Tri-athletes honored at Connellsville
There are plenty of traditions that surround high schools, particularly at the end of each school year. At Connellsville, a tradition that has developed in recent years is the annual tri-athlete plaque presentation.
On the last day of school for seniors, all of the district's tri-athletes are gathered and presented a plaque for achieving a very difficult accomplishment.
"It's becoming more and more difficult to be a tri-athlete," Connellsville athletic director Jim Lembo said.
Lembo noted that many athletes are forced to make a choice between playing several sports or specializing in one sport year-round. "It's a credit for a kid who wants to take on that challenge regardless of their role on a team."
In order to be a tri-athlete, a student must letter in three varsity sports in the same school year. While doing this, the athlete has to be able to demonstrate their academic ability by maintaining no less than a 2.0 GPA.
"Our standard is a 2.0 GPA, and most of our student-athletes are good students," Lembo said. "We let them know they have to do good in school in order to play sports, so that gives them motivation. Sports is a great motivator."
This year, there were 16 tri-athletes at Connellsville. Those lettering in three varsity sports are seniors Nicholas Zurawski and Nick Lonigro, juniors Matt Jaynes, Troy Firestone, Nathan Alberts and Michael Sheppard, sophomores Steven O'Donnell, Cole Lowman, Jenna Luczka, Mia Lonigro, Leah Panzella, Melayna Legarth, Becca Masterbray, Lacie Rosensteel and Seth Soberdash and freshman Taylor Napolillo.
"These kids are playing in demanding sports, and I think it is beneficial because they are learning commitment and discipline," Lembo said.
Time management is also a benefit that the athletes learn, especially considering that many of the athletes take part in school activities that do not involve sports.
"These kids are involved in so many things and they really learn how to juggle their time," Lembo said.
For these reasons, Lembo is happy to present the tri-athletes with a token of recognition for all they accomplish throughout the school year.
"I respect these kids, and that's why they get this award," Lembo said. "They deserve a little recognition."