YWCA Westmoreland County honors women for accomplishments
When the YWCA Westmoreland County started honoring female athletes 25 years ago, Sue Waldrop thought women’s sports had come a long way.
Waldrop, who was recognized for the third time by the YWCA on Monday, said she’s amazed how much further women have advanced.
She was one of the winners honored at the annual Sportswomen of the Year Awards Banquet at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center.
“I can’t believe how much we’ve advanced,” Waldrop said. “It’s gotten so much bigger.”
Waldrop was the 2019 winner of the Women’s Health & Fitness Award. During the past 14 years, Waldrop has coached more than 500 men and women into triathletes. She formed the Mighty Tri Girls triathlon team.
One of her pupils was Eddy Confer, the Committee’s Choice Award winner.
Confer, 68, was an avid athlete since her teenage years. She did everything except swim.
“I’d go to the beach or pool and get my feet wet. I was afraid to get my face wet,” Confer said. “But 10 years ago, Sue encouraged me to train for a triathlon. I said OK, but there was one problem, I can’t swim. Sue taught me, and now I’ve competed in 12 to 15 triathlons.
“We’d met at the YMCA, and eventually we’d go to Keystone Lake to train. I’d swim the lake. When I was getting ready to participate in a triathlon at ‘Chicagoland’ Lake Andrea, my daughter (Dr. Shelia Confer) looked at me and told me how proud she was. That was it.”
Waldrop, after receiving her award, addressed the winners and expressed how proud she was of all of them.
The other winners were: the Saint Vincent women’s golf team (Committee’s Choice Award), Mary Queen of Apostles School’s Morgan Phillips (Sports Girl of the Year, Excellence in a Team Sport), Yough’s Brooke Hildenbrand (Sports Teen with Special Needs), Hempfield’s Rebeccah Pyo (Sports Teen of the Year, Individual Excellence), Derry’s Lauren Enos (Sports Teen of the Year, Excellence in a Team Sport), Hempfield softball team (Teen Sports Team of the Year), Penn State New Kensington’s Kaylea Flick (Sportswoman of the Year, Excellence in a Team Sport), Westmoreland County Community College’s Chelsi Bartlow (Sportswomen of the Year, Individual Excellence), Seton Hill volleyball team (Women’s Sports Team of the Year) and Derry cheerleading coach Becky Blasco (Women’s Coach of the Year).
It was the fourth time and third consecutive season the Hempfield softball team was honored. Hempfield coach Bob Kalp said the fourth was the best because no expected the 2018 team to win WPIAL and PIAA titles. It was the program’s fourth straight district and third straight state title.
“They just refused to be denied,” Kalp said. “It was the most unexpected title. They were a very special group.”
The first Hempfield team honored was in 1999, the same year Kalp’s daughter Jaci was the Sportswoman of the Year when she played at Penn State.
The guest speaker of the event was Megan Bratkovich, Penn State New Kensington’s first female director of athletics. She helped the rebirth of the women’s basketball program at the school.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .