Candidates for Westmoreland County Scholar-Athletes awards announced

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 | 5:33 PM

It’s a rite of passage.

Once a year in May, some of the top student-athletes from Westmoreland County are honored.

The 66th annual Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete banquet will honor 36 candidates, two each from the 18 high schools in the county, on May 3 at Ferrante’s Lakeview.

Athletic directors and school officials from each high school nominate two senior students who have excelled as athletes while maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 or have a standing in the top 20% of their class.

The committee and athletic directors met Tuesday to review the candidates and vote on the 13 finalists and then the two winners (one male and one female). The winners will be announced at the banquet.

The banquet is presented by Judge John J. Driscoll, who is stepping down after the banquet and will be replaced by Judge Michael Stewart II. Other sponsors include Dr. Geof and Dr. Greg Bisignani, Excela Health, and Ferrante’s Lakeview.

The 2021 winners were Mt. Pleasant’s Haylie Brunson and Burrell’s Ian Oswalt.

“This is another outstanding group,” Driscoll said. “It’s a great mixture of great athletes and superb students. I want to thank the athletic directors who voted on the process.”

The guest speaker is Mt. Lebanon football coach Bob Palko, the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, who began his coaching career as an assistant coach under the late Joe Mucci at Jeannette. Palko led the Blue Devils to WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A titles last season.

Roy Hall will be awarded the Michael and John Ferrante Memorial Award for his contributions promoting high school athletics. Hempfield track coach Ron Colland and Kiski Area wrestling coach Chuck Tursky were the Ferrante winners in 2021 and 2020.

Here is a list of this year’s candidates:

Belle Vernon: Morgan Einodshofer (soccer) and Jack Bryer (football and wrestling)

Burrell: Brandon Coury (basketball) and Nyjae Floyd (basketball)

Derry: Makenzie Eades (swimming and volleyball) and Tiana Moracco (basketball and volleyball)

Franklin Regional: Anthony DiFalco (soccer) and Sydney Lindeman (soccer and basketball)

Greensburg Central Catholic: Ryan Appleby (soccer, basketball and baseball) and Corinn Brewer (cross country, gymnastics and track)

Greensburg Salem: Abigail Mankins (basketball and volleyball) and Billy McChesney (football, wrestling and track)

Hempfield: Katelyn Ross (track) and Daniel Sierk (football, basketball and track)

Jeannette: Christopher Heminger (football) and Sophia Marcelli (tennis)

Kiski Area: Faith Andree (soccer) and Cody Dykes (football and track)

Latrobe: Tyler Lynch (football, wrestling and track) and Jenna Bell (tennis and swimming)

Ligonier Valley: Madison Griffin (softball and basketball) and George Golden (soccer, football and baseball)

Monessen: Loni Scott (cheerleader, basketball and softball) and Jack Sacco (soccer, basketball and baseball)

Mt. Pleasant: Dayton Pitzer (wrestling) and Kathryn Hutter (softball and tennis)

Norwin: Paloma Swankler (soccer and unified bocce) and Michael D. Fleming (volleyball and basketball)

Penn-Trafford: Gwendolyn Hershberger (field hockey and lacrosse) and Cade Yacamelli (football)

Southmoreland: Kory Ansell (football, baseball and track) and Gracie Spadaro (volleyball, basketball and track)

Valley: Rachel Schrock (tennis) and Benjamin Aftanas (baseball, basketball and golf)

Yough: Kayla Gerdich (basketball) and Tristan Waldier (football, basketball and baseball)

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at

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