Positive attitude nets honor for Seneca Valley's Demchuck
When an award is won, the moment the honoree gets recognized is the culmination of a long road in which the defining moment may have come at the beginning of the journey.
Seneca Valley's Misha Demchuck earned the Pittsburgh Positive Athlete of Western Pennsylvania award for her positive attitude and work ethic in lacrosse, but it was a moment in soccer as a freshman when she learned what it takes to be a leader.
“It was the WPIAL semifinals against Canon-McMillan, and we were in double overtime,” Demchuck said. “I was a freshman, and I was not in a place to say anything, so I went out and scored (the game-winning) goal.”
From that point, Demchuck took a lead-by-example approach. She was a team captain for the girls soccer team and the girls lacrosse team this year.
Demchuck's lacrosse coach, Katie Smolter, nominated her for the award.
“Misha is a senior and a standout all-around player and person,” Smolter said. “She is a positive person that goes well beyond the field. She is a captain, a role model and the ideal teammate.”
The award, given each of the past two years by former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, is a movement to recognize high-character athletes in Western Pennsylvania and promote positive attitude in young athletes.
Demchuck said she felt honored to be recognized, but noted that her parents deserve a lot of the credit for the honor.
“It is a long voting process, and you are judged on seven different aspects,” Demchuck said. “It's how my parents raised me. … It's a testament to character. This is a great compliment. God blessed me with talent. I am thankful, and I hope people learn to be positive, well-rounded people in life.”
The senior captain takes things seriously, but believes it's not about yelling and screaming to get people focused.
“At practice, it's after school and people can get off track,” she said. “I gather them and remind them that it's lacrosse practice, not social hour.”
The awards ceremony was held Saturday night, and Demchuck and the other honorees had the chance to meet Ward, the former Steelers wide receiver.
“I am really glad my parents get to go,” Demchuck said. “It's not often you get to take your parents to something like this.”
Smolter is proud of Demchuck, and could not say enough about her as a person.
“She is an amazing young woman and will be very successful in whatever she does,” Smolter said.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.