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Blue & Gold Honors Upper Perk Athletes
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2022-06-08

            Upper Perk's Blue & Gold banquet culminated with Luciana Carpenter and Nate Reinhart named as the All-Around Athletes, while Takoda Wells and Brady Thompson were honored as the Outstanding Athletes before close to 300 people last  week.

All-Around Athlete honors went to Nate Reinhart and Luciana Carpenter. Outstanding Athlete of the Year honors were awarded to Takoda Wells and Brady Thompson.

            Carpenter and Wells were four-year starters in the hockey program that captured the Pioneer Athletic Conference for three straight years, including 2021, and the two were named co-Most Valuable Players of the team this year. 

            "They were selfless teammates who played multiple positions and placed the good of the team above their own desires," said hockey coach Jamie Warren.

            Carpenter is headed to Louisville to play field hockey and major in sustainability.

            Wells, who will study criminology and play midfield on the hockey team at St. Joseph's University in the fall, credited her predecessors for her success.

            "The people who came before me pushed me to where I am today."   

            Warren was happy that hockey players Lynnsi Joyce (Joe Ricapito Memorial Award for promoting excellence in athletics; Pride of the Diamond for excellence and for donating back to youth softball) and Kylene Gooch (Ralph Engle Memorial Award for athletics, academics and character; softball MVP) were also recognized during the banquet.

            "They were also great athletes and dedicated players who made great contributions all four years to the success of the field hockey program as well as the softball program.  We need more multi-sport athletes," Warren wrote in an email.

            Carpenter agreed with her hockey coach's opinion.

           "I am proud to be seen as an all-around athlete rather than just a single sport athlete," she wrote in an email. "Being a multi-sport athlete gives you advantages on the field because you can use skills from one sport that you learn from another sport that can give you an advantage over an opponent."

            Football coach Tom Hontz lauded Thompson, who was named the PAC Defensive Player of the Year and UP's football MVP last fall. Thompson started for four years and was a captain as a junior and senior.

            "Brady has always worked extremely hard to constantly improve," Hontz wrote. "Weight room junkie,  joining the track team to improve his speed, studying film to find tendencies in his game and the opponents - these are all examples of why Brady is such a true student of the game and such a great leader and competitor."

            Reinhart was the baseball and golf teams' MVPs and the winner of the Kyheim Tripp Memorial Award which recognizes character, sportsmanship and dedication.

            "He was a hard-nosed, do-everything player," baseball coach Frank Mercon said of his captain. "He never missed, never took a practice off, had some nagging injuries last year and wouldn't come off the field."

            Other multiple award winners at the Blue & Gold, which was sponsored by the Sports Boosters, included basketball player Nick Aron (PAC Citizen Athlete Award; PAC Academic Award), football player and wrestler Thomas Fehnel (Jim "Chief" McFadden Award for being the "ultimate team player"; PAC Academic Awards in the fall and winter), soccer player and wrestler Matt Milkowich, (Valley Soccer Club Award; Terry Fetterman Award for character, sportsmanship and dedication), Donald Miller (cross-country and track MVPs; PAC Academic Awards in the fall and spring; Ralph Engle Award).

            In the female sports, multiple winners were Josephine Coddington (MVP track; spring PAC Citizen Athlete Award), Danielle Freer (MVP in softball; Reeder Athletic Award for "incredible heart, desire and dedication"),  Lilliana Goodrich (PAC Academic Awards in the fall and spring), Elizabeth Greczek (PAC Academic Awards in the fall and spring), Samantha Kozminski (fall PAC Academic Award; Valley Soccer Club Award), Ashley Kulp (PAC Academic Awards in the fall and winter), Darragh Martin (MVP in water polo and swimming),  Gabriella Neal (fall PAC Citizen Athlete Award; Lori Moll Award for integrity, sportsmanship and leadership).

            Basketball player Adam Shaak took the Champion Award, sponsored by the 1965 Bux-Mont champions boys basketball team for "hustle, cooperation, and determination."

            Matt Wanamaker and Lindsay Bieler also received Valley Soccer Club awards.

            The field hockey, water polo and softball teams were recognized for their participation in the state tournaments, as were Brandon Rozanski (wrestling) and Thomas Flud (track and field).

            Joyce gave the closing remarks and described her participation in Upper Perk athletics as an "incredible experience".

            "The lessons we have learned together, both on and off the field, will help us be more successful in the future," Joyce said.

            The senior also gave a shoutout to unified bocce, an inclusive, co-ed sport that brings students with intellectual disabilities together on the same team with students without those disabilities.

            "We are one of the only schools in the PAC to have unified bocce, and I'm very proud to have been part of the program," Joyce told the gathering.

            Calling this year's Blue & Gold a "banquet" is something of a misnomer. In the past the event included a meal, followed by the awards presentations, in the gym.

            There was no meal this year and the presentations took place in the auditorium.

            "I am not sure what the format will be going forward," said athletic director Robert Kurzweg. "I have received a lot of positive comments from students, parents and coaches, but we are going to review the night and see how we want to move forward."

            There were no Wall of Fame nominations this year.


 

 

 

 

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