Positive Athlete Pittsburgh presents annual awards, scholarships
By: Likitha Janga
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 | 5:33 PM
The Sen. John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum provided the setting Tuesday evening for the seventh annual Positive High School Athlete awards.
Student-athletes representing 30 different boys and girls high school sports, along with two coaches and Seneca Valley High School were honored by former Steelers player Hines Ward.
The winners will take home a combined $30,000.
More than 1,000 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents were submitted from 150 Western Pennsylvania schools.
In addition to accomplishments on the field, each of the nominated Positive Athletes was to show off-field characteristics such as the ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent in all occasions and putting the team over personal goals.
“We did not put out a search for the best athletes in Western Pennsylvania,” Ward said. “We put out a search for kids with positive attitudes whose efforts don't necessarily show up on the stat sheets. These kids are also positive role models in their schools who get involved in charitable causes, have already learned the meaning of giving back at an early age, and many have overcome difficult circumstances and remained positive.”
Scholarship winners for each sport:
Football: Levi Jordan, Bentworth
Girls Volleyball: Sophie McDermott, Kiski Area
Boys Volleyball: Samuel O'Bryan, Canon-McMillan
Softball: Alayna Perbonish, Southmoreland
Boys Cross Country: Carson Shipley, Norwin
Girls Cross Country: Hannah Thurston, South Park
Cheerleading: Jessica King, Seneca Valley
Boys Basketball: Carlan Gray, Central Catholic
Girls Basketball: Salanieta Waqanivalu, Brownsville
Wrestling: Isaac Crowell, Fort Leboeuf
Boys Swimming: Brendan Donnelly, Brentwood
Girls Swimming: Kenzi Kessler, Indiana
Gymnastics: Elena Burek, North Hills
Boys Soccer: Cris White, Highlands
Girls Soccer: Alexis Schultzman, Fox Chapel
Boys Lacrosse: Gavin Campbell, Bethel Park
Girls Lacrosse: Ellie Grefenstette, Seton LaSalle
Boys Tennis: Logan D'Angelo, Moon
Girls Tennis: Mackenzie Walters, West Allegheny
Boys Track: Ezekyel Roberts, Shady Side Academy
Girls Track: Moriah Becker, Springdale
Boys Golf: Stephen Lacek, Fort Cherry
Girls Golf: Jaclyn Smith, Central Valley
Baseball: Greg Susi, Hampton
Field Hockey: Sarah Mooney, Pine-Richland
Ice Hockey: Bailey Julian, Hempfield
Boys Multi-Sport: Luke Turkovich, North Allegheny
Girls Multi-Sport: Sydney Cook, New Brighton
Boys Alternative: Brady Hunker, Mt. Pleasant
Girls Alternative: Brianna McDonagh, Oakland Catholic
Each student-athlete received a $500 scholarship generated by the efforts of the Hines Ward Celebrity Golf Classic.
Seneca Valley was recognized as the Most Positive High School for how it has supported the program and the high number of nominations it submits each year.
High school coaches honored were Doe Krug, a swimming and diving coach at Mt. Lebanon, with the Girls Coach of the Year Award; and Rich Abbott, track and field coach at South Allegheny, with the Boys Coach of the Year Award.
In addition to the scholarships awarded to the athletes in each of the numerous sports, a select number also received other scholarships.
Seneca Valley's Jessica King and Hampton's Greg Susi were selected the Male and Female Positive Athletes of the Year. Each receives a $5,000 scholarship.
Mackenzie Walters from West Allegheny was presented the Title IX Award and a $1,000 college scholarship for showing leadership to her entire school.
The Comeback Player Awards with $1,000 scholarships were given to Mt. Pleasant's Brady Hunker and Shaler's Lindsey Buczkowski for their ability to overcome serious injury to make a positive impact on their teams and teammates.
Ezekyel Roberts from Shady Side Academy was selected the winner of the Positive Solutions Award and a $1,000 scholarship. The award is presented each year to a student-athlete who has helped others on their team and in their school and/or community create a positive solution to a difficult situation.
The Jeff Boynton Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Hempfield's Bailey Julian for putting the team first as the late Plum football standout did during his high school days. Julian receives a $2,200 scholarship, reflective of Boynton's No. 22 jersey.
ljanga is a Tribune-Review freelancer. You can contact ljanga at [email protected].
Tags: Bentworth, Bethel Park, Brentwood, Brownsville, Canon-McMillan, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, Highlands, Indiana, Kiski Area, Moon, North Hills, Norwin, Seneca Valley, Seton-La Salle, Shady Side Academy, South Park, Southmoreland, West Allegheny