Student Athlete of the Week, the longest running franchise in Valley television, has wrapped up another season. From all of the Student Athletes of the Week, two will be selected as our Student Athletes of the Year. The honor will be bestowed on one male and one female at the 23rd annual banquet which will be held on Monday, June 4 at the Georgetown in Boardman.
From football, tennis, bowling, wrestling and golf to volleyball, softball, gymnastics, track and swimming, MyValleySports has spanned the five-county viewing area to honor the athletes who also achieve excellence in the classroom. You can watch their stories on this site in the Joe Aulisio's "Student Athlete of the Week" section.
Here is a quick look at the 2011-2012 Student Athletes of the Week:
When Maria Mancini picks up a golf club she usually has little trouble landing her ball in the fairway, blasting a bunker shot, or sinking a putt. This Poland senior routinely drives the ball over 230 yards. She placed fifth in the state last year and will continue her career at Indiana. Maria competes in the classroom, too, posting a 3.5 grade point average.
Canfield twin brothers, Mike and Anthony Ross, have both applied for early acceptance to the military academy. Each is a starter on the football team, and they are standouts on the baseball diamond, as well. In the classroom, both are ranked first in the class. Anthony is class president. Mike is class vice president. Each belongs to National Honor Society, Key Club, LEOs Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Victoria Galbreath is a defensive specialist for Lakeview's volleyball program where she is a two-year letter winner. Victoria also did double duty on Friday nights where she was a cheerleader and played clarinet in the marching band. In the classroom, she has a 3.8 grade point average, but what she enjoys most about school is volunteering as a tutor for middle school students in the Bulldog buddies program.
Liberty tennis standout Victoria Ferry was the school's first ever State qualifier her junior year, finishing ninth. She is the number one singles player on the tennis team.
In the classroom, Victoria is ranked fourth in her class with a 3.98 grade point average. She is a member of National Honor Society, Pep Club, Art Club, Student Government, and International Club. She has volunteered for the Liberty levy committee and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Kelsie Teaberry excels on the golf course and in the classroom for the Warren JFK Eagles. On the course, her nine-hole scoring average is a 38. In the class, she has a 3.98 grade point average. Kelsie has been named to the first team All-North Coast League. She has also been named the Independent League most valuable player. She is a member of National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta and volunteers at the Children's Rehabilitation Center in Warren.
Salem senior Nick Costa plays soccer and runs cross country where he is a four-year letter winner in soccer and in track. He is co-president of National Honor Society, a member of Academic Challenge, German Club, Interact Club, Physics Club, Pep Club, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes just to name a few. Nick also spends time playing piano at local nursing homes and refereeing youth soccer games, all while holding a 4.2 G.P.A.
Lisbon's Kayla Hiscox dominates on the volleyball court, on the diamond, and in the classroom. She is a four-year letter winner in volleyball and softball and is one of the top middle blockers in the Inter Tri-County League. Kayla is also one of the top students, holding a 4.05 grade point average.
Austintown Fitch's Alex While is excelling in cross-country and in the classroom. Alex is a four-year letter winner for Fitch's cross-country team and a First-Team All-League and All-District selection for the Falcons. He is a National Merit Semifinalist and holds a 4.0 grade point average.
LaBrae's Matt Szorady is a four-year letter winner for the football team. He is a standout running back and is an All-Conference and All-District performer for the Vikings. Szorady was also on pace to be a four-year letterman, as well as All-Conference and All-District player of the Viking basketball team. His grades place him near the top of his class, and his name has never been off the honor roll.
Campbell senior Brian Austalosh is a four-year letter winner in golf. The Campbell senior is also an All-Conference selection. He consistently shoots a 36 on nine, which helped him become a Regional qualifier. Brian holds a 3.95 grade point average and is ranked first in his class. He's also vice president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the French Club, and a member of the Business Club and Chemistry Club, and is also the male social chair of the senior class at Campbell High School.
