Mt. Lebanon grad, former Pitt wrestler Hnath set to officiate his 10th NCAA D-I wrestling championships |

Mt. Lebanon grad, former Pitt wrestler Hnath set to officiate his 10th NCAA D-I wrestling championships

Paul Schofield
Paul Schofield | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon graduate John Hnath will be officiating his 10th NCAA wrestling championships.

When the NCAA Division I wrestling championships begin Thursday at PPG Paints Arena, there will be one official from Pittsburgh among the 20 picked to work the event.

John Hnath, a former Pitt wrestler and Mt. Lebanon graduate and resident, will be working for the 10th consecutive season.

Hnath, 51, wrestled in the nationals when he was at Pitt. A three-year captain of the Panthers, he made it to the blood round in 1985.

But you won’t see him working a Pitt bout. No home cooking here.

ACC Videos

“If a Pitt wrestler appears on the mat, I simply walk off,” Hnath said. “It’s quite an honor to be selected for the nationals.”

Hnath started officiating on the college level 18 years ago.

One weekend, he worked the PIAA Class AA finals in Hershey in the morning, and that evening he got a call to report to Bloomsburg to officiate in the EWLs because one of the officials got sick.

He has been working big college tournaments ever since.

One of his most memorable events was the Penn State-Ohio State dual in 2018 when Penn State won a classic 19-18 decision. He had the Myles Martin and Bo Nickal final at the 2018 nationals.

“I was nervous for that dual meet,” Hnath said. “The nationals are different. You’re working hard every day. You just have to treat it as another match. It’s physically demanding.”

Hnath said officials have to be at the top of their games because they always are being evaluated.

“There are a lot of good officials out there waiting for their shot,” Hnath said. “There isn’t a big turnover, but there are some other local officials that deserve a shot.”

Hnath wrestled for the Blue Devils and qualified for the PIAA tournament at 119 pounds in 1981. His record was 28-3-1. He graduated from Mt. Lebanon in 1982.

He said officials Clem Wandrisco, Fred Ambrose, Mel Tourney and Jim Sterner influenced his decision to officiate and helped him advance.

Now he gets a chance to officiate in front of a home crowd.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.