Clarion University mourns student killed in car crash

Clarion, Pa.- Second semester freshman, Nick Gavazzi of Charleroi, was killed in a car crash involving a coal truck in Armstrong County  Feb. 23, traveling on Route 28/66.

Armstrong police said that Gavazzi was traveling north when his vehicle crossed in front of an oncoming coal truck, causing the driver to lose control. The Burns Trucking coal truck, driven by William Gathers, overturned on top of Gavazzi’s car, causing head, chest and abdomen injuries.

Gavazzi was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

A biochemistry major and nanotechnology minor, Gavazzi was both a high-achieving student and a Clarion athlete.

Gavazzi was a Clarion University wrestler weighing in at 149 pounds. Throughout his wrestling career, he had placed fifth at the PIAA’s 2013 competition, 38-4, and was the 2012 WPIAC champion posting a final score of 36-5.

Clarion wrestling head coach, Keith Ferraro, knew Gavazzi as he grew up wrestling, but didn’t have the chance to fully get to know him until he attended Clarion.

“He was a leader.  He set an example at every workout.  He was a really strong student with huge academic goals.  He really was the guy on the team that everybody liked and appreciated.”

He added, “This is hard for me.  Nick was the guy I want my sons to become.  The world lost a great person.  He was only 18; I’m having a really tough time with that.”

According to Ferraro, Gavazzi had spent the past two seasons rehabbing two shoulder surgeries, “He got cleared to wrestle live, literally, last week.  He was so excited.”

Teammates remember him as being intensely driven, meaning a lot to the group of athletes on and off the mat. Ferraro said the team is spending great amount of time together right now, “They’re remembering a lot of great experiences with Nick and thinking of ways that they can honor him for the years to come.”

The wrestling team will be approaching a conference tournament on March 7. “Our team will continue to stay focused, as Nick would have.  This loss will undoubtedly be a tough thing to balance with our preparation for the Eastern Wrestling League tournament,” added Farraro.

“He was brilliant, always positive, always hard-working, and incredibly reliable.  He was destined for great things in wrestling, but his future was bright in so many ways,” concluded Farraro.

Counseling Services, located in 148 Egbert Hall, are offering grief or other support services to students in need. There will also be community-based workshops, meeting every Wed. beginning on March 4, beginning at 5 p.m. The group will meet for four weeks and will end on March 25. For more information about the grief workshops call 814-297-8360, and for more information regarding grief counseling services call 814-393-2255.

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