WPIAL approves extra year of eligibility for Aliquippa athlete injured in shooting

Monday, July 25, 2022 | 6:10 PM

The WPIAL approved an extra year of eligibility for Aliquippa’s Antonyo “Sunny” Anderson, a multi-sport athlete who was seriously injured in a shooting 14 months ago.

Anderson missed his senior seasons and often watched football games from a wheelchair on the sideline, so Aliquippa administrators asked for a hardship waiver allowed under PIAA bylaws.

The WPIAL held a hearing Monday and granted the request, said WPIAL executive director Scott Seltzer.

“I’m so thankful that the WPIAL and the board gave us an opportunity to explain Sunny’s situation and the reason behind our request,” Aliquippa football coach Mike Warfield said. “I sincerely appreciate that they made this decision. It’s about more than football. It’s about his future.”

Anderson is now walking without crutches, but it’s still questionable whether he would be physically ready to play football this fall. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver and defensive back scored seven touchdowns in the 2020 season.

“He still has a ways to go, but he’s fighting every day,” Warfield said. “This was his motivation. He wanted to come back for his senior year.”

In May 2021, Anderson was driving in Aliquippa when he was shot in the back. The shooting occured a few days before Anderson was supposed to join his sprint relay teammates at the state track championship.

“If you think about something this tragic happening, even as an adult, how would you feel?” Warfield said. “This (additional eligibility) is about his mental health, making sure he knows we still support him and that people do care about him. I think this decision will definitely make him feel that way.”

Under PIAA rules, students are limited to four consecutive years beyond the eighth grade. But in specific circumstances, the WPIAL board can grant an additional year for “severe and unusual personal hardship,” as long as the student hasn’t turned 19 before July 1.

In a separate hearing Monday, the WPIAL also approved an additional year for Penn Hills’ Khalil Cotton, a football and basketball player.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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