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The Rambler

Awards & Recognition

Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: First Place (Daniel Anthony, Opinion Category); Fifth Place (Brendan Jubulis, Sports)

Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)
Student Keystone Press Awards Honorable Mention (Website)

Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)

Alumni Profile: Ryan Nietupski (’98)


Ryan Nietupski is a former Cathedral Prep Rambler from the class of 1998. Nietupski previously played basketball for two years while also playing football and baseball all four years at Prep. Ryan went to Prep because he believed it “had the best chance for me to grow academically, spiritually, and athletically.”

Nietupski claimed his favorite part of Prep was the feeling of brotherhood throughout the school.

“Honestly, it was probably the whole experience that I loved [the most],” he said. “The camaraderie, being with all guys, and focusing on your academics and not the distractions of having girls in your classroom. I would just say [I loved] the time I spent with my fellow classmates and being around the guys I played sports with, day in and day out.”

Nietupski says that quitting basketball after his sophomore year helped him to get stronger and become an overall better athlete.

“I started my first two years, as a freshman and sophomore; I played football, basketball, and baseball,” he said, “In my junior and senior year, I went into the weight room, quit basketball, and only played football and baseball. And I think that was the difference to make me more excelling in two sports, was getting into the weight room.”

While playing football at Cathedral Prep, Nietupski broke the record for most catches in a season with 42. He still looks back on that season in high regards, even though multiple Ramblers have since broken that record.

But arguably his greatest memory from playing sports is regarded as one of the most famous plays in Prep baseball history: “The Shot Heard Round the District.”

However, his junior season came to an end abruptly and it fueled him for a moment like this.

“We lost in the District 10 semifinals my junior year. I struck out to end the game,” he said, “So that fueled the fire for me throughout the offseason, training, everything like that up until my senior year. I took that loss hard personally, and I put it on my shoulders. Going into my senior year I had the mindset of, ‘You know what, I’m not gonna strikeout. I’m gonna be the hardest out I can [be].’ So going through the regular season, I didn’t strike out one time. Not once.”

And then the stage was set for Ryan: Prep vs. McDowell, a classic rivalry matchup for all the marbles in the District 10 Championship.

“We get to the District 10 Championship. We beat McDowell twice [before],” he recalls, “and they’re close and on our heels. We find ourselves down in the bottom of the seventh [inning], 3 to 1. Somehow we muster up first and third with two outs. I’m in the on deck circle, and I’m up [to bat]. In my mind, I’m looking to drive one to the gap and get both runners in and tie the game. I’m so laser focused, I get in there, [and the] first pitch is a ball. Second pitch is a called strike, and I was shaking my head, I was like, ‘Ok, I know. I see what you got.’ Next pitch I fouled off. So now it’s one and two in the count with two outs still.”

What came next neither he nor anybody else in the stadium could have ever imagined. Except for his father, Ron; he knew his son had the capability of doing something special.

“In my mind, I haven’t struck out all year, but that didn’t even come into my mind; I was so focused. My mom said to my dad, ‘What’s gonna happen?’ and he said ‘He’s either gonna strike out or hit a home run.’ The next pitch was high and tight, I turned on it, hit it off the Civic Center, we won 4-3 and became District 10 Champs. Greatest moment, greatest week of my life; I was doing interviews, talking about that, being able to come through for my team and win a district championship was awesome to cap off my senior year.”

He had many lessons along the way, but the one piece of advice he remembers the most is what former Prep teacher and wrestling coach Ed Onorato taught him about discipline.

“Pretty much what he taught me was discipline and different things, such as that you’re going to go through ups and downs all the time in sports and in life,” he said, “That helped on both in the classroom and the diamond and/or football field and it gave me the confidence to be successful. I really thought he did a great job of instilling confidence in me so I was able to succeed.”

What Nietupski loves most about Prep is the connections it builds among all of its students, just like his current occupation.

“I just think Prep does so much for its students and alumni that you carry that on to where you go,” he said, “So there’s so many successful people all over the world that went to Prep, and everyone is proud that they went there and everyone stays in touch. I have friends that I still talk to … They live in Texas, Maryland, some in Erie, but we all stay in touch, and it’s that bond that we had at Prep that creates that. It’s so special that people that don’t go to Prep don’t know; they don’t have that pride embedded in them, and I think a lot of times that’s where the jealousy comes [from].”

After graduating from Prep, Nietupski attended Mercyhurst where he majored in business and also continued to play baseball. He believes that Prep made the transition to college very easy.

“It made the college transition very easy,” he said, “I felt like I was ahead of the game and was able to not only keep my grades up but also play baseball for four years and staying with a 3.0 GPA. It really made the transition easier.”

Ryan ended up majoring in business, which led him to Cintas discovering him while studying on campus.

“To be honest, my senior year one of our assignments was to go to a job fair on campus, and I got interviewed for Cintas pretty much that day,” he said, “I hit it off with one of their recruiters. He was like, ‘Hey, after this you got to come so we can interview you, and going through the process once I graduated, I had a job with Cintas in June and I’ve been with them almost 19 years this coming June.”

Currently, Nietupski works as a sales representative at Cintas Corp., which helps with businesses getting necessary materials. He enjoys being able to work there because of the connections it provides across other businesses.

“I like to meet new people, and that was something that in sales that you do day in and day out,” he said, “I became pretty good at it, building those relationships and selling the product that Cintas has and then going into coaching, I think that, as a sales manager, is what you do. I push up the new reps on how to be successful and how to sell. It was just an easy transition of everything that I’ve done my whole life in high school, college, and now professionally at Cintas.”

Nietupski has also coached little league baseball teams and for the Blessed Sacrament Bulldogs football team before the diocesan middle schools combined. He has many fond memories of helping coach up younger players, even giving me high praise for my athletic development from sixth grade to senior year.

“Just giving back to the community and watching an athlete start from beginning to end [is what’s most enjoyable],” he said, “You’re probably one of the greatest example feel-good stories of them all. I remember when you first started, very raw in talent and not really knowing what you’re doing. And to see you start in a playoff game at Prep, at the highest level, is outstanding.”

Nietupski added, “That’s just seeing the process, seeing athletes train to get better, and the knowledge that you gain within the first year I was amazed. You did your homework, you studied. You knew a lot of our playbook in and out and you were teaching other people how to play the defense, then you transferred [that] into offense. That’s what coaching is, seeing the success of ‘Hey, this kid got it. This guy figured it out,’ and it was awesome to know I was a small piece of that.”

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