Sunday November 19, 2023 | 11:01 a.m.
Quaker Valley athletics were all the rage at the 14th annual WPIAL Sportsmanship Summit held Nov. 8 at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Sports Museum of Western Pennsylvania.
More than 400 student-athletes from schools across western Pennsylvania gathered at the event, presented by the Wilson Group and the WPIAL Sportsmanship Committee.
From Quaker Valleyseniors Zach Djedid (football, basketball, track and field), Katelyn Clark (volleyball), Bennett Haas (soccer), Madison Chapman (basketball), Gavin Fallgren (baseball) and Taylor Cupelli (lacrosse) were in attendance and were chaperoned by Mike Mastroianni. and Christina Johns of the QV Sports Office.
“I liked the event,” Djedid said. “I think it was a good learning experience. I thought it was cool that former athletes and coaches were talking about the importance of respect and good sportsmanship. I learned a lot from it.
“My favorite part was when one of the speakers talked about how he would treat the garbage man. He always greeted them and showed them his gratitude for what they were doing. In return, they would always take his trash in the right way and treat his trash with respect.
Djedid, 17, is a 6-0, 195-pound three-sport athlete. He was a three-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines for the QV football team and was a captain and starting center this season.
Football is his favorite sport and he hopes to continue his career on the field at a Division III college, where he will major in cybersecurity.
Djedid said the biggest influence in his athletic career has been his brother Abe, 19, a Quaker Valley graduate who was a four-year starter as a lineman on the football team.
“My older brother has always been faster and stronger than me and a better athlete,” Djedid said, “and I strive to one day catch up to him, or even let him pass.”
Clark, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter on the section-winning QV girls volleyball team, was a first-team all-section selection and a WPIAL 2A third-team all-star this season.
“I really enjoyed the event and would absolutely do it again,” Clark said. “I think all the speakers did an incredible job and everything they said was very motivating and eye-opening for many of us student-athletes.
“What I liked best was the last speaker. He was simply incredible. Going up there without a script and just telling us about our experience was really impressive.
Clark, 17, was a three-year starter for the Quakers. She plans to major in chemistry in college.
“I’m currently applying to about 10 schools, mostly on the East Coast,” Clark said.
Athletically, Clark focused solely on her high school volleyball career.
“My biggest influence in terms of volleyball would have to be Jordan Thompson,” she said. “I know she’s on the right side and I’m on the middle, but she’s always been my favorite.”
Thompson, 6-4, played collegiate volleyball at Cincinnati from 2015 to 2019 and won gold with the U.S. national team at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
At the WPIAL Summit, speakers discussed topics related to the importance of sportsmanship in athletics, and the league recognized the winners of the 2022-2023 WPIAL Sportsmanship Award presented by the Wilson Group.
Students also heard from the WPIAL Equity Council for Diversity & Inclusion and toured the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Attendees were encouraged to identify “Game Changers” during their visit and share them on social media.
Djedid identified his Game Changer as “Leaving your impact on the field by being a good sport and being respectful to the other team.” »
Guest speakers at the event included:
• Dan Cardone, retired athletic director of Northern Hills High school
• Alaina Ferry, marketing manager at First National Bank
• Brian Gulish, vice president of marketing and communications for the Community Food Bank of Greater Pittsburgh
• Ron Iduko, associate director of the Center on Race & Social Problems at the University of Pittsburgh
• Anne Madarasz, director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center
• Captain Nicholas P. Palermo, United States Marines
• Scott Seltzer, WPIAL executive director
• Gene Steratore, rules analyst for CBS Sports and retired NFL and NCAA basketball official
• Derrick Wilson, President and CEO of the Wilson Group
• Freeport High School Student-Athlete Advisory Council
• Members of the WPIAL Equity Council for Diversity and Inclusion
Keywords: Quaker Valley