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.
Laurel High team wins Envirothon
The Green Giants team from Laurel High School had the top score at this year’s Lawrence County Envirothon. The students were among six teams from Wilmington and Laurel high schools who competed in the May 7 event at Cascade Park.
Photo Gallery, Story: Laurel senior county’s new dairy princess
The two candidates cross their fingers and the crowd goes silent, awaiting the verdict. And the 2013-2014 Lawrence County Dairy Princess is — Rhonda Mitcheltree!
Rockin’ Recess: Laurel youngsters earn a morning of music, health education
Hands clapping. Arms waving. Crowd chanting. That was the scene at Laurel Elementary School yesterday morning. Laurel beat out four other school districts in the UPMC For Kids and Radio Disney-sponsored “Attendance Counts” competition.
WPIAL Baseball Playoffs: Beaver pitcher shuts down Laurel bats
Once again, Austin was awesome for the Beaver High baseball team. This time, it was Austin Logan who pitched a gem and led the Bobcats past Laurel, 6-0, in a WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal clash at historic Pullman Park.
Laurel students salute fallen officer
Nearly 700 Laurel students joined community members to line Route 108 as William McCarthy headed to his final resting place.
Laurel not anticipating tax hike
The Laurel School Board has introduced a $17.4 million budget that requires no tax increase. The $17,488,091 spending plan for the 2013-14 school year is $947,945 higher than the current year’s budget.
Laurel names principal
The Laurel School Board named Daniel Svirbly as junior/senior high school principal. His appointment begins with the 2013-14 school year. He will receive a salary of $90,000.
High School Baseball: Ritchie propels Laurel into WPIAL playoffs
Brandon Ritchie proved to be Neshannock’s worst nightmare yesterday. Whether Ritchie was coming at them from the mound or at the plate, there simply was no escaping it for the Lancers.
Children’s author tells Laurel kindergartners to ‘believe in yourself’
Students at Laurel Elementary School had been preparing for a visit from Charles R. Smith Jr. for weeks. Tuesday afternoon they watched in the school’s music room as the young author’s stories came to life.
Laurel awards window contract
The Laurel School Board awarded a contract to a Pittsburgh firm to replace windows at the junior/senior high school. Gurtner Construction submitted a bid of $439,800. The district did not receive any other bids.
- More Laurel Headlines
- Laurel High team wins Envirothon