Positive Athlete Awards recognize 28 Western Pennsylvania high school students
Hines Ward had his share of achievements on the field as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, retiring as the team's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown receptions and earning MVP honors at Super Bowl XL.
Tuesday night at the Sen. John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, he recognized 28 area student-athletes for their achievements, both in athletics and the classroom.
Ward hosted the high school athletes at the fifth annual C Harper Positive Athlete Awards, where $30,000 in scholarships were awarded.
More than 1,000 student-athletes were nominated by coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents from 150 Western Pennsylvania schools.
Each athlete showed characteristics that included optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time and realizing the team is more important than the individual, as well as athletic excellence.
“We hope this program focuses the spotlight on how important a positive attitude is not only in sports, but in life as well,” Ward said. “The most successful businessmen and women are positive individuals, so we're using sports to help instill those characteristics at a young age. Positivity is a life skill that will help any young person deal with relationships, obstacles and opportunities.”
This year's award winners include:
Serra Catholic's Anthony Alexander (baseball), Mt. Lebanon's Hannah Bumgarner (swimming/diving), Penn-Trafford's David Callihan (ice hockey), Westmont Hilltop's Mitchell Causer (boys soccer), Plum's Madison Clark (girls alternative, barrel racing), North Hills' Alyssa Collins (gymnastics), Neshannock's Gabriella Colucci and Riley Preston (cheerleading), Fort Cherry's Robert Cooper (boys alternative, weightlifting), Central Catholic's Jayson Dean (wrestling), Thomas Jefferson's Jacob Dobransky (volleyball).
Altoona's Sarah Donley (girls basketball), Mt. Lebanon's Claire Dougherty (girls cross country), Woodland Hills' Taylor Fullwood (boys cross country), Hampton's Billy Geis (football), Mars' Alex Gruber (tennis), Quaker Valley's Kyle Hrabovsky (swimming/diving), Knoch's Zack Inklovich (boys lacrosse), Upper St. Clair's Jack O'Leary (boys golf), Seneca Valley's Peyton Moriarity (girls golf), South Side Beaver's Zach Mueller (track and field).
Ellis School's Sophia Ogot (girls lacrosse), North Allegheny's Keegan Phillips (boys basketball), Plum's Julia Prokopik (girls soccer), Pine-Richland's Hannah Reiling (field hockey), Butler's Caroline Simms (tennis), Norwin's Raeann Sleith (softball), Baldwin's Mackenzie Voelker (volleyball) and McGuffey's Samantha Zoeller (track and field).
Fort Cherry's Ben Maxin, Trinity's Sherrie MacKinney and Imani Christian's Tru Dixon were all named Most Positive Coaches.
Seneca Valley was honored as the Most Positive High School.