Remembering one of Cove’s greats

Martinsburg High School had a life span of 57 years, from 1893 to 1950.

It was first housed in what became known as the Borough Building, still standing on East Allegheny Street.

In the 1930s the school played basketball in the Juniata Valley League and baseball in the Blair County High School League.

In the opinion of many townspeople and area residents, including myself, the best athlete ever produced by the school was Ralph Zook, class of 1950.

Zook, 85, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Homewood Retirement Center in Martinsburg.

Martinsburg High produced only one title winner during its existence. In 1942, under coach Bernie Reese, it won the Blair High School baseball title. That was before Zook’s time.

Zook played varsity basketball and baseball during all four years of eligibility.

During his senior year 1949-50, which was also the last year of the school’s existence, he scored a team leading 181 points and was the top vote-getter among league coaches for the Juniata Valley basketball All Star team.

The MHS yearbook cited Zook’s athletic accomplishments and his fine display of sportsmanship.

After high school Zook played for the town’s entries in both the adult Blair Baseball and Twilight leagues. The Twilight League sponsored All-Star games in the 1950s and Zook was an annual selectee and participant. His working career then took him away from Martinsburg, and he spent most of his adult life living in midwest.

Zook was the participant, along with Twilight League baseball teammate Reid Ritchey, in a peculiar test of an athletic skill, when returning from a game in 1952.

They were both riding in the same car between Roaring Spring and Martinsburg when the talk turned to who was the slowest runner. Zook and Ritchey were not fast runners, but who was faster? They stopped the car, lined up on the road, and took off.

Zook won, thereby claiming the dubious title as the faster of the slowest runners on the team.

James Wentz

Alexandria, Va.

Tigers on solid run

The 2017 Hollidaysburg Tigers football team deserves congratulations on its District 6-8-10 championship.

The Mirror reported the Tigers 2016′ District 6 5A championship was uncontested. In fact, the Tigers defeated Central Mountain, their only opponent in Class 5A. They also defeated Brashear, the only 5A opponent in D8.

A team who defeats all opponents in their class is a district champion.

Rob Vonada


(Editor’s note: In 2016, Hollidaysburg defeated Central Mountain and Brashear in the regular season and did not play those teams in the playoffs.)

Question of the week

What ideas would you suggest for the betterment of deer hunting season?

Responses should be emailed to sundaybag@altoonamirror.com, faxed to 946-7540 or mailed to Voice of the Fan, P.O. Box 2008, Altoona, Pa. 16603.

Letters should be kept to 150-200 words. The Mirror reserves the right to edit for length, clarity and fairness. Full names and addresses must be included with all mail.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today