The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce
its 2016 High School Awards in the following categories:
Big School Male Athlete of the Year: Devante Cross, Parkland High School, football, basketball, and track. Devante was a three year starter and four year letter winner at Parkland in football as a quarterback, defensive back, receiver and punter. He won four PIAA District XI football titles and three league championships during his four years in Orefield, where he accumulated 5,466 yards and 57 touchdowns passing, 2,888 yards and 26 touchdowns rushing, and 61 yards receiving for a total of 8,415 yards from scrimmage. He took the team to the PIAA state quarterfinals twice and the Championship game in 2015. He played his final two games on one leg due to an injury sustained in the quarterfinal. He engineered a 17-point comeback through the air to get to within three points of the eventual PIAA Class 4A Champion Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He was named All-League, All-Area, and All-State, in addition to various other honors. In basketball, he was equally impressive. He was a four year letter-winner for the Trojans and a four-time PIAA District XI Class 4A Boys’ Basketball Champion. He averaged just under 12 points per game during his junior and senior seasons, both of which were shortened due to his football team’s extended season in advancing through the playoffs and as a result of injuries sustained playing football. Devante led his 2015-2016 team to the PIAA state quarterfinals, losing a close game to eventual champ Roman Catholic. He controlled the tempo at both ends of the court with teammate Kenny Yeboah out due to foul trouble. He was named All-League and All-Area in basketball. In his third sport, track and field, Devante was