Checking in on past winners of the Bill Fralic Memorial Award

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Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 3:31 PM


The Bill Fralic Memorial Award for the top interior lineman in the WPIAL will be presented to this year’s recipient during a pancake breakfast Saturday morning at Longue Vue Club in Verona.

The award, named after the legendary Penn Hills alum who invented the pancake block and starred at Pitt and in the NFL, is in its fifth year.

Coaches nominate players throughout the season and a committee selects six finalists, one from each classification. Players must be seniors and play on both sides of the football.

A heavy Fralic sculpture that stands 7.9 inches high — he wore No. 79 — goes to the winner.

A Fralic exhibit and a list of past winners is on display at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at Heinz History Center.

This year’s finalists are: Cameron Chmura of North Allegheny (Class 6A), Ryan Cory of Pine-Richland (5A), Courtney Dunn of McKeesport (4A), Rico Steele of West Mifflin (3A), Mike Crist of Steel Valley (2A) and Cam Branch of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (A).

Chmura will not be able to attend the ceremony because he and WPIAL champion North Allegheny play Harrisburg in a PIAA Class 6A semifinal game at 1 p.m. Saturday in Altoona.

Here is a look at past winners and where they are now. Three of the four are playing defense at the college level.

2019: Logan Danielson, Thomas Jefferson — The defensive lineman saw his first action at IUP as a redshirt sophomore. Danielson (6-1, 255) played in nine games, collecting 26 tackles, five for loss, as the Crimson Hawks went 6-5.

2020: Miguel Jackson, Pine-Richland — A junior at Charlotte, Jackson (6-2, 296) moved into the starting lineup late last season and played in eight games this year with 16 tackles and two sacks.

In three seasons, he has 58 tackles, 8 for loss, with 3.5 sacks and a blocked kick. Charlotte went 3-9 this year.

2021: Sean FitzSimmons, Central Valley — A redshirt freshman defensive lineman, FitzSimmons (6-3, 290) appeared in seven games this season for Pitt, recording two tackles. He played in two games last year, and had one sack, before redshirting.

2022: Joe Enick, Penn-Trafford — A true freshman at Central Michigan, Enick (6-2, 295) redshirted this season. Enick is listed as an offensive lineman.

Previous Fralic finalists:

2019: Zach Crutchman (Jeannette), Gerald Comedy (Washington), Elijah Mike (Aliquippa), Logan Danielson (Thomas Jefferson), Brenden Luffey (Moon), Fintan Brose (Hempfield).

2020: Dorien Ford (Baldwin), Miguel Jackson (Pine-Richland), Colin Lyons (McKeesport), Eli Podgorski (South Park), Mitch Miles (Laurel), Aaron Gunn (Union).

2021: Donovan Hinish (Central Catholic), Trent Fraley (Moon), Billy McChesney (Greensburg Salem), Sean FitzSimmons (Central Valley), Mason Manos (Neshannock), Kanye Hawkins (Clairton).

2022: Kade Capristo (Mt. Lebanon), Joe Enick (Penn-Trafford), Ty Banco (Trinity), Steve Macheska (Belle Vernon), Greg Smith (Steel Valley), Tyrese Washington-Law (Clairton).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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