Former SMAC wrestling champ manages chimney company
By AJ MASON
Mr. Olympia is often the title awarded to the winner of the professional men’s bodybuilding contest.
Just like when he won the SMAC championship on the wrestling mat as a senior, Steven Penatzer continues to have the heart of a champion today.
Penatzer, a 1989 McDonough High School graduate who grew up in Pomfret, is currently the operations manager at Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. where he’s been working for the company for five years now.
Penatzer mentioned that Olympia creates manufactured items for chimneys, components, caps and other products that are made out of stainless steel.
“I oversee the engineering side, the staff, maintenance and production of the company,” said Penatzer, who resides in Avoca, Pa. “I do a little bit of everything. It’s all about repetition. I enjoy working in this field; I’ve been doing it for a while now.”
Penatzer spends a lot of his time away from work with his 10-year-old daughter, Angelina, son Steven, 5, and wife, Dianne, who he’s been happily married to for 11 years now.
“My life revolves around the kids and my wife,” said Penatzer, who turned 41 a day after Thanksgiving. “I married a wonderful woman and she really motivated me in my career. She’s the reason that I was promoted to the top of the company, my wife is my best friend.”
After high school, Penatzer attended West Virginia Institute of Technology at the age of 17. However, after his freshman year, Penatzer came back to Southern Maryland where he worked in the construction field for several years.
In 1995, Penatzer went back to West Virginia Tech and later received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology in 1998 and finished with a 3.4 GPA. That same year is where he met his wife and moved to Pennsylvania, where he’s been ever since.
“The town I live in is very small and friendly,” Penatzer said. “I’m not the city kind of guy, there is no traffic here. In Southern Maryland, there are wall to wall landmarks and constant traffic.”
Tanya Becraft, Penatzer’s older sister, lives in Owings in Calvert County, while his aunt lives in St. Mary’s County. Penatzer said that he visits his family in Southern Maryland at least once a year.
Penatzer has two nephews, Andrew, currently a Northern senior on the wrestling team and Nick Pasqualle, a 2012 Northern graduate who also was a standout wrestler.
As a senior at McDonough under former head wrestling coach Dominic Zaccarelli, now Westlake’s athletic director, Penatzer not only won the SMAC individual title at the 145-pound weight class, but helped lead the Rams to a third-place finish.
“Winning the SMAC title was great, I had to redeem myself. It was a relief because I didn’t win it the year before,” Penatzer said. “High school was a learning experience, it was fun. I definitely loved the athletic side.”
From there, Penatzer finished runner-up in the Class 4A-3A South Region tournament final and the 4A-3A state championship, falling in both of those matches, 12-4 and 3-2, respectively, to nemesis Brian Lynch of Annapolis.
He also fell to Lynch in the Arundel tournament during the regular season that year.
“Lynch was a very tough wrestler, he had my number,” said Penatzer, whose only three losses came at the hands of Lynch that year.
Penatzer finished with a 3.5 GPA or higher in high school.
“The biggest thing about Steven was that he had character,” Zaccarelli said. “He was a leader and he worked very hard in the wrestling room. We had three seniors on that team that season, and Steven helped lead us to a successful season.”
Penatzer mentioned that his parents, Mary Ann and Thomas, have been very inspirational in his life.
“My parents have been very supportive they kept me on the right track,” Penatzer said of his parents, who live in southwestern Pennsylvania. “My dad always came to my wrestling matches even if he had to take off work.”
Penatzer loves to go fishing, hiking and enjoys other outdoor activities with the family.
“I like doing these hobbies to keep the kids active and away from the television,” Penatzer said.