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Driscoll award nominees again a special group

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

There is something special about the student-athletes who annually receive the Excellence Award at the Judge John J. Driscoll banquet.

Driscoll and his committee met Tuesday to decide 12 finalists and two winners from the 18 high schools in Westmoreland County. The banquet will be held April 30 at Ferrante's Lakeview Lounge. The finalists and winners will be announced at the banquet.

“The students are gifted on and off the playing field,” Driscoll said. “Again, we had outstanding young men and women to pick from. These kids play two or three sports. This was a very strong group.”

Ferrante's, Excela Health and Drs. Greg and Geoffrey Bisignani are sponsors of the event, hosted by the Westmoreland County Family Court Judge.

Former NFL referee Dale Hamer will be the guest speaker, and former Jeannette football coach and athletic director Robert Murphy will be honored as the John and Michael Ferrante Award winner. Also honored will be the county's six state champs from the past year: Hempfield pole vaulter Larisa Debich and five wrestlers — Latrobe's Luke Pletcher, Derry's George Phillippi, Hempfield's Sam Krivus, Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith and Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers.

The candidates are Belle Vernon's Natalie Bashada (softball) and Geno Leone (soccer); Burrell's Claire Fisher (softball) and Cole Bush (football); Derry's Felicia Pawlik (tennis) and Tyler Matusak (football); Franklin Regional's Kaitlyn Ruffing (track) and Dane Brown (football); Greensburg Central Catholic's Shannon Hurley (volleyball) and Zach Guiser (football); Greensburg Salem's Jayne Oberdorf (softball) and Tanner Hahn (wrestling); Hempfield's Janista Frank (golf) and Chandler Crusan (track and field); Jeannette's Delaney Cortazzo (softball) and Garret Elliott (baseball); Kiski Area's Rachel Weyant (golf) and Matt McCutcheon (wrestling); Latrobe's Hanna Green (track and field) and Benjamin Havrilla (golf); Ligonier Valley's Madysen Grimm (softball) and Joshua Patrick (wrestling); Monessen's Alexis Malarbi (softball) and Zachary Abrahamsen (soccer); Mt. Pleasant's Brittany Ruggeri (gymnastics) and Seth Wright (football); Norwin's Rachel Keto (basketball) and Matt Stewart (basketball); Penn-Trafford's Chelsia Poole (track and field) and Zach Diable (football); Southmoreland's Rikki Brown (softball) and Joshua Dei (cross country); Valley's Melissa Anderson (swimming) and Billy Clark (basketball); and Yough's Kelsie Marconi (softball) and Corey Cook (golf).

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