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Please keep Conaway in your prayers

Notes and observations from a PIAA wrestling season that has yet to start and will hopefully be held in some form this winter:

n The past year has been an extraordinarily difficult one for just about everybody on the planet, including many with wrestling ties to the Mirror’s current or former coverage area.

Dave Conaway, who wrestled in high school at Philipsburg-Osceola and later coached at Bellwood-Antis, is waging a heroic struggle against a degenerative nerve disease as this year comes to a close.

Conaway, who will turn 63 on Christmas Day, is in hospice care at his Adams County home in Abbottstown, suffering from Lewy body dementia, a disease which develops as nerve cells in the body die or deteriorate.

Conaway has struggled with health issues in the recent past, having been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease several years ago at the age of 58.

Conaway was a highly-respected coach throughout the state, having last directed the District 3 New Oxford program as a head coach before also serving as a volunteer coach.

While at New Oxford, Conaway had the pleasure of coaching his son, Jordan, to a PIAA Class 3A state championship back in 2011.

Jordan Conaway went on to become a two-time Division I wrestling All-American at Penn State.

Cards to the Conaway family with notes of encouragement are welcomed and can be sent to Dave at his home address at 425 Rolling Lane, Abbottstown, Pa. 17301.

n COVID-19 has brought sadness, heartache, and in the worst cases, bereavement, to tens of thousands around the country, and complications from the virus recently claimed the life of former University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Central Cambria High School wrestling standout John Revesz, who died at the age of 59.

Revesz was one of five outstanding wrestling brothers in his family, and he became the first four-time All-American in the history of the UPJ wrestling program during his wrestling career at that school from 1979 to 1983.

Revesz compiled 119 career victories at UPJ, which still ranks him eighth best on the school’s all-time wrestling wins list.

Revesz – along with his older brother, Dan, and younger brothers Jim, Joe and Mike – set the groundwork for UPJ to eventually become an NCAA Division II national power in wrestling.

The Mountain Cats won Division II national team titles in 1996 and 1999, and saw 14 individual wrestlers win a combined total of 22 national championships.

n With all PIAA winter sports on a government shut-down order until Jan. 4 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, December’s usually busy tournament schedule was either cancelled or postponed.

Several District 6 wrestling programs customarily compete in high-profile December tournaments in and outside the state of Pennsylvania.

Casualties included the season-opening Bishop Walsh Jesuit Iron Man Tournament in Ohio, the Beast of the East Tournament in Delaware, the Tony Iasiello Memorial/ Christmas City Tournament at Bethlehem Catholic High School, and the Panther Holiday Classic, which this year had been moved from Mount Aloysius College to the Blair County Convention Center in mid-December before being canceled.

One of the most prestigious scholastic wrestling tournaments in the country, the Powerade Tournament, is tentatively still on for Jan. 28-29 at the Monroeville Convention Center. Altoona was in the original field for this year’s Powerade, which was relocated from its normal locale at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg to Monroeville because of increased seating and social distancing capacity in light of the pandemic. This year’s Powerade Tournament had originally been scheduled for Dec. 28-29 before being moved to late January.

The King of the Mountain Tournament at Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall was originally scheduled to be a three-day weekend tournament in mid-December, before being altered to a multiple-team dual-meet event because of COVID, but then put on hold. It may or may not be held as a dual meet tournament this season.

The Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock North High School in the Philadelphia suburb of Holland is normally held in mid-Januaryand features top-notch midseason competition. It has also been canceled, much to the disappointment of the Glendale High School wrestling program and its reigning two-time PIAA Class 2A state champion, Brock McMillen, who had been among the field for this year’s event.

John Hartsock can be reached at jhartsock@altoonamirror.com

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