Brentwood’s Stewart honored for decorated athletic career

Monday, June 11, 2018 | 4:18 PM

Brittany Stewart displayed a quiet confidence throughout her distinguished athletic career at Brentwood.

And many, particularly her coaches and teammates, took notice.

Stewart earned 11 varsity letters in high school, including four for basketball and softball. She also was a three-year letter winner in volleyball.

Stewart was named as this year's recipient of the Booster Athlete Award, which is presented to the top senior female athlete at Brentwood.

“The Booster Award has been awarded annually since 1976, which the coaches vote on,” Stewart said. “They consider some qualities such as athletic accomplishments, leadership, sportsmanship, honestly, determination, and more. To be voted on by my coaches from these qualities feels amazing; to know they have seen all my hard work and dedication I have put in. I also made sure I put the team accomplishments before my own.

“There have been some incredible athletes that have won the Booster Award in the past, and to know that I have joined them feels unreal. All of my hard work has paid off. It honestly just feels great. It is such an honor to win this award and I couldn't be happier.”

A right-handed hurler, Stewart was in the pitcher's circle the past three years for the Spartans after manning the shortstop position as a freshman.

Brentwood's softball coach, Jen Ditoro, has watched Stewart grow as an athlete since her youth days.

“Brittany has been a solid ball player since her days in the Brentwood Athletic Association,” Ditoro said. “She has a natural athleticism about her that has allowed her to excel in all the sports she has played. It's been a pleasure to have the chance to watch her grow as a player from a young age, and especially throughout her four-year career at Brentwood.

“She is a quiet leader whose example set the tone for her teammates, especially in the last two seasons as her confidence in the leadership role has grown. While she is quiet, she is kind and considerate of her peers and teammates. Her character is top-notch, and she truly deserved to be awarded the Booster Athlete Award this year. Our team will miss her immensely; her shoes will be difficult to fill.”

Stewart and Evan Vickless, this year's Mark Reider Award recipient, were honored at the 62nd annual Brentwood High Athletic Boosters all-sports banquet held May 29 at Brentwood High School.

Other recent Booster Athlete Award winners include Molly Huffman (2017), Alecia Folino (2016), Natalie Andrews (2015), Alexis Gaughan (2014), Celeste Reed (2012), Taylor Sherry (2011) and Libby Gerstel (2010).

“I think it's a huge honor to win the award,” Stewart said. “Being recognized as the top female athlete this year gave me a memory that will last a lifetime, and will always be remembered.

“I'm very thankful to the boosters, my coaches, my teammates and, most importantly, my family, for believing in me. I'm very proud of myself for all the hard work and dedication I put in throughout all these years; it was definitely worth it. I had a great experience, and I'm gonna miss it a lot.”

Stewart was a right-side hitter/defensive specialist on the girls volleyball team, coached by Kayla Hubsch.

“Brittany is one of the hardest-working athletes I know at Brentwood,” Hubsch said. “She is a hard worker, and dedicated so much time to not just volleyball but also softball and basketball.

“I've had the pleasure of knowing Brittany since she was a seventh grader on the middle school volleyball team. She's a selfless team player who could play any position I needed her to play. She's very coachable, but also a very respectable young lady. She has such a kind heart and will do anything you ask of her. She is very well liked by all her teammates because of her selflessness and uplifting attitude. She will truly be missed next year.”

Brentwood's girls basketball team turned in a performance for the ages in 2017-18. The Spartans advanced to the WPIAL semifinals and the PIAA second round for the first time since 1993, finishing 18-8 overall.

Stewart, a 5-foot-5 guard, was one of four seniors on the squad.

“Brittany was a joy to coach,” said Rachel Thomas, Brentwood's girls basketball coach. “She was very coachable and always asking what she could do to improve herself and to help her team be successful.

“Her speed, quickness and vision of the court helped her to be a vital part of our recent success. She was very determined to help her team be successful, and was willing to do whatever it took.”

The Spartans have been playoff qualifiers in basketball for five consecutive years.

Stewart was joined in the starting lineup last season by senior forwards Morgan Dryburgh and Marie Stofesky, along with junior guards Anna Betz and Natalie Murrio.

“Being a three-sport athlete was very challenging,” Stewart said. “My high school athletic career was full of fun, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Stewart, an honor roll student with a 3.875 GPA, plans to attend Duquesne and major in business.

“My favorite athletic memories from high school were most definitely making states for basketball and getting to Round 2. Also, can't forget about the two big buses,” Stewart said. “Another favorite memory was winning the tip-off tournament all four years of my high school career, keeping the five-year streak going.”

Stewart said the six-game winning streak at the start of her team's volleyball season also was a career highlight.

“And not only did we win, we swept each one of them,” she said.

“Some of my favorite classes were probably law and economics because we learn information in those classes that we need for life, and I think it's very interesting.”

One of her biggest challenges moving forward will be the absence of daily organized athletic activities in her lifestyle.

“I think I will miss all the fun memories I made with my teammates,” Stewart said. “I will miss the bus rides home after we win.

“Most importantly, I think I'm just gonna miss playing the game(s). It's gonna be weird not being on the court or field with my teammates. I am going to miss everything.”

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.


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