Canon-McMillan’s Samosky, South Allegheny’s Pikula named Trib HSSN scholar-athletes of the month

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Monday, November 4, 2019 | 9:21 PM


The TribLive High School Sports Network is recognizing some of the best and brightest student-athletes in Western Pennsylvania.

School administrators, athletic directors, coaches and teachers have the opportunity to nominate one female and one male scholar athlete to receive the TribLIVE High School Sports Network Scholar-Athlete of the Month Award.

Nominees must be in good standing at a school that HSSN covers to qualify. They must have a 3.25 GPA or higher and must be actively contributing to a school-sanctioned athletics team in a positive way.

Nominations will be accepted from the first through the 14th of each month. Trib readers and fans then vote on their favorites from the 15th to the 25th. New nominations will be accepted, and voting will take place each month from October 2019 through May 2020.

Winners for each month will receive a plaque, recognition in the Tribune-Review and on TribLIVE High School Sports Network and their school will receive a $200 donation toward their STEM program.

To nominate or vote, visit TribHSSN.TribLIVE.com and click on the Scholar Athlete of the Month banner.

Here’s a closer look at October’s Trib HSSN scholar-athletes of the month:

Kennedy Pikula

School: South Allegheny

Class: Senior

Sport: Volleyball

Claim to fame: A team captain for the past two years, Pikula helped South Allegheny finish 5-7 in Section 4-2A this season, earning a trip to the WPIAL playoffs. The Gladiators lost to Deer Lakes, 3-1, in the preliminary round Oct. 22.

In addition to volleyball, Pikula carries a 4.2 GPA and is involved in student council, National Honors Society, gifted education, peer mentors and softball. She plans to study biomedical engineering at IUP.

What will you remember most about playing volleyball at South Allegheny?

This year, I’ll remember the most. I started my sophomore year and we were 0-75 at that time. Coming from that to making the playoffs in the three-year span was a big accomplishment.

How do you think the season went?

I thought it was a really good season, especially playing with my sister (Madison, a sophomore outside hitter). I loved doing that and being next to her. I think we could have won our first round of playoffs. That would have made it even better.

How did you get involved with playing volleyball?

I was dragged to open gyms my sophomore year. I had no intention of playing. My coach, Jenna Whitney, who was also one of my softball coaches, saw me in the hallway and told me I was tall and should be playing volleyball. I’m so glad she did.

What drew you to the biomedical engineering field?

I wanted to go to UPJ to do chemical engineering. I took a Chem 2 class this year. I don’t like it as much. I chose biology which I fell in love with.

Why did you choose IUP?

I want to stay local. Plus, my mom went to IUP. I can still come home.

What will you miss most about high school?

The sports, probably softball the most. I just love the wins and what comes with the game, everything about it, playing with my teammates. Last year we won the section so that was a big accomplishment.

Did you dress up for Halloween?

Yeah, I was Post Malone.

Thomas Samosky

School: Canon-McMillan

Class: Senior

Sport: Soccer

Claim to fame: A member of the Canon-McMillan boys soccer team for four years, Samosky has received numerous awards over the years. The third-year co-captain has been named most improved player, best defensive player and most valuable player for the Big Macs. He also has earned all-section honors twice.

On Thursday, though, he won an award that trumps all the individual honors — a WPIAL Class 4A title. The Big Macs defeated North Allegheny, 3-2, in overtime at Highmark Stadium. Samosky scored on his own rebound on a play set up by a free kick from midfield in the 15th minute to give Canon-McMillan a 1-0 lead.

In addition to soccer, Samosky is a member of the Canon-McMillan boys basketball team and is a CM mentor, a member of National Honors Society, Latin club, history club, athletic council and student council. He also is a US Soccer referee in the CM Youth Soccer Association and volunteers at the Bridges Kids’ Club and Urban University.

He plans to attend college, where he will continue in athletics and major in education.

How did it feel to hoist the WPIAL trophy on Thursday?

That was the best feeling of my life. Through four years, that was one of the only things I wanted, and I got it.

What did you see on the goal you scored in the first half?

Owen (Maher) won the first ball in the air, and thankfully I got the second chance (to score).

What was it like on the bus ride back home?

We were crazy the whole bus ride home. We’re a big family and everyone was so happy.

What are your goals for the PIAA tournament?

Hopefully, the same as this one. We want to go all the way, one game at a time.

What are you plans for next year?

I’m not sure. I’m looking at Seton Hill and Geneva.

What will you remember most about your time at Canon-McMillan?

All my friends and the family and togetherness of my sports teams. It’s special.

How did you get involved with soccer?

I’ve been playing forever. My grandfather was a big soccer guy and he got us into it. It went from there.

Even though you were playing soccer on Halloween, did you dress up in a costume at some point Thursday?

I wasn’t able to. I’ve had sports every year on Halloween. I probably haven’t dressed up since eighth grade.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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