Plum Class of 2014 set for HOF induction
The Plum High School Sports Hall of Fame will induct the Class of 2014 during a ceremony at Edgewood Country Club on Nov. 13.
The nine-member group is Dave Blotzer, Craig Cooley, Joe Dellostritto, Michael John Kovalchick, Joe Manganello, Lisa Poeschl-Vavrek, Mark Pupilli, Jack Savage and Diane Sujansky-Taylor.
The Plum Advance Leader again will take a closer look at this year’s inductees.
Diane Sujansky-Taylor Class of 2003
The multi-sport athlete earned letters in cross country, swimming and track and field.
Sujansky-Taylor qualified for the PIAA cross country championship as a freshman. She also helped the Mustangs win two section titles and finish eighth at the WPIAL championships in 2002.
In swimming, Sujansky-Taylor finished third in the WPIAL in the 100-yard breaststroke as a senior, and she qualified for the PIAA championships in 2002 and 2003. She currently holds the record in the 100 breaststroke and also holds three school track and field records: the 400-meter dash, the 4×400 relay and the 4×800 relay.
Sujansky-Taylor qualified for the PIAA track and field championships in 2000, and in 2001, she and three teammates made it to the PIAA championships in the 4×800 relay.
In 2003, she received one of ten scholar-athlete awards given by the WPIAL and is believed to be the only female athlete in Plum history to individually qualify for states in three different sports.
Sujansky-Taylor earned an athletic scholarship to Lock Haven and continued her swimming and track and field careers. She was a PSAC swim qualifier all four years, finishing as high as third at the championships.
Sujansky-Taylor set several university swim records and achieved an NCAA B time standard in the 50-yard freestyle in 2006 and 2007.
As a member of the track and field team, she qualified for the PSAC championships in the 400 and 4×400 relay in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
She graduated from Lock Haven University with honors and a degree in secondary education/social studies.
After graduation, Sujansky-Taylor took a teaching position in Virginia. She earned a master’s in higher education management and currently works at Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant director with the career and professional development center.
She resides in Lawrenceville with her husband, Josh.
Jack Savage Class of 1985
A wrestler and football player at Plum, Savage served as captain of both teams. He was a first-team all-conference defensive tackle and center on the 1983 WPIAL Quad-A championship team.
Savage earned local media all-star honors.
On the wrestling mat, he was a WPIAL and PIAA runner-up at 185 pounds in 1985. Savage wrestled in an all-star match against a team from Iowa.
He attended Franklin & Marshall College and participated in football and wrestling as a freshman.
In 1986, he was selected an NCAA Division I freshman All-American by the Amateur Wrestling News.
He defeated the Division II national champion, 9-3.
Savage focused on football after his freshman season and started 33 straight games, serving as a team captain during his senior season,
He went on to become a two-time Division III All-American and All-East selection.
After his senior season, Savage was selected Franklin & Marshall’s defensive MVP. He also was chosen the Centennial Conference’s overall MVP.
He accomplished all of that while playing nose guard at under 200 pounds.
After college, he coached the Plum varsity defensive line for one season and later the Franklin & Marshall defensive line for two seasons.
Savage, along with his wife, Robin, and son, Cole, reside in Greensburg. He is the owner and operator of ShiftRight Transmission in Jeannette.
Craig Cooley Class of 1992
During his high school career at Plum, Cooley played volleyball, basketball and football.
He was the first four-year letterman in basketball and volleyball in school history, having started four years in both sports.
In volleyball, Cooley was an All-WPIAL performer three years, including a first-team selection as a junior and a senior. He also earned all-state honors his junior and senior seasons and earned a spot in the annual East-West all-state volleyball match.
Cooley led the Plum boys squad to three section titles and four WPIAL playoff appearances.
In basketball, Cooley was Plum’s all-time leading scorer (1,065 points) and rebounder when he graduated.
He made newspaper all-section and regional all-star teams his junior and senior years.
After Plum went 0-23 his sophomore year, Cooley and his teammates helped change the course of Plum basketball. The Mustangs finished 15-10 his senior year and almost made the playoffs.
In 1992, he was a student-athlete honoree by the East Boros Sports Hall of Fame.
Cooley played one year of college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Several knee injuries forced him to leave the team, and he focused on academics.
He graduated with a psychology degree from Pitt, a master’s degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven and a law degree from Northwestern University.
Since 2001, Cooley has used his forensic science and legal backgrounds to help free prisoners wrongly convicted from prison and death row.
He currently runs his own law practice, Cooley Law Office, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Fotis and Penny.
Joe Dellostritto Coach, 1971-1985
Before he came to Plum as a coach, Dellostritto was a multi-sport athlete at Swissvale High School, earning letters in basketball and baseball.
He was a finalist for the Swissvale High School Athlete of the Year in 1960 and later received a football scholarship to North Carolina State University. Dellostritto also had an offer to play pro baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies.
After graduating from N.C. State, Plum hired him in 1965, and he established the district’s elementary physical education curriculum.
DelloStritto coached football, wrestling, track and volleyball at both Plum Junior High and O’block Junior High for a total of 20 years before retiring from coaching in 1985. He retired as a teacher in 2001.
At the junior highs, Dellostritto had a combined football coaching record of 21-17-2.
He coached O’block’s wrestling team for 14 years and helped guide the squads to several undefeated seasons and section championships. The undefeated teams from 1977 to 1981 won 46 straight matches.
From 1977 to 1985, Dellostritto’s teams were 65-3 in section matches and had an overall record of 80-28-2.
The teams won five JVL tournaments and two Junior WPIAL Section 9 tournaments. Dellostritto coached 48 wrestlers to undefeated seasons and 34 section champions.
He and his wife, Carol, have resided in Plum for 45 years. They have two sons, Joe (wife Kathy) and Mark (wife Jodie), and one granddaughter, Anna.�
Mark Pupilli Class of 1976
Pupilli helped the Plum junior high football team to two undefeated seasons and the freshman team to the Seneca Valley title.
Pupilli was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and volleyball.
He helped the Plum football team earn the co-championship in the Keystone Conference in 1974.
In 1975, Pupilli was a part of the Mustangs football squad that claimed the outright Keystone Conference crown. His football honors included being named Plum’s Outstanding Offensive Player, the 1975 scoring title, all-star honors by the Associated Press, selection to the all-conference team and the conference MVP.
Pupilli was the first Plum running back to surpass 1,300 yards rushing in a single season.
In track, Pupilli was a member of Plum’s WPIAL champion boys 880 and 440 relay teams, and he earned All-WPIAL honors for his relay running.
In addition to his athletic prowess at Plum, Pupilli was vice president of the Honor Roll Society.
He continued his academics at West Virginia University and played football for the Mountaineers under Frank Cignetti Sr. and his defensive backs coach, Nick Saban.
Pupilli started on special teams for four years and was a two-year starter at defensive back.
He graduated in four years with a degree in mining engineering, and he started working in the old fields of Texas.
In 2007, Pupilli came back to Plum with his wife, Carol, and their two sons, Luke and Collin. He has helped run several business, including Custom Modular Homes, Inc. and Designer Jewelry Outlet.
Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at [email protected].