North Hills honors future college athletes

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Friday, May 17, 2019 | 7:17 AM


On May 10, North Hills High School sent off 16 of its student-athletes with its third annual College-Bound Student Athlete Recognition Reception, celebrating their significant accomplishment in securing a roster spot on a collegiate athletic team.

Athletic director Amy Scheuneman implemented the burgeoning tradition at North Hills three years ago after originally orchestrating the event for more than a decade ago during her stint at Bethel Park.

“The thought behind it was that we just did so many individual signings, but it was anticlimactic for one family to come in and have the athlete sign and just be done,” Scheuneman said.

“This way, we can make it a special event and bring in board members, administrators, have the athletes invite their extended family and whoever else they want so that we can celebrate and recognize their accomplishments. It makes it a little more meaningful.”

The 16 North Hills student-athletes will be moving on to represent a diverse range of collegiate athletics. All in all, after graduating high school, they will move on to play 10 different sports at the next level. They enjoyed speeches from Scheuneman and assistant principal Patrick Weber as well as Samantha Welsh, a 2018 North Hills graduate who plays on the Edinboro women’s lacrosse team.

“I always bring back an alumni that can give a little bit of a speech on how to succeed at being a collegiate athlete. They can impart some words of wisdom from their own experience,” Scheuneman said.

“We ask them to be real. We don’t want them to sugarcoat it at all, with the tough decisions that come with being an athlete and a college student. We understand that there’s a lot of freedom that comes with the college scene, and we’re fortunate enough to have them address that.”

To make the event even more special, this will be the last one headed up by Scheuneman before she departs to fill an administrative position within the WPIAL organization.

“It’s bittersweet, but it’s just exciting to know that there are still kids out there that strive for these things,” she said.

“There are so many things that can take over kids’ lives, and everyone’s lives’, in a negative way. But this is why we do what we do. So, it’s definitely a nice ending as I’m wrapping up my time here. It’s a nice way to close things out.”

Among the athletes in attendance were football players Jeff Behr (Seton Hill), Tyler Brennan (Army), Brandon Manning (Case Western Reserve) and Lirion Murtezi (Navy); and cheerleaders Megan Reichle (Akron), Brooke Salley (Cal Pa.) and Shalyn Szymczak (Cal Pa.).

North Hills lacrosse was represented by boys team member Christian James (John Carroll) and by girls team member Julea Jamison (St. Francis).

Cross country runner Joey Buehner (Walsh) was in attendance, as was baseball player Aidan Knupsky (Marywood) and softball players Kallie Kretzler (Bethany) and Madelyn Traub (John Carroll). The boys volleyball team was represented by Byron Spear (Geneva), while girls basketball and girls swimming were represented by Sarah Taschner (Waynesburg) and Leah Trocchio (Cal Pa.), respectively.

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