By: Patrick Damp/KDKA-TV
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League celebrated one of its most prestigious nights on Wednesday, introducing its 2022 Hall of Fame class.
The 15th annual class included 16 inductees across seven different categories, including eight athletes, two coaches, two teams, and one each in the categories of official, contributor, heritage, and courage.
A press conference was held at the Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum to announce and celebrate the newest inductees.
Dion Bentley: Bentley was a two-time PIAA champion and four-time WPIAL champion in track and field between 1987 and 1989 as a Penn Hills student and was named a 1989 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year. He went on to compete in track and field at the University of Florida.
Mallory Dietrich: This 14-time WPIAL champion and 12-time PIAA champion swimmer qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 100m breaststroke and was two-time All-Patriot League First Team at the U.S. Naval Academy in 2007 and 2009. The Oakland Catholic alum also holds the Naval Academy record in the 200 medley relay.
Bob Gorinsky: Gorinsky was drafted 22nd overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 1970 MLB Draft, making him the first WPIAL athlete to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft. His efforts helped Mt. Pleasant win the 1970 WPIAL baseball championship and was also a dual athlete, rushing for 3,350 yards as a running back in football. He originally accepted a scholarship from Penn State to play football but ultimately chose baseball.
Micah Mason: The Highlands alum holds the WPIAL record for career three-pointers with 346, which breaks the mark set by 2016 inductee and Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell. Mason led the WPIAL in scoring as both a junior and senior and then went on to play basketball at both Drake and Duquesne universities.
Jason Nolf: The Kittanning wrestler was a four-time WPIAL champion between 2011-2014 in the 103, 113, 132, and 145 weight classes and added three PIAA championships for good measure in 2011, 2013, and 2014. Nolf went on to wrestle at Penn State, winning three NCAA championships and two Big Ten championships in the 157 weight class.
Brianne O'Rourke: During O'Rourke's time on Oakland Catholic's basketball team, they won two WPIAL championships in 2002 and 2005 and two PIAA titles in 2003 and 2005. She was named to the Associated Press's All-State First Team and then was a four-year letter winner at Penn State and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. Her basketball career continued overseas where she played professionally after college.
Chad Salisbury: This tri-athlete from Frazier had a storied WPIAL career, throwing for over 4,500 yards and 44 touchdowns in football, scoring 1,700 points in basketball, and batting .400 with 10 home runs in baseball. Salisbury was also named all-state in both football and baseball. He went on to play quarterback at the University of Buffalo and New Mexico State University, following that up with eight seasons in the Arena Football League.
Brian Simmons: Simmons has an impressive collection of varsity letters, compiling 10 in four sports during his time at Peters Township. He was selected in the MLB Draft twice, in 1992 to the Baltimore Orioles and then in 1995 by the Chicago White Sox. Simmons went on to play 10 pro baseball seasons, including three in the MLB for the White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Robert Kalp: The Hempfield softball coach has a career record of 431-111-1 record after 25 years as coach. In those 25 years, Coach Kalp won seen WPIAL championships and four PIAA championships. He was named the FloSoftball National Coach of the Year in 2018.
Chuck Turksy: In 36 years between Kiski Area and Burrell wrestling, Tursky holds a 505-143-2 record. Now, the WPIAL Hall of Fame is just yet another induction for Turksy. The two-time WPIAL champion is also a member of the PA Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, Slippery Rock Athletic Hall of Fame, Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame, and Kiski Area High School Hall of Fame.
1989-90 Aliquippa Girls Basketball: The 1989-1990 season was Aliquippa's fourth consecutive WPIAL championship and ended with their second consecutive PIAA championship. The team beat four PIAA opponents by 20 points or more, including the championship, beating Trinity 89-62.
2011 Mars Girls Soccer: Losses were not experienced by the Planets in the 2011 season. The team finished with a 25-0-1 record and had a goal differential of +162, scoring 168 goals and only surrendering six. Their WPIAL championship was their second of three straight and posted a clean sheet in there of four PIAA matchups, capturing the state title.
Ron Tyburski (Official): Tyburksi is one of the country's top NCAA basketball refs, officiating games in the ACC and Big Ten. He officiated 14 WPIAL championship games across three sports; basketball, baseball, and football. The Monessen alum also worked three PIAA championships, two basketball, and one baseball.
Ruth Ann Burke (Contributor): Burke formed the league, formerly known as the WPGAL, which gave high school girls the opportunity to compete in the 60s. She was also the first female member of the WPIAL Board of Control as well as serving on the WPIAL and PIAA steering committees for girls sports. Along with all of that, she coached and taught at Peters Township High School.
Johnny Lujack (Heritage): Lujack is the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner at age 97 when he won it in 1957 for the University of Notre Dame. The Connellsville alum won three national championships at Notre Dame. He went on to play in the NFL, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 1950 with the Chicago Bears. Lujack also served his country during World War II and is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame.
Sydney Willig (Courage): When Willig was just two weeks old, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis but has been able to return to the soccer pitch thanks to a new medication recently approved by the FDA. She is currently playing soccer at Geneva College, scoring two assists.
The annual banquet inducting the 2022 class will take place on May 27 at the DoubleTree Hotel in GreenTree.
for more features.