Zach Wuenschell, Mia March earn Brentwood’s top senior athletes awards

Sunday, June 23, 2024 | 9:50 AM

Zach Wuenschell and Mia March have at least two things in common.

The recent high school graduates received top billing at Brentwood after being recognized as the leading senior athletes for the Spartans in 2023-24.

Oh yes, both also are 18 years old.

Wuenschell was named as the Mark Reider Award winner at the Brentwood High Athletic Boosters awards banquet May 28 in the school’s cafeteria. The Mark Reider Award is presented annually to the No. 1 senior male athlete at Brentwood.

“I am excited and thankful to receive the award,” Wuenschell said.

March was the recipient of the Booster Athlete award, which is presented annually to Brentwood’s leading senior female athlete in a school year.

“I am truly honored to be named athlete of the year. I was shocked that my name was announced for this award,” March said. “One of my favorite (basketball) memories was winning section my freshman year and getting a police escort home. The police escort was for being undefeated section champs.

“I’m going to miss playing high school sports the most, but I’m also going to miss making those memories with my teammates.”

The Mark Reider and Booster Athlete award recipients last year were Carter Betz and Brianna Folino, both multiple-sport athletes.

Wuenschell was a forward on the boys basketball team, third baseman on the baseball diamond and a tight end/linebacker for three years on the football team.

“Zach is very deserving of this award. He had a tremendous senior season,” said Greg Perdziola, the Spartans baseball coach. “Zach is a very quiet and humble individual. However, he has a tremendous work ethic. He is very easy to coach and only knows one way to practice and play and that is at full speed. He will be missed not only as a player but just a fun player to be around.”

Wuenschell hit .536 with two home runs, three triples, eight doubles and 16 RBIs this spring. He was the third-leading hitter in Class 2A and was 12th-best in the WPIAL.

“I have not had many players, if any, with those stats in terms of total bases,” Perdziola said. “What is amazing is that Zach missed his junior season recovering from an ACL injury. He mainly played third base but was able to play shortstop and in the outfield when needed.”

Wuenschell also pitched for the Spartans, recorded 31 strikeouts in 28 innings of work.

“Zach is very deserving of the award,” said Dan Thayer, Brentwood’s boys basketball coach. “He was one of the top players on the football, basketball and baseball teams over his four years at Brentwood.

“Unfortunately for Zach, most of his sophomore and junior years were wiped out because of injury.”

Wuenschell averaged 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds on the hardwood in 2023-24.

“Zach was a starter for the basketball team this season,” Thayer said. “He had a solid season for us, especially considering that he missed two seasons because of injuries.

“He was able to put together some real strong games for us this season. He had a career-high 17 points against Plum and had four other games with 11 points. He also had four games with a career-high of 10 rebounds.”

Wuenschell was a 6-foot-2, 190-pound starter at tight end and linebacker on the football team.

“Zach missed his senior year due to a second ACL injury (suffered) in the last game of his junior year,” said Perdziola, a longtime defensive coordinator for the Spartans. “He was playing at a high level in his junior year, both as a linebacker and tight end. He had some big catches as our tight end and was one of our best defensive players at linebacker.

“Again, he only knows one speed. He would make tackles all over the field. If not for the ACL injuries, I believe he would be playing football in college.”

Wuenschell graduated with a 3.1 GPA and plans to serve in the Navy.

“I’m going to miss seeing my friends and family every day,” he said. “Some of my favorite memories were hanging out in the locker room with my teammates.”

Wuenschell and senior Blake Davis shared the “most outstanding” team member honor in baseball this spring. Davis also was the male scholar-athlete award winner.

The 5-foot-10 March manned a forward position on the girls basketball team and, along with her Booster Athlete award, was lauded as the “most outstanding” team member for a second consecutive season.

“Mia was an absolute joy to coach,” said Rachel Thomas, Brentwood’s girls basketball coach. “She was very coachable and an exceptional teammate; all of her teammates loved her. It was an honor to be her coach for four years.

“From the moment Mia was a freshman, she had an immediate impact on the team and our success. She is physical underneath, has a deep knowledge and understanding of the game, and was very calm under pressure showing great leadership skills.”

Thomas said March was a true team player.

“Mia is an exceptional athlete,” Thomas said. “She was always about the team’s success, not her own. She is well deserving of this award.”

March also was a first baseman on the Brentwood softball team for four years and graduated with a 3.2 GPA.

“I am happy for Mia getting the award,” said Mike Spanos, Brentwood’s first-year coach. “She is a great athlete. As good as she is at softball, she is an even better athlete at basketball. Mia will do great things in the future.”

Spanos noted that March led by example.

“Mia’s personality is reserved when it comes to a leader,” Spanos said. “She would rather lead by example which was great. She had a great softball IQ and knew what to do before the ball got to her.”

March plans to take the City of Pittsburgh firefighter’s test.

“I want to give a shoutout to my coaches, teammates and family,” March said. “They were my biggest supporters.”

Two new track and field awards were established by the Brentwood Boosters organization this year.

Daysaun Spencer was the “top point-getter” for the season in boys track; Meghan Schruben, likewise, was the “top point-getter” for the girls team.

Spencer, a freshman, finished as a WPIAL Class 2A medalist with a third-place showing in the long jump event at this year’s championship meet at Slippery Rock. He then placed eighth in the long jump at the PIAA meet.

Schruben, a sophomore, earned her second consecutive “most outstanding” team member honor in girl cross country this year.

Spencer and Schruben were a triple medalists April 13 at the Chartiers-Houston track invitational.

Spencer, a 5-9, 150-pound running back/defensive back on the football team, won the long jump and triple jump at Chartiers-Houston and ended up eighth in the 100-meter dash.

Schruben placed fourth in the 3,200, seventh in the 800 and eighth in the 1,600. She also competed in the 300 hurdles, along with the 800 and one-mile run during the indoor season.

Schruben shared the “most outstanding” team member honor last year with Tafssira Garba Gambari in girls track and field and with Amelia Foley in girls cross country.

The following Brentwood athletes were recognized as “most outstanding” team members in 2023-24:

Baseball — Wuenschell, Davis

Boys basketball — Forrest Betz

Girls basketball — March

Cheerleading — Kiera Smith

Boys cross country — Elliott Cramer

Girls cross country — Schruben

Football — Betz

Golf (tie) — Brady Donovan, Aiden Barker

Soccer — Emmanuel Ebo

Softball — Paige Boehm

Boys swimming — Yahya Majed

Girls Swimming — Fawn Brendel

Boys track and field — Spencer

Girls track and field — Schruben

Volleyball (tie) — Boehm, Jessica Yee


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