UPJ wrestler Nick Roberts remembered during memorial service
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP -- The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is in mourning over the loss of one of its students over the weekend.
Nick Roberts was a well-known, accomplished wrestler and a Somerset County native.
Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees said Roberts was found dead inside his dorm room Saturday night.
Foul play is not suspected, but toxicology tests could take six to eight weeks to come back.
In the meantime, Roberts’ friends, family and peers are remembering him.
It was a somber day on the UPJ campus Monday.
"We lost a student, a friend, a teammate, a brother and for the family, a son," UPJ President Jem Spectar said.
More than 100 people packed the Whalley Chapel to remember Roberts, who was 23.
"He accomplished more in 23 years than most of us will accomplish in a lifetime," Spectar said.
The champion wrestler from North Star High School was set to graduate this year with a degree in criminology.
"He always made classroom discussion very lively, and helped students build connections between what was going on in class and outside in the world," Spectar said.
A former professor said Roberts was proud to be a part of the UPJ community.
"He said he never felt so strong, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally, academically," she said.
As friends and classmates look on, they remember what a strong person Roberts was.
"He was free, but he was focused. He was disciplined but caring. He was popular, but he was vulnerable," the professor said.
And some say he never felt so strong until his wrestling family took him in.
"Our motto and theme has always been brothers for life," UPJ wrestling coach Pat Pecora said.
"He's just like my brother. I wouldn't even be able to describe him as a friend; you know?" teammate Damon "DJ" Sims Jr. said
Sims said Roberts taught him to believe in himself.
"He taught me a lot of wrestling moves; some things other coaches couldn't break down to me,” Sims said. “He would come over and say like, 'this is what you need to do. Use this. Use that.’"
There were happy moments Monday, and signs of grief, but everyone remembered Roberts for his heart.
"He was a very loyal friend, and if he loved you, he'd do anything for you, even if you never met, if he never knew you, he would do anything for you," Sims said.