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'Impressive' list of 2024 Westmoreland County Scholar/Athlete nominees announced

“What an impressive group.”

“What a remarkable group.”

That's how Judge Michael Stewart, who took over from John J. Driscoll in 2023 as the sponsoring judge for the annual Westmoreland County Scholar/Athlete banquet, described the 2024 group of nominees for the Excellence Award.

Leaders from 15 out of 18 county high schools gathered this week to hear the remarkable academic and athletic accomplishments of the 36 nominees. They voted on the 12 finalists for the award and then the two winners (one male and one female).

This year's group included PIAA and WPIAL individual champions and members of championship teams. They are also outstanding students, with many being ranked No. 1 in their class.

It was also revealed that KDKA sportscaster Josh Taylor will be the guest speaker and that Hempfield assistant athletic director Tommy Evans will be recognized with the Michael and John Ferrante Award, given to an individual who has helped to promote high school athletics.

This year's banquet will take place on April 18 at Ferrante's Lakeview in Hempfield.

The sponsors are Excela Health, Drs. Geoff and Greg Bisignani and Ferrante's Lakeview.

Here are the 2024 candidates:

Belle Vernon: Adam LaCarte (football, baseball and basketball) and Sienna Steeber (track and field, gymnastics and cross country).

Burrell: Grace Nesko (track and field, soccer and cross country) and Cooper Hornack (wrestling, football and track and field).

Derry: Roman Fridley (baseball and basketball) and Rachelle Marinchek (basketball).

Franklin Regional: Holden Thomas (swimming) and Aris Lamanna (soccer).

Greensburg Central Catholic: Tyree Turner (basketball, football and baseball) and Izabela Aigner (golf and lacrosse).

Greensburg Salem: Nicholas X. Heinnickel (baseball, basketball and soccer) and Kaitlyn Mankins (basketball, volleyball and track and field).

Hempfield: Payton Murray (outdoor track and field and indoor track and field) and Sarah Podkul (basketball, softball and volleyball).

Jeannette: Jordan Taylor (soccer) and Payton Molter (football).

Kiski Area: Eliza J. Miller (track and field, swimming and cross country) and Carter Leviski (baseball).

Latrobe: Louis Amatucci (hockey and baseball) and Elle Snyder (volleyball and basketball).

Ligonier Valley: Declan McMullen (golf) and Mikayla Smitley (swimming).

Monessen: Matthew Sawa (soccer, basketball and baseball) and Sidney Campbell (soccer, basketball and softball).

Mt. Pleasant: Eli Duvall (soccer and tennis) and Addison Lynn Reese (softball and tennis).

Norwin: Luke Denny (football, basketball and track and field) and Bailey Snowberger (softball and basketball).

Penn-Trafford: Patton Graziano (swimming and golf) and Mackenzie Keenan (softball and field hockey).

Southmoreland: Adam Thomas Halinka (track and field, cross country) and Madison Brown (softball).

Valley: Wesley Schrock (baseball) and Nina Vigilante (soccer, tennis and volleyball).

Yough: Zander Avery Aird (soccer, basketball and baseball) and Jada Ford (track and field, cross country and lacrosse).

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