WPIAL hosts hundreds of student-athletes at annual Sportsmanship Summit

Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 4:23 PM

For the 11th year in a row, the WPIAL hosted its annual Sportsmanship Summit at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum on Thursday morning.

Close to 600 area student-athletes and athletic directors attended the event as keynote speakers such as Bernie Colbert, the Lead Educator for Coaching Boys into Men; Karen Hall, a former WPIAL athlete and current ESPN3 color analyst for women’s college basketball; and encouraged the students to enact positive change within their school districts.

The message was clear, the WPIAL wanted to discuss topics related to sportsmanship in today’s society.

“The ultimate goal is to bring attention to what appropriate and inappropriate behavior is,” WPIAL associate executive director Amy Scheuneman said. “Sometimes kids don’t understand the difference and acts they do all the time, they might not seem as negative, but they really are.

“By doing this we are trying to bring the light to these kids and have them take that message back to their teams and help spread it throughout their schools.”

Over the past 11 years, the event has been beneficial for the athletic directors, coaches and students in attendance.

Quaker Valley athletic director and boys basketball coach Mike Mastroianni has attended every summit and always finds something to pass on to his coaches and players.

“This is very valuable,” Mastroianni said. “It starts with our coaches and when we have our coaches’ meetings we really emphasize some of the important things, and sportsmanship is at the top of it. And it all trickles down from this meeting.”

Something new to this year’s event was a Q&A with a panel of media members. Each shared stories and experiences of the best sportsmanship they witnessed during their professional careers in hopes the students could replicate.

“We wanted to provide a message to the students, that people are watching,” Scheuneman said. “That’s what the media panel was about, hearing from those that do that every day. I think that was a great session, where we got their feedback on what they look for, what they like and what advice they would give.”

Former North Hills athletic director Dan Cardone initiated the yearly summit in 2009 in hopes of spreading the message about sportsmanship. Each year, the WPIAL hopes students who attend take that message back to their respective schools and share that message with their classmates, because that’s where the effort starts.

“We try to do as much as we can,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. “But I think the message given here is there’s no magic dust, we can’t make (students) behave. But we’re going to lean on (students) to go back to your school communities and try to impress the need to do that there.”

Peters Township, Seneca Valley, West Greene and Winchester Thurston were awarded the 2018-19 Sportsmanship Awards.

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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