Pitt-Johnstown Community Mourns Passing of Nicholas S. Roberts


posted February 28, 2017

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown community is mourning the loss of student-athlete Nicholas S. Roberts, who passed away Saturday, February 25, 2017.

FCA service

Pitt-Johnstown  students and athletes grieve during Sunday's Fellowship of Christian Athletes memorial service for Nicholas S. Roberts.

Photo by Todd Berkey/Tribune-Democrat

"It's not the number of years you live that matter, it is the life in your years," said Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar at Monday's remembrance service at Whalley Chapel.

"We lost a student, a friend, a teammate, a brother and for the family, a son," Spectar said.

Roberts, 23, was an NCAA Division II national champion for the Mountain Cats in 2016.

He was regarded as one of the most successful high school wrestlers in the Johnstown area, earned a scholarship to Ohio State, and later transferred to Pitt-Johnstown.

Roberts would have likely been favored to repeat in 2017, but a knee injury related to osteochondritis dissecans, a chronic condition that he dealt with since he was 12 years old, ended his season and his career.

The University issued this statement from President Spectar on Saturday night:

It is with great sadness that I share with you the loss of one of our university family, Nicholas S. Roberts. The death occurred earlier Saturday evening in his room. The cause of death is not known at this time, but foul play is not suspected.

Nick was a senior in the class of 2017. We also know Nick as a standout member of our Mountain Cat wrestling team.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, family, friends and loved ones.

On Sunday, the University’s campus ministries and Fellowship of Christian Athletes held memorial services.

Wrestling coach Pat Pecora, in an interview with The Tribune-Democrat, said he remembered how his own son, Nico, who is currently on the wrestling team, would bring Roberts home to family dinners – and he wasn’t alone in doing so.

“Nick was one of those guys you took home,” Pecora said. “(Mountain Cats heavyweight) D.J. Sims took him to Aliquippa. Everyone wanted to take Nick home with them.”

Upon learning the news, Pecora said he gathered his wrestlers for a meeting that involved “a lot of hugging, a lot of crying, a lot of banging the walls.

“It’s tough for these young people, to be confronted with death at such a young age,” he said.

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