Three-sport athletes Ferretti, Persin represent Hempfield as award finalists

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Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 6:25 PM


Olivia Persin and Dillon Ferretti always look forward to this time of year.

Yes, graduation is one thing and the school picnic at Kennywood is another.

But in athletics, Persin and Ferretti would be in thick of their seasons.

Persin would be trying to help the Hempfield softball team win another WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A title. Hempfield had won five consecutive WPIAL titles.

Ferretti would be limbering up his right throwing arm whipping the shot put and discus while preparing for the WPIAL and possibly the state meets. The Hempfield boys track team was the reigning WPIAL Class AAA champions.

But schools and the spring sports seasons were halted in March because of the coronavirus.

And instead participating in sports, Persin and Ferretti have found other things to do.

Persin has found there are a lot of things she can do at home with her family, and Ferretti, if not shooting targets with his dad and sister, has taken up fishing so he and his friends can hang out together at Twin Lakes and Keystone Lake.

“Some things you overlook when you’re at home,” Persin said. “Now you have time and instead of running out the door, you appreciate things more.”

The three-sport athletes are Hempfield’s nominees for the annual Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete awards banquet and the Excellence Award, hosted by Judge John J. Driscoll.

The Driscoll committee is still hoping they can hold a banquet for all the nominees from the 18 high schools in the county sometime this summer.

“I’m so honored to be selected by my teachers and school officials,” Persin said. “They must think I’m a good, model student-athlete for the community.”

She as well as past and current softball teammates put together a video to cheer up coach Bob Kalp and his assistant coaches.

“It was neat to be part of that,” Persin said. “It was great to see all of us pull together.”

Persin was part of three WPIAL and two state champion teams. She said the team her freshman season is the most memorable even though she was just a runner. She was the starting shortstop her sophomore season.

“The 2017 is most remembered because we went undefeated,” Persin said. “It will always be remembered. The 2018 team, no one gave us a chance but it’s special because we peaked at the right time. It was a special team too.”

Ferretti said staying at home has been a little boring.

“I’m not able to do much, but I do have my dad’s old weights and I’ve been lifting,” Ferretti said. “I have a decent amount of weights.”

While Ferretti will be playing football at Mercyhurst, his most memorable moment in high school came when the Spartans wrestling team defeated Kiski Area to win the Section 1-AAA title.

“We finally beat Kiski, and it turned out to be a great moment for us,” Ferretti said. “I was looking forward to track season, but when that was taken away, Coach (Melissa) White talked to us about setting new goals.”

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

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