Banquet to honor Westmoreland County student-athletes
As the Westmoreland County athletic directors announced the names and accomplishments of the 2016 classes, Judge John J. Driscoll reminded them of the difficult task they faced to determine the winners.
Some of the top student-athletes in the county will be honored at the 60th annual awards banquet sponsored by Driscoll on April 26 at Ferrante's Lakeview in Hempfield.
The 18 athletic directors or school representatives selected 12 finalists through a secret vote, then picked a male and female winner. The finalists and winners will be announced during the banquet.
“The accomplishments of these students are amazing,” Driscoll said. “They all come from different backgrounds. How these students find time to mix both academics and athletics is something unique.”
Many of the student-athletes participate in multiple sports, and some are at the top of their class.
Each school chose two students to represent their district. They had to meet certain academic standards to be nominated.
The candidates include three-time PIAA wrestling champion Micky Phillippi of Derry, PIAA place-winners in track, wrestling and swimming, and others who have earned NCAA Division I scholarships.
“It seems that these kids make it tougher and tougher to pick winners,” Driscoll said. “I worry that we'll make a mistake, but the group has been good at getting it right. All these kids are worthy of the honor.”
Tribune-Review sports writer Paul Schofield will receive the John and Michael Ferrante Memorial Award, given to an individual contributions to high school athletics. Schofield has covered high school athletics for 40 years, the past 21 years at the Tribune-Review.
IUP women's basketball coach Tom McConnell will be guest speaker.
This year's nominees are:
• Belle Vernon: Sarah Sepesky (soccer and track) and Joseph Gruber (football, basketball and track).
•Burrell: Brendan Lettrich (basketball) and Mackenzie Bindas (swimming).
• Derry: Morgan Elrick (diving) and Micky Phillippi (cross country and wrestling).
•Franklin Regional: Kathleen Kimmich (soccer and track) and Charlie Mazon (football and wrestling).
• Latrobe: Hannah Mears (soccer, basketball and track) and Sean Graytok (basketball).
•Greensburg Central Catholic: Michelle Karabin (track) and Tommy Pellis (football and baseball).
• Greensburg Salem: Julia Howard (volleyball and track) and Derek Berberick (football and wrestling).
•Hempfield: Molly Sternick (swimming and track) and Dominic Marshall (track).
•Jeannette: Maggie Manolis (swimming) and Jefferson Jones (football).
• Kiski Area: Letizia Collini (swimming) and Megan Aller (cross country, swimming and track).
• Ligonier Valley: Hannah Patrick (track) and Philip Cornell (swimming).
• Monessen: Shelby Minnardi (soccer and softball) and Zachary Baker (football and baseball).
• Mt. Pleasant: Christine Kiral (soccer) and Joe Loughner (football and baseball).
• Norwin: Alayna Gribble (basketball) and Drew Phipps (football and wrestling).
• Penn-Trafford: Rachel Rizzardi (volleyball and track) and Brett Laffoon (football).
• Southmoreland: Briana Bunner (volleyball, basketball and softball) and Ben Bickerton (cross country and track).
•Valley: Janet Canady (soccer) and Ryan Pallone (baseball).
•Yough: Macy Mularski (softball) and Jessica Moore (soccer).