Hometowns: Christa Harmotto

When we see profiles of college athletes, we often wonder what the hometown is like. With this new series — Hometowns — DigNittanyVolleyball will try to answer that question for current (and past) members of the Penn State Women’s volleyball team. The first in our series is Aliquippa, PA, the hometown of former Penn State All American Christa Harmotto.

Aliquippa is a small city (population 11,734 according to the 2000 census) in Beaver County, PA. As reports on Aliquippa began flooding in from our crack team of researchers and statisticians, we realized that Christa Harmotto is only the latest in an exceptionally long and distinquished line of famous Aliquippans. According to Wikipedia, famous Aliquippan sports figures include (in addition to Christa Harmotto) National Football League Hall-of-Fame players Tony Dorsett and Mike Ditka; NFL players Ty Law, Danny Rains, Sean Gilbert, Phillip Holmes, Paul Posluszny and Darrelle Revis, basketball coach Press Maravich, National Basketball League Hall-of-Famer Pete Maravich, and Major League Baseball players George “Doc” Medich, Pete Suder, and Ivor Parry Evans.

But it’s not only sports. Henry Mancini (the composer of “The Pink Panther Theme,” “Moon River,” and “The Days of Wine and Roses,” among other songs), also was an Aliquippan. Mancini was nominated for 72 Grammys, winning 20, and for 18 Academy Awards, winning four. Mancini also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmys. Each year, Geneva College in Beaver County hosts the Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards (the “Henrys”), to honor outstanding musical performances in schools in Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence counties. Here’s a news report on a recent Henrys Award show:

What is now known as Aliquippa was created by the merger of three towns: Aliquippa (now called West Aliquippa), Woodlawn, and New Sheffield. It was a borough until 1987, when it was formally named a city by the Aliquippa Council. From 1905 until the 1980s, Aliquippa was home to a Jones and Laughlin Steel mill (Source: Wikipedia)

The sense of community in Aliquippa is strong. Each year since 1925, Aliquippa has been the site of the San Rocco Festival, a multi-day celebration with parades, music, food, games, and more.

It’s also home to Our Lady Of Fatima School, with its annual 1st Grade School Play. Is it a coincidence that Penn State recently secured the commitment of Junior College All American MB Fatima Balza? DigNittanyVolleyball thinks not!

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The takeaway from Aliquippa is that people peregrine falcons are flocking to live there. Need proof? Watch this video:

Not a bad endorsement.