Crestview's Adam Coppock is a four-year letter winner and a three-sport athlete. Adam has all but mastered football, basketball, and baseball. He's on track to earn four letters in each sport, and has been named to the All-Conference team multiple times in football and basketball. Adam also holds the school record for most receptions made in a game, and he holds a 4.0 grade point average.
Western Reserve senior Thomas Benyo is a four-year letter winner in football, basketball, and baseball, and has earned conference honors in all of them as well. Thomas is a member of the National Honor Society, carrying a 3.2 grade point average and ranking 25th in his class.
Ryan Farragher does double duty for Cardinal Mooney's football team and has posted a 3.3 grade point average in the process. He is a standout wide receiver, earning First Team All-Northeast Ohio, and Third Team All-State, helping lead the Cardinals to the Division III State Championship.
Allie Anderson holds a 3.7 grade point average and hopes to become a neo-natal nurse. She attends Ursuline High School, but has been competing as a gymnast with Youngstown Gymnastics since she was six years old. She won the State championship while competing at Level 9 last year, and finished second overall at Regionals. She also placed 6th on the floor at Nationals last year. Allie is Student Council class president, a student ambassador, a member of National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and is a Eucharistic minister.
Taylor Hvisdak is a 4.0 student and four-year letter winner for the Lowellville girls basketball team. This year, she eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career. Taylor is also a cheerleader, member of the marching band, National Honor Society, Italian Club, Future Teachers of America, S.A.D.D., and Student Council.
Chase Whelan is a three-sport star for West Middlesex. In wrestling, Chase has earned four varsity letters on the mat and was named team captain this season. He's ranked sixth in his class with a 3.9 grade point average. He's president of the Drama Club and has scored multiple lead roles in school plays and musicals. Chase is National Honor Society vice president, Spanish Club vice president, and Drama Club president. He is a member of Student Council, Art Club, Students for Charity, S.A.D.D.
Poland senior Maura Bobby has earned 13 varsity letters, holds a 3.4 g.p.a., and plans to be a special education teacher. Last spring, she helped the Lady Bulldogs to the first State softball title in school history. Maura is a four-sport standout. She has earned three letters each in soccer, basketball, and cross country, and four letters in softball. Bobby's success in athletics is translating to the classroom. She has a 3.4 grade point average and is a member of Student Council, Latin Club, and Science Club.
Struthers senior Nick Gigax golfs, bowls and plays baseball. When he was just 12 years old, Nick rolled a 300 game. Last year, he helped the Wildcats to a fourth place finish at State and his per game average this year is 233. Nick has a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of National Honor Society, Interact Club, and youth ministry.
Devonta Fleetion, known to his friends as D.D., is a three-sport athlete for East, sporting a 4.1 grade point average. His favorite sport is football, but he plays basketball and track, as well. As a junior, he was a regional semi-finalist in the long jump. As a team captain, Devonta was instrumental in helping the East football program smoothly merge with rival Chaney last fall. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Great Expectations tutoring program, and Spanish Club, and is also class secretary. Devonta hopes to play football in college, and plans to major in physical therapy and minor in education.
Lakeview's Ali Gagne not only excels on the court, but in the classroom as well. In basketball, she set a new school record, scoring 46 points in one game and has exceeded the 1,000 career points plateau. Ali has accumulated 11 varsity letters in her high school career. She was also a member of the soccer team and runs for the track team in the spring. She is also a member of National Honor Society, Senior Executive Committee, and French Club. Ali hopes to play basketball in college and study pre-medicine or physical therapy.
Allison Thirion is team captain and an Academic All-American for the Warren Harding swim team. She is a two-time State qualifier for the Raiders in both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. As a senior, she is also competing in the 100-yard backstroke. She has a 4.2 grade point average and has been named an Academic All-American. Allison is Student Council President, a member of Key Club, National Honor Society, and Peer Tutoring. She also spends time volunteering on the surgical floor at St. Joe's Hospital in Warren and hopes to take her talents to the operating table as a heart surgeon.
