Westmoreland Scholar/Athlete committee announces excellent group; banquet on hold

Friday, April 24, 2020 | 8:22 PM

Will the 64th annual Westmoreland Scholar/Athlete banquet be held this year?

Westmoreland Judge John J. Driscoll sure hopes so.

The annual banquet was supposed to be April 28 but has been postponed.

“We’re hoping we can hold something in June or July,” Driscoll said. “Right now, we’re in the process of reviewing all the candidates and picking a male and female winner.

“This is a wonderful class. … So we would like to have the banquet if at all possible.”

Driscoll said the committee will comply with all the rules set by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“The goal is to have a live banquet and make these awards,” Driscoll said. “We may not have the banquet until summer, but we’re going to try to honor the scholar/athletes and their families. Unless they don’t want it, we’re going to do it.”

Driscoll said the pandemic has been devastating to the seniors because this is the final weeks of their high school career.

“They don’t realize it, they’re saying goodbye to some of their friends,” Driscoll said. “This is a very rich time in the life of these children. They were born at a time when the world suffered the attacks of 9/11 and graduating at this juncture in our nations’ history and it’s difficult for them. We would like to at least, as what we’ve been for the last 60 years, honoring the scholar/athletes of each class in each high school in the county.”

The 2019 winners were Palmer Jackson of Franklin Regional and Maggie Moore of Southmoreland.

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

Eighteen schools each select two students for the award. The selection committee, which consists of the county athletic directors, looks at the academic and athletic achievements of each nominee and selects 12 finalists and the two winners.

Hempfield track coach Ron Colland was this year’s winner of the John and Michael Ferrante Memorial Award, given to a person who promotes high school athletics.

Here are this year’s nominees:

Belle Vernon: Hannah Seitzinger (track) and Mitchell Pohlot (football, basketball).

Burrell: Megan Malits (soccer/track) and Ricky Feroce (football, wrestling, rugby).

Derry: Kamryn Kelly (basketball, softball, volleyball) and Justin Huss (football, basketball, track).

Franklin Regional: Jo-Michelle Huczko (track) and Connor Hudson (soccer).

Greater Latrobe: Rachel Harter (cross country, track) and Colten McCutcheon (golf, hockey).

Greensburg Central Catholic: Samantha Nemeth (basketball, track) and Nathan Ward (soccer, basketball, football, track)

Greensburg Salem: Shaleena Garner (basketball, track, volleyball) and Jalen Page (football, basketball, track).

Hempfield: Olivia Persin (volleyball, basketball, softball) and Dillon Ferretti (football, wrestling, track).

Jeannette: Faith Johnston (softball) and Justin Cramer (football, wrestling).

Kiski Area: Sidney Palla (soccer) and Jack Blumer (wrestling).

Ligonier Valley: Jane Garver (softball) and Michael Petrof (football, baseball).

Monessen: Milana Sacco (track, soccer) and Cameron Frolo (soccer, baseball).

Mt. Pleasant: Heather Gardner (swimming) and Jacob Johnson (football, basketball).

Norwin: Juliana Crosby (golf) and Kurtis Phipps (wrestling).

Penn-Trafford: Corina Paszek (swimming) and Gabe Dunlap (football).

Southmoreland: Sarah Pisula (volleyball, basketball) and Riley Comforti (football, basketball, track).

Valley: Madison Gatto (tennis, softball) and Tyler Walmsley (soccer).

Yough: Sara Krofcheck (soccer) and Steven Manon (golf, baseball).

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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