PITTSBURGH - The third annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Awards honored 26 student athletes Saturday at the Heinz History Center.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward was on hand for the event, which was emceed by Channel 11’s Katherine Amenta.
Athletes were honored for overcoming obstacles and being a positive influence for their teammates.
Matt Gunsallas, of Plum High School, was the recipient of one of the awards.
“My dad has been there to help me through a lot of this, always helping to make me laugh and stay positive,” said Gunsallas.
Cole Blake, of Moon Area High School, and Allison Bartoszewicz, of Vincentian Academy, were named the top male and female athletes of the year.
Two coaches and Highlands High School were also honored during the ceremony.
Nearly 1,000 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents were submitted by 125 Western Pennsylvania high schools.
Franklin Regional High School was included in the event as well. Murrysville Mayor Robert Brooks was in attendance to present Ward, Roberto Clemente, Jr., Olympic women's hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin and the student athletes with “FR STRONG” T-shirts.
Over $10,000 in scholarships were awarded.
List of 2013-14 award recipients:
- Baseball - Matt Gunsallus - Plum High School
- Basketball (Boys) - Marcus Malara - Mt. Pleasant High School
- Basketball (Girls) - Allison Bartoszewicz - Vincentian Academy
- Cheerleading - Stephanie Mandella - South Allegheny High School
- Cross-Country (Boys) - Ryan Lerda - South Fayette High School
- Cross-Country (Girls) - Elizabeth Manickas - Neshanock High School
- Field Hockey - Anna Romeo - Norwin High School
- Football - Cole Blake - Moon Area High School
- Golf (Boys) - Thomas Steve - Upper St Clair High School
- Golf (Girls) - Kelsay Soom - Laurel Highlands High School
- Gymnastics - Megan Tamilia - Moon High School
- Ice Hockey - Kellen Carleton - Pittsburgh Central Catholic
- Lacrosse (Boys) - Caleb Reynolds - Mt. Lebanon High School
- Lacrosse (Girls) - Lia Vinciguerra - Blackhawk High School
- Soccer (Boys) - Alex Hannigan - Canon McMillan
- Soccer (Girls) - Deanna Dicesere - Greensburg Central Catholic
- Softball - Alexis Roenigk - Freeport Area High School
- Swimming (Boys) - Zachary Buerger - North Allegheny High School
- Swimming (Girls) - Erin Shepard - Plum High School
- Tennis (Boys) - Matt Milkus - Springdale High School
- Tennis (Girls) - Kaitlyn Schaffer - Fox Chapel High School
- Track & Field (Boys) - Luke Smorey - Baldwin High School
- Track & Field (Girls) - Lydia Dennis - Mars High School
- Volleyball (Boys) - Daniel Conwell - Norwin High School
- Volleyball (Girls) - Cheyenne Seik - South Side High School
- Wrestling - Jacob Beistel - Southmoreland High School
- Girls Coach - Katie Smolter - Seneca Valley High School (Girls' Tennis)
- Boys Coach - Bob Palko - West Allegheny High School (Football)
- Highlands High School - Highmark Most Positive High School