Dan Moody is a two-sport star and class valedictorian for the Howland Tigers and is headed to Harvard, where he will also play football. Dan is a three-year starter with the Tigers where they went 31-3 in that time. He received All Region honors and was named Academic All State. He is National Honor Society treasurer, a member of Academic Challenge, volunteers at his church, and also plays on the scout team for the women's basketball team. Dan is also a four-year letter winner with the track and field team.
Ryan Bailey's ability in the water has allowed him to rewrite the record books at Boardman. As a sophomore, he set the top mark in the school for the 100 yard butterfly and shares a team record in the medley relay. He was a State qualifier in three events last year. Although he's just a junior, Ryan has a 4.0 grade point average and is ranked first in his class. He is also a member of Link Crew, Spanish Club, Math Club, and Medical Careers Club and hopes to continue his swimming career in college.
Amanda Wess shines at the bowling alley and in the classroom for the Hubbard Eagles. She is one of the area's best bowlers and recently matched her career high, rolling a 279. Amanda has competed at various national tournaments throughout her high school career. As a junior, she finished in the top 30 percent of the nation in the National Junior Gold Bowling Tournament. Amanda has 3.9 grade point average and is Spanish Club Treasurer, Future Teachers of America President, a member of National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Hubbard Christians in Action. She was also named Hubbard Rotary Student of the Month. As a junior, she organized a t-shirt drive raising nearly $300 for the local food bank.
Jerry Lawman has a 3.7 grade point average and is a multiple-sport standout for the Poland Bulldogs. An All-Conference standout in football, Jerry rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. He averaged over 12 points a game his senior season in basketball and played baseball this spring. Previously, he has participated in track qualifying for Regionals in the 300-meter hurdles. Jerry is a member of National Honor Society and is Student Council Vice President. He volunteers with the Holy Family Senior Team for Celebrate. He was also a coach for the fifth grade basketball team throughout the season.
Sarah Bonar is considered one of the best basketball players to ever play at Badger. She has scored over 1,600 points in her career, more than any other boy or girl in school history. Sarah was also selected to represent the Braves in this year's Ohio North/South All-Star game. She averaged over 22 points and over 10 rebounds per game. Sarah is also a State qualifier in both cross country and track. She was also a member of the soccer team. Sarah is National Honor Society President, a member of Student Government, Spanish Club, Band Club, Mahoning Valley Youth Leadership Conference, OHSAA Leadership Conference, and Buckeye Girls State. She is class valedictorian and hopes to one day become a physical therapist.
Taylor Williams is Howland's career scoring leader and has a 3.8 grade point average. Howland's all-time leader in blocks, rebounds, and scoring, Taylor is an All-Ohio selection and represented the area in the North/South All-Star Game; however, her most impressive accomplishment may be this: she owns the second best career field goal percentage of any female player in state history, and she's started for four years. She is also a four-year letter winner for the soccer team, a member of Intercat Club, S.A.D.D., Spanish Club and Student Senate. Taylor will continue her career at Princeton.
Struthers' Jordan Sapp is a two-sport standout with a 4.0 grade point average. In postseason basketball, he scored nearly 14 points a game in helping the Cats to back-to-back District titles. Jordan is also a two-year letter winner with the baseball team. He is valedictorian, National Honor Society President, Student Council President, a member of Medical Careers Club, a soup kitchen volunteer, and has also volunteered for mission trips with his church. He will attend Purdue with the hopes to pursue a degree in the medical field.
Austintown Fitch's Jay Jakovina is a standout on the track and has made a renewed commitment to improve himself in the classroom, too. He has never won the outdoor title, but after a leap of six feet, ten inches he can call himself indoor state champ. Although the high jump is his strongest event, Jay is also a long jumper and 400 meter runner. Where he's made his biggest jump is in the classroom. Improved commitment since his freshman year has allowed him to post a 3.8 grade point average for his senior year.
Lakeview's Anthony Franco is a three-sport athlete; football, basketball and baseball. He has been a member of each varsity program for at least three years or more. Despite a wrist injury this year, Anthony set school football records this fall for career passing yards and touchdowns. He owns a total of 13 records on the football field. Anthony also holds a 3.9 grade point average.
