one from the WPIAL. Smith won the 132-pound bout 15-7.

Scorers showcased

No member of Team Pittsburgh at this past weekend's America's Showcase, an all-star hockey event held at Robert Morris Island Sports Center, found the back of the net more than Freeport senior Cole Hepler.

Hepler tied two others for the team lead, as each scored five times in five games for Pittsburgh (4-1). The Freeport star, who also had two assists in the showcase, finished with 54 points this winter with the Yellowjackets, and then signed a tender in March to play for the Kenai River (Alaska) Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League.

“I was just looking to lead the team this year,” Hepler said. “Last year, I was a younger guy and just looking up to some of the older guys who were headed to big places.”

Other locals who bolstered Pittsburgh's offensive production — it scored 33 goals than five games — included Freeport senior Brendon Zack (five assists) and Kittanning junior Christian Miller (one goal, three assists). Zack participated in the showcase a season ago and finished pointless, and Miller was a first-timer at the event.

“I really want to go far in this sport,” said Miller, who scored a Class AA-high 46 goals with Armstrong this past PIHL season. “I want to try to go play Juniors for at least a couple years. And I want to play somewhere in college at the NCAA level.”

On the girls side, Tarentum native Samantha Smith spent 102 minutes in net for Team Mid-American (0-3-1). In her second time at the showcase, the Shady Side Academy junior made 64 saves, including 45 in an 8-0 loss.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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