Positive Athlete Pittsburgh presents annual awards, scholarships

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.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

ljanga is a Tribune-Review freelancer. You can contact ljanga at [email protected].

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