NEW CASTLE —
It was every kid’s dream.
A garage full of Power Wheels, the motorized miniature cars that almost every child pleads with his parents to buy.
Joshua Altman had them all.
“When he was in diapers, I literally had all the Power Wheels you could get — every model,” his father Robert Pitzer, said.
It’s more than a decade later, but Altman hasn’t stopped riding. Although, nowadays his four-wheelers are a bit faster and more advanced than the battery-charged cars he rode around as a kid.
The 14-year-old Laurel High student is one of the top-ranked quad riders in the state, and he just started racing a little over a year ago. Altman, who uses his mother’s last name, has won nearly 30 times in the past two years and is coming off a season in the Competition Riders of America in which he finished first in the Junior Woodsman division, which consists of kids ages 15 to 17, making Altman the youngest of the group.
No problem. The young-but-talented freshman rides like veteran.
“I like tough courses,” Altman said. “It’s not just who has the fastest bike, it’s the rider with the most skill.”
Altman has plenty of it, and it’s not hard to see why. He got his first motorcycle, a 50cc Suzuki, at age 3. He rode it around the yard and, like most kids’ first experience on a bike, crashed and hit a tree or two.
“I remember that,” he said with a laugh.
He got back up and kept riding, and if you ask Pitzer, he hasn’t stopped since.
“We put him on the bike when he was so young, that it’s like an extension of his body,” he said. “It’s natural to him.”
So is winning, apparently.
Altman, who also plays football and baseball at Laurel, won 20 out of 30 races last year, by far the most in his division. He finished first in his division, beating out the second-place finisher by 251 points. Points are earned depending on a rider’s finish and how many people are in a race. First place garners the most points — as few as 10 and a maximum of 25 per race.
Altman, who was forced to move up a division after placing first last year, again was leading his classification this season — winning eight out of 15 races after moving up to the Woodsman Division because he finished first last year — before breaking the scaphoid bone in his wrist in early June. Even though he’s missed 11 races since the injury and again is the youngest of the bunch, he’s still second out of 96 people. He’s still recovering from the broken scaphoid bone but hopes to be back to defend his title at the Big Game track in Hubbard, Ohio. The race is one of the biggest on the schedule and consists of three different events: flat track, hare-scramble and motocross. Altman won all three last year and took home the grand prize — a 6-foot trophy. He’s motivated to defend that title.
“Most of the pros will be there,” said Altman when talking about the excitement of the race. “But for me, it’s the 6-foot trophy. And this race brings out your abilities with the different types of riding.”
Lucky for Altman, he’s good at all of them.
NEW CASTLE —
It was every kid’s dream.
Our Opinion: Laurel must resolve cross-country questions
We readily admit we have no firsthand insight into a dispute involving Laurel High School’s cross-country coach. But we do know these controversies have consequences, and we think Laurel officials need to take some positive steps in order to minimize them.
Laurel sets limit for tax increase
The Laurel School Board has set a limit for a property tax increase it could impose next year.
Photos, Story: Runners, community turn out to support ousted Laurel coach
Former Laurel High cross country coach Greg Schmitt has the support of his team members and their parents. The question, however, is whether the embattled coach has the support of the school district and its board of directors.
Laurel High: Cross country coach says losing his job ‘mind-boggling’
Greg Schmitt probably won’t get a chance at a three-peat. Schmitt confirmed last night that the Laurel School District has opened his position as the high school cross country coach. The job opening is posted on the district’s website.
New Castle native overcomes painful disease for swimming success
Imagine feeling excruciating pain when you wake up each morning. Same thing when you try to walk down the stairs to start your day — or even attempt a simple task such as gripping a pencil. Welcome to the world of New Castle native Kyler Rosta.
Tribute run: Laurel senior honors late grandmother with cancer benefit
A Laurel High senior paying tribute to her grandmother raised more than $1,700 to fight cancer. Kalie Trott organized the 5K Walk/Run for Cancer at Cascade Park as her senior project. However, it also honored her grandmother, former Pulaski Road resident Mary McConahy, who died of cancer in May.
Laurel approves support personnel contract
The Laurel School Board has approved a five-year contract with support personnel. All nine members voted in favor of the pact that covers approximately 35 custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers.
- Laurel board OKs hiring
Spirited effort: New anti-bullying group launches efforts with Halloween party
Halloween is a scary time of year all in the name of fun. But children shouldn’t be frightened on a regular basis. A new community-wide group — Let’s Make a Difference — has been established to address the issues of bullying.
Laurel receives clean audit
There were no findings in a performance audit of the Laurel School District conducted by the Pennsylvania auditor general’s department.
- More Laurel Headlines
- Our Opinion: Laurel must resolve cross-country questions