Quaker Valley athletes focus on sportsmanship at WPIAL summit

Sunday, November 19, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Quaker Valley athletics was in vogue at the 14th annual WPIAL Summit on Sportsmanship held Nov. 8 at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

More than 400 student-athletes from schools throughout Western Pennsylvania gathered at the event, which was presented by The Wilson Group and WPIAL sportsmanship committee.

From Quaker Valley, seniors Zach Djedid (football, basketball, track & field), Katelyn Clark (volleyball), Bennett Haas (soccer), Madison Chapman (basketball), Gavin Fallgren (baseball) and Taylor Cupelli (lacrosse) attended and were chaperoned by Mike Mastroianni and Christina Johns from the QV athletic office.

“I liked the event,” Djedid said. “I believe it was a good learning experience. I thought it was cool that former athletes and coaches talked about the importance of respect and sportsmanship. I learned a lot from that.”

“My favorite part was when one of the speakers talked about how he’d treat the garbage man. He’d always greet them and show them his gratitude for what they do. In return, they’d always take his trash the right way and treat his bins with respect.”

Djedid, 17, is a 6-0, 195-pound three-sport athlete. He was a three-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines on the QV football team and served as a captain and starting center this season.

Football is his favorite sport and he hopes to continue his career on the gridiron at a Division III college, where he will major in cybersecurity.

Djedid said the biggest influence of his athletic career has been his 19-year-old sibling Abe, a Quaker Valley graduate who was a four-year starter as a lineman on the football team.

“My older brother has always been faster and stronger than me and a better athlete,” Djedid said, “and I strive to catch up to him one day or even pass him up.”

Clark, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter on the section-winning QV girls volleyball team, was a first-team all-section selection and a third-team WPIAL 2A all-star this season.

“I really enjoyed the event, and I absolutely would do it again,” Clark said. “I thought all the speakers did an amazing job and everything they said was so motivational and eye-opening for so many of us student-athletes.

“My favorite part was the last speaker. He was simply amazing. Going up there with no script and just speaking from experience to us was really impressive.”

The 17-year-old Clark was a three-year varsity starter for the Quakers. She plans to major in chemistry in college.

“I am currently applying to about 10 schools, mostly on the East Coast,” Clark said.

Athletically, Clark has concentrated solely on her volleyball career in high school.

“My biggest influence in terms of volleyball players would have to be Jordan Thompson,” she said. “I know she’s a right side and I’m a middle, but she’s always been my favorite.”

The 6-4 Thompson played collegiate volleyball at Cincinnati from 2015-2019 and won gold with the U.S. national team at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

At the WPIAL summit, speakers discussed topics related to the importance of sportsmanship in athletics, and the league recognized the winners of the 2022-2023 WPIAL Sportsmanship Award presented by The Wilson Group.

Armstrong, Elizabeth Forward, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and South Fayette were named as recipients of the award.

Students also heard from the WPIAL Equity Council for Diversity & Inclusion and toured the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Attendees were encouraged to identify “Game Changers” during their tour and share them on social media.

Djedid identified his Game Changer as “Leaving your impact on the field by being a good sport and being respectful to the other team.”

Featured speakers at the event included:

• Dan Cardone, retired athletic director of North Hills High School

• Alaina Ferry, marketing manager of First National Bank

• Brian Gulish, vice president of marketing and communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

• Ron Iduko, associate director of the Center on Race & Social Problems at the University of Pittsburgh

• Anne Madarasz, director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at Heinz History Center

• Captain Nicholas P. Palermo, United States Marines

• Scott Seltzer, executive director of the WPIAL

• Gene Steratore, rules analyst for CBS Sports and retired NFL & NCAA basketball official

• Derrick Wilson, president and chief executive officer of The Wilson Group

Freeport High School student-athlete advisory council

• Members of the WPIAL Equity Council for Diversity & Inclusion


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