Southmoreland’s Moore, Franklin Regional’s Jackson named Excellence Award winners

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | 9:40 PM

There’s a good chance the 2019 Westmoreland County Scholar Athlete Award winners will see the world — one by serving her country, the other by playing a sport at which he excels.

Southmoreland’s Maggie Moore and Franklin Regional’s Palmer Jackson were named this year’s winners of the Excellence Award at the 63rd annual Westmoreland County Scholar Athlete banquet at Ferrante’s Lakeview in Hempfield.

The banquet is presented by Judge John J. Driscoll, and the sponsors are Ferrante’s Lakeview, Excela Health and Drs. Geoff and Greg Bisignani.

Moore, who is ranked No. 2 in her class, will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy, where she will play basketball.

She is the first Southmoreland girl to win the award and the first Scottie since Chris Dugan won in 1997.

“I’m just thankful for this opportunity and thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way,” Moore said, “my parents, my athletic director (Charlie Swink) and my coaches (Brian Pritts and AAU coaches).

“I’m expecting a lot of things at the Naval Academy. It’s a great opportunity to go to different places and see different things.”

The boys winner already has achieved more in golf than many his age. Jackson played four of the top courses in the country — Oakmont, Pebble Beach, Valhalla and Baltusrol — last summer. He was the PIAA Class AAA champion and will attend Notre Dame.

Jackson is the seventh Franklin Regional athlete to win the award.

“This award means a lot to me,” Jackson said. “I knew there were a lot of great candidates. This shows that my hard work paid off, all this time I put forth and the people I spent my time with really paid off.

“Golf is something I love doing, and as long as I have that drive, I’ll be successful.”

The other 10 finalists selected by the county athletic directors were Belle Vernon’s Lindsay Steeber, Derry’s Dom DeLuca, Latrobe’s Reed Fenton, Hempfield’s Jessica Persin and Gavin Mayo, Kiski Area’s Keaghan Schafer, Norwin’s Jessica Kolesar, Penn-Trafford’s Paige Kalik and Nick Coy and Yough’s Jarett Bach.

Each of the county’s 18 schools nominates two athletes for the award, and the athletic directors select 12 finalists and then the top female and male winner.

Retired Greensburg Salem athletic director and girls volleyball coach Lynn Jobe was named this year’s winner of the Mike and John Ferrante Memorial Award. She was the first female athletic director in the county and the first female winner of the Ferrante Award.

Jobe said it was a great honor to join the list of distinguished past award winners. The award is given annually to a person who helps promote high school athletics.

The Greensburg Salem graduate was a cheerleader in high school. She coached the Golden Lions volleyball team to WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA titles in 1998.

Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke was the guest speaker at the event.

Lyke said when she came to Pitt two years ago, she had to ask Pitt executive associate athletic director and media relations director E.J. Borghetti what the WPIAL was.

“I was told it was pride and tradition,” Lyke said. “And it is the best of the best in Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Lyke talked to the student-athletes about what makes a successful team.

The five qualities she talked about were hard work, talent, curiosity, grit and selflessness.

“Hard work is your fundamental base,” Lyke said. “You have to have incredible talent. You have to challenge yourself every day to get better. You have to show toughness and be able to adapt. And the team has to be the most important thing.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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