Gabe Dominick receives TJ’s Breisinger Award

Friday, March 15, 2019 | 7:49 PM

Gabe Dominick hopes to be a key member of the Thomas Jefferson boys volleyball team this season. A first-year defensive specialist/outside hitter, Dominick also made his mark as a starter on the Jaguars’ football team.

The TJ senior recently was presented with the Breisinger Award at the football team’s postseason banquet at Georgetown Centre in Pleasant Hills.

Dominick, a 6-foot, 170-pound tight end/defensive end who in his earlier days also played basketball and baseball, focused primarily on defense with the football team.

“While my (high school football) playing career is over, the community and tradition built around the program never leaves,” Dominick said. “It becomes more of a family than a team. You can lean on a teammate just as you can a brother. I still see them in class or around school every day, and the relationships built will last a lifetime.

“As I look back over the years (at TJ), they truly were some of the best times of my life. The practices were never a chore, and I now cherish even the most brutal of conditionings. I’m thankful for every one of the coaches who sacrificed so much of their time every day.”

The Breisinger Award was established in 1979. Named after former Pleasant Hills police officer Albert Breisinger, it is presented annually to a TJ senior football player for his hard work, community involvement and academics. Each member of the team has one vote.

It is not the team MVP. It goes to a senior athlete who best exemplifies the “character, courage, leadership and sacrifice demonstrated in the life and eternal spirit” of Breisinger, whose high school uniform number, 62, is the only one retired at Thomas Jefferson.

“I was honored to have been chosen to by my teammates,” Dominick said. “To me, this is the best award I could receive as it was more a reflection of character than talent. I wasn’t always the most talented on the field, but I made sure to put in the time and work to be the best I could be.

“To be given the award named after such a heroic human being is one of the greatest honors I can imagine.”

Dominick started one season with the football team and will earn his first varsity letter this season in volleyball.

“Gabe is an incredible young man. He is mature beyond his years,” said Bill Cherpak, TJ’s veteran football coach. “He was really an unsung hero for us last season. He started at defensive end but also played some linebacker when we needed him to. He was also on all special teams.

“He is selfless and would do anything to help the team. He is very well respected by all the players and coaches and very deserving of the award.”

Scott Breisinger, Alby’s brother, said his family was impressed by Dominick’s diligence on and off the field.

“What’s impressive to our family is that the Breisinger Award is picked by the players,” he said. “They know better than anyone who leads by example, who gives it all every play in games and practice.

“Gabe is an excellent example of that. He wasn’t the biggest, not the fastest, but he worked hard on every single play. We are proud and honored he won this year. It was so well deserved.”

Dominick has a 4.2 GPA and was one of 10 seniors on the TJ football team last season. His greatest athletic influence has been his dad, Paul, a TJ athlete from 1983-87.

“(My dad) played high school football, basketball and track,” Dominick said, “and has always pushed me to be my absolute best.”

Last year’s Breisinger Award recipient was Logan Burnsworth, the seventh TJ lineman since 2012 to land the the award. Previous award winners were Jimbo Nassida (2016), Jake Maxwell (2015), Zack Reynolds (2014), Anthony Rash (2013), Garrett Pahanish (2013) and Pat Hall (2012).

Other recent recipients include Dom Presto (2011), Dylan Breisinger (2010), Sam Johnston (2009), Evan Zampatti (2008), Orlando Torres (2007), Jonathan Licht (2006), Matt Donlin (2006), Jimmy Lowe (2005), Adam Plantz (2004), Jon Tuladzieck (2003), Anthony Cappelli (2002), Nate Starrett (2001) and Tom Jura (2000).


More Football

Belle Vernon seniors celebrate back-to-back WPIAL, PIAA football titles
Ligonier Valley, Latrobe, Jeannette coaches eager for East/West All-Star game
Leechburg coach Randy Walters selected to coaching staff for U.S. Tackle National Team
Top Western Pa. quarterbacks set to show skills at 4th Willie Thrower camp
WPIAL to hold eligibility hearing for Aliquippa football transfer Jamar Allen