Lindsay Swipas is a leader on the mound and in the classroom for the Champion Golden Flashes. Last spring she was a First Team All-Ohio Selection, helping lead the Flashes to a State championship. It was the fourth in school history. This year she's had a record setting performance recording 19 strikeouts in a seven-inning victory over Boardman, and they are, once again, headed to the State championships. Lindsay will finish her career with a pair of state records, including 22 straight wins her junior year. She is also a four-year letter winner in basketball. She is a member of marching band, Student Council, Key Club, Symphonic Band, National Honor Society, and Mahoning Valley Youth Leadership. She has a 3.9 grade point average and has served as class president and National Honor Society treasurer. Lindsay plans to attend Ohio State and pursue an accounting degree.
Liberty's Jared Wiesen is a four-year letter winner. As a senior, Jared's batting average was near .600. In the classroom, he posts impressive stats, as well, with a 3.9 grade point average. Beyond the numbers though, Jared is a member of Global Action Awareness, a group dedicated to providing support for those affected by natural disasters. He also lettered in soccer this year, and is also a member of National Honor Society and International Club.
Lowellville's Emily Carlson plays basketball, runs cross country and track, and participates in cheerleading and band. The Lowellville senior will finish her high school career as valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and 12 varsity letters in three different sports. A two-time State qualifier on the track, Carlson is an even better basketball player. She averaged 14 points a game her senior season and earned first team All-State honors. Emily is also vice president of her class. She is a cheerleader, member of the marching band, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, S.A.A.D, Youth Leadership Mahoning Valley, jazz band, and yearbook. Carlson will attend Ohio Northern University and pursue a degree in pharmacy.
Nick Russell is a three-sport standout for Springfield and has a 3.7 grade point average. At the plate, Nick batted a blistering 422, but on the mound, he's even better.
He throws very hard and on the football field, too, as the starting quarterback. On the basketball court, he helped the Tigers to their first District title since 2003. In the classroom, he has a 3.7 grade point average. Nick is a member of National Honor Society, French Club, Science Club, and Student Council. He plans to attend Youngstown State and study biology.
Erin Gabriel will finish with one of the best prep softball careers the state of Ohio has ever seen. She will finish her career at Poland with a career batting average of over .500 and averages 15 strikeouts per game. Erin is the two-time Ohio Gatorade softball player of the year. Her goal is to be an Olympian. As a sophomore, she was the youngest player on the Junior Women's National Team. This past winter, she went to Capetown South Africa and pitched as a member of the 18 and under USA World Championship team that won the gold medal. Erin is also a soccer standout earning Second Team All State honors. She has a 3.9 grade point average and has earned a full softball scholarship to Tennessee. She is a member of French Club, Science Club, and Leadership Club. She also volunteers through the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
West Branch's Rebekah Zets is an all-league performer in three different sports and is class valedictorian. She is an All-Conference performer on the track, but her list of accomplishments doesn't stop at the finish line. Rebekah was also an all-league standout on a basketball team that advanced to two straight district title games and was an honorable mention All-State selection. She's also a four-year letter winner with the soccer team. She posts a 4.0 grade point average and is a class officer. She is also a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as, a Freshman Focus Mentor and class tutor. Rebekah will play basketball at Mount Union while pursuing a career as a pre-physician assistant.
Dan Popio shines in two sports and in the classroom for the Boardman Spartans. On the football field, he's an all-conference performer finishing his career as the school's all-time leader in tackles. He's not just a good hitter on the gridiron. As a junior, Dan set the single-season record for batting average when he hit a blistering 537. He also sports a 3.6 grade point average. He is a member of Latin Club, the Orchestra, National Honor Society, and is an altar server for his church.
United's Ruth Prosko has recovered from two major knee injuries to letter in three different sports. She is a four-year letter winner in both track and basketball, and a three-year letter winner in volleyball. Ruth is also "lettering" in the class room as class valedictorian. She's received an appointment to the Air Force Academy and will report in late June.
Stay tuned to find out who will bring home the big honor of Student Athlete of the Year.
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