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Former Steelers wide receiver Ward honors local high school athletes

Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Former Steeler Hines Ward addresses the audience at the second annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Awards at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum on Saturday.

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Sport-by-sport honorees

Baseball: Matthew Clark, Pine-Richland

Basketball (Boys): Maceo Connor, Freedom

Basketball (Girls): Sara Pilarski, Hampton

Cheerleading: Stephanie Bono, Plum

Cross Country (Boys): George Kelly, Baldwin

Cross Country (Girls): Laura Kenderes, South Side Beaver

Field Hockey: Amanda Steffey, Penn-Trafford

Football: Jordan Maben, Brashear

Golf (Boys): Corey Wilding, Upper St. Clair

Golf (Girls): Audrey Clawson, Freeport

Gymn astics : Carrie Leibensperger, Pine-Richland

Ice Hockey: Alfred Cornelius, Beaver Falls

Lacrosse (Boys): Michael Dowling, Greensburg Central Catholic

Lacrosse (Girls): Misha Demchuk, Seneca Valley

Martial Arts (Boys): Connor Burns, Trinity Christian

Martial Arts (Girls): Liz Leaseburg, Laurel Highlands

Soccer (Boys): Grant Goldberg, Pine-Richland

Soccer (Girls): Hannah Smith, Franklin Regional

Swimming (Boys): Seth Wright, Mt. Pleasant

Swimming (Girls): Elizabeth Dever, Franklin Regional

Softball: Baylee McFadden, New Brighton

Tennis (Boys): Jordan Bechek, Vincentian

Tennis (Girls): Kelly Capone, Fox Chapel

Track & Field (Boys): Cory Adams, California

Track & Field (Girls): Amy Coombs, Keystone Oaks

Volleyball (Boys): Matt Shepherd, Plum

Volleyball (Girls): Alex Lieb, Bishop Carroll

Wrestling: Mike Fetchet, South Fayette

Top high school sports
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Twenty-eight high school athletes were honored at the second annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Awards on Saturday at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

The Positive Athlete Pittsburgh initiative, led by former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, was formed to promote the benefits of positivity to young athletes.

Ward addressed the room at the beginning of the event and talked about the benefits of finding the positive no matter how bad things get and maintaining an attitude that anything's possible. It's something too often missing, nowadays, said Ward, who mentioned the fate of his former team this year, saying the Steelers “didn't have enough guys in that locker room who were positive athletes.”

Ward also told the students that he wasn't always the best athlete, but teams need kids who can remain optimistic and humble, lead by example, put the team first and encourage others.

“We need more of you in our society today,” he said.

Ward, who is training for an Ironman triathlon, asked girls cross country winner Laura Kenderes, of South Side Beaver, for some running advice.

“One mile at a time,” was her reply.

Injured Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens joined Ward on stage and posed for photographs with all the winners before presenting an award himself. He was also part of the event last year.

“It's kind of (an) award just to be asked to be part of it,” Karstens said. “I'm definitely honored.”

The committee received more than 500 nominations for students from 110 Western Pennsylvania high schools. Nominations came from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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