With family help, Kiski Area seniors succeeded in athletic endeavors

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 | 4:32 PM

Editor’s note: This is the 10th in an 18-part series profiling nominees for the Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete Excellence Awards.

When Kiski Area’s Jack Blumer and Sidney Palla first got started in high school, they had the opportunity to get ushered in by their older siblings.

For Blumer, he was joined on the wrestling team by his older brother, Joe. Along with the rest of the Cavaliers, the pair went on to capture the first of three straight WPIAL titles. Looking back on his high school career, Blumer thought it was nice to be able to start off his high school career with his brother by his side.

“That was cool because he was the big dog, and I was just an incoming freshman,” Blumer said. “He helped me out a lot, which helped me that year. But, after that year it was like ‘I’m on my own now, I don’t have him so I’m going to have to start training harder,’ and that was when I won my first WPIAL title.”

Throughout her entire high school career, Sidney has had her twin sister, Christina, beside her. But during freshman year, the twins played a soccer season with one of their two older sisters, Brittany.

The Cavaliers went 8-7-3 that year and lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs, but Sidney thought sharing that season was special.

“I actually got the inspiration to play soccer from my two older sisters,” Palla said.

Both athletes, Kiski Area’s nominees for the Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete Excellence Awards, had solid high school careers.

Palla, who is committed to Morehead State for soccer along with her twin sister, has been a staple for the Kiski Area girls soccer program over the past three years.

After scoring 13 goals and dishing out 15 assists as a sophomore, Palla tore her ACL and missed most of her junior season but scored four goals.

The Cavaliers won 25 games combined between those two years and finished this season with an overall record of 13-5. Palla scored a team-high 22 goals and added 10 assists.

“At first we weren’t very good, but as we got older, we really started to come together because we were all freshmen together and there was a good amount of that were starters,” Palla said. “So, we got to grow four years together, and our coaching was really good and it all really helped us on the field.”

Blumer, a West Virginia commit, was one of the best wrestlers in Kiski Area history. He captured two WPIAL titles and placed third and fourth at the state tournament.

The 160-pounder also surpassed 100 career pins this season and broke the Kiski Area pin record, as well.

“I like that because I’ll be a part of that program for a while,” Blumer said. “I don’t think it’s going to be broken, and if it is, I’ll be very surprised and happy for the person. But I think that’s going to be there for a while so my name will be a part of that program for a long time.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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