Belle Vernon’s Parshall, Ligonier Valley’s Patrick receive Scholar-Athlete Excellence Award
One throws a fastball in the 60 mph range. The other is a quick worker on the wrestling mat.
But more than that, the future NCAA Division I athletes excelled in the classroom.
Belle Vernon senior Bailey Parshall and Ligonier Valley senior Robby Patrick were voted by county athletic directors as the 2018 Excellence Award winners at the 62nd annual Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete banquet, hosted by Westmoreland County Judge John. J. Driscoll on Tuesday at Ferrante’s Lakeview in Hempfield.
The winners were among 36 nominees, two each from the 18 county high schools, that were recognized.
The committee of athletic directors voted for 12 finalists and then selected to two winners.
The other finalists were Norwin’s Maria Santilli and Magen Polczynski, Greensburg Salem’s Jesse Quatse, Monessen’s Cory Fleming, Penn-Trafford’s John Gay, Hempfield’s Allison Podkul, Kiski Area’s Danny Starr, Derry’s Chelsea Bisi, Southmoreland’s Kaylee Farino and Latrobe’s Taylor Miller.
Parshall said she was shocked when her name was announced as the winner.
She helped Belle Vernon capture WPIAL softball titles in 2015 and ’17.
The future Penn State pitcher is the strikeout leader in the WPIAL and is ranked as one of the top players in the country. She threw a perfect game Monday.
“It was a great honor to have and to represent Belle Vernon and the 36 nominees,” said Parshall, who carries a 3.65 grade-point average. “There was so much talent here being honored; it’s a great award. I was happy they picked me.
“There were valedictorians of their class, and it was shocking to me because there are so many talented athletes.”
Patrick, who will wrestle next year at Virginia, said a lot of his accomplishments are a credit to his teachers, coaches and parents. He carries a 3.56 GPA and was a three-time PIAA Class AA runner-up.
“They helped me be the student-athlete that I am,” Patrick said. “This award is a reflection of them more than me. I was grateful to win. You don’t always get assurances in life. It’s recognition of my hard work.”
The Mike J. and John J. Ferrante Memorial Award winner was Hempfield softball coach Robert Kalp, who was recognized for his contributions to promote high school athletics. He’s been a coach at Hempfield for 28 years, including the past 22 as head coach.
His Spartans have won three consecutive WPIAL titles and two PIAA championship.
A Mt. Pleasant and IUP graduate, Kalp represented Mt. Pleasant 55 years ago when the banquet was named after the late Judge David Weiss.
Morgan Ryan, a 2017 Hempfield grad now pitching at Notre Dame, sent a letter praising Kalp for his role in her success, and it was read at the banquet.
IUP women’s basketball coach Tom McConnell was the guest speaker. He told the student-athletes to strive to be the best.
“Most successful people are not the smartest or the most talented,” he said. “They are the ones who best prepared.”
The banquet was sponsored by Ferrante’s Lakeview, Excela Health and the Bisignani brothers — Drs. Geoffrey and Greg.