Saturday, June 22, 2013

Boys athlete of the year finalists

The Observer-Reporter will unveil its Athlete of the Year on Sunday, July 7, and here's a look at who will be among the group considered.

I'm told last year was a tough choice. Hard to imagine this is any easier. There will be much debate within our staff throughout the next few days and weeks, as all of these athletes are deserving.

Don't be afraid to comment below and let me know what you think.

Also scroll down further for a list of past winners:


Zach Challingsworth, South Fayette, football/basketball
Pitt recruit had 106 catches for 1,894 yards and 24 touchdowns the past two seasons combined. Was a big part of South Fayette’s hoops team, though his scoring average dipped a touch this past season while he battled an early-season sports hernia.

Brian Fisher, California, basketball/baseball
Surpassed 1,000 points in basketball while helping lead California to a section title. Became an elite pitcher in the spring, racking up a 10-3 record with a 2.20 earned-run average and 62 strikeouts for the only area baseball team to reach the state playoffs.

Brandon Lawless, Carmichaels, football/basketball/baseball
Averaged 21.0 points per game for the Mikes’ basketball team. Was the baseball team’s ace at 7-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 46 innings. This past season, Lawless completed 32 of 66 passes for 504 yards and four touchdowns. Ran for an additional three scores.

Shai McKenzie, Washington, football/track and field
Everybody knows about McKenzie’s football ability: 2,689 yards, 41 touchdowns, 11.6 yards per carry and 37.4 yards per touchdown. But he was also dominant in track. Won a pair of WPIAL Class AA track and field titles, helping the 4x100 relay and taking gold in the shot put.

Connor Schram, Canon-McMillan, wrestling
Schram ended his high school career the way he started it: by winning a PIAA Class AAA title, this one with a 5-3 defeat of Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer to close the year at 44-3. Another key cog in Canon-McMillan's statewide, team dominance.

Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston, football/wrestling
State runner-up in Class AA while wrestling at 195 pounds. Set the school record with 154 victories. In football, the tenacious Vulcano finished his career with 444 tackles, including 130 this past season. Was Defensive MVP in tough Black Hills Conference.

Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan, wrestling
Pitt recruit won a third state title this winter. Finished with a career record of 167-5. Of those five losses, four came against Travis McKillop of Burrell. Never lost a bout in the PIAA Team Tournament.

Josh Wise, Washington, football/basketball/track and field
Two-way standout in football, accounting for 13 touchdowns as the Prexies’ quarterback. The Observer-Reporter’s Player of the Year in hoops averaged 21.9 points per game. Two-time defending champion in WPIAL Class AA high jump.

Previous winners

2000 – Michael Sutton, Washington
2001 – Lanfer Simpson, Waynesburg
2002 – Dan Mozes, Washington
2003 – Colby Giles, Carmichaels
2004 – Coleman Scott, Waynesburg
2005 – Jeff Weiss, McGuffey
2006 – Robert Heller, Ringgold
2007 – Andrew Sweat, Trinity
2008 – Dan Conley, Burgettstown
2009 – Nick Wilcox, Peters Township
2010 – Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
2011 – Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
2012 – Dustin Fuller, Washington

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