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Blue and Gold Banquet Recognizes Tribe Athletes
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent
2015-06-10

Outstanding Athlete Awards were given to Samantha Dingler, lacrosse and hockey, and Dustin Steffenino, wrestling.

        The 2015 Blue and Gold Banquet last week officially wrapped up Upper Perkiomen athletics for the year, honoring standouts and unsung heroes from the present and bringing back some of the glory days of the past.

        The awards ceremony began with two stellar field hockey players, Kate Scholl and Becky Hilgar, taking their places on the Wall of Fame.

        Scholl, a 2005 graduate, was a three-sport athlete at UP and went on to play for four years at the University of North Carolina, including on the undefeated 2007 NCAA Division I championship team. After her senior year, Kate was awarded the Marjorie Moses Schwab Unsung Hero Award.

        Since college, Scholl has devoted herself to coaching. She is an assistant hockey coach at Villanova University. In 2012, she led the X-Calibur Field Hockey Club to the National Indoor Tournament Championship.

        After being introduced by Clarence Jannelle, the Owen J. Roberts field hockey coach and Kate's coach at X-Calibur, Scholl spoke to the current Upper Perk athletes about overcoming setbacks and working hard, noting that, despite a great career at Upper Perk, she walked away from the 2005 Blue and Gold Banquet without any awards.

        Later she articulated what getting voted into the Wall of Fame meant to her: "It's a really great honor. It's a nice feeling to finally be recognized for my accomplishments."

        Kate also warned the students to be on guard against a sense of entitlement.

        "You have to work hard. If you want something, and you have a dream, you have to work for it, you have to earn it, it's not going to be handed to you, especially when you get to the college level and a Division I college level at that. You have that kind of attitude, it's going to get you nowhere."

        Scholl thanked her parents, Harvey and Debbie, for, among other things, allowing "me to make my own mistakes; it wasn't that mommy and daddy would come save me."

        Becky Hilgar joined her sister, Rachel, a 2001 graduate, on the Wall after playing her college hockey at James Madison University. Just as she did at Upper Perk, Hilgar proved to be the epitome of a student-athlete, earning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Commissioner's Academic Award, joining the JMU Athletic Director Scholar Athlete team and receiving National Academic Squad recognition.

        In her introduction, Vicki Thren, one of Becky's teachers at Upper Perk and a Wall of Fame member herself, lauded Hilgar for her toughness and tenacity.

        "Becky craves competition and challenges. When and if the situation would arise for someone to step up their game, Becky could be counted on. Becky wanted the ball. She never backed away from a challenge."

        Despite entering JMU with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, Hilgar switched gears in her senior year and decided to pursue a law degree. She recently graduated cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law and will work for an intellectual property firm in Manhattan where her science degree will aid her.

        Among the current crop of athletes the winners of the Outstanding Athlete Awards were Samantha Dingler and Dustin Steffenino.

        Dingler, who focused on lacrosse and hockey, thanked her coaches and noted the 2013 hockey season as a highlight.

        "My biggest memory is going to be junior year when we won Districts, PAC-10. That was a really great team, full of hard workers."

        Dingler was also the recipient of the Deborah Hodge Memorial Award.

        Steffenino was recognized for his exceptional wrestling career, including a third-place finish at states this year.

        Like many of the athletes, Steffenino praised his parents, Mike and Rita.

        "They were willing to drive me anywhere, pay for everything, summer camps, tournaments all the time, sometimes forcing me to go to those things, definitely pays off in the end."

Steffenino is looking forward to wrestling with his brother, Dante, at Shippensburg.

        The UP Sports Boosters, who along with the Green Lane-Marlborough Lions and Lioness clubs and the Upper Perkiomen Valley Lions Club sponsored another outstanding banquet, recognized Steffenino, as well as Brandon Umstead, with an award for outstanding career achievements.

        Umstead, who will be entering the Navy, was named the Male All-Around Athlete for his work in water polo and swimming. Brandon capped his swimming career with ninth- and tenth-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley, respectively, at states, team records in both events.

        Umstead lauded the swimming and water polo athletes as "awesome people. Part of it definitely goes to the teammates."

        Aubrey Gibbs was the Female All-Around Athlete. She participated in soccer, basketball and track. Gibbs was a captain on all three teams.

        "It's a great honor to be recognized for all my hard work and dedication to the sports, because they were, basically, my life," she said.

        Gibbs also received the Lori Moll Memorial Award.

        Athletic Director Steve Perlstein, who emceed the ceremonies, introduced senior athlete Trevor Weeks who closed by urging the underclassmen to "embrace these opportunities."


 

 

 

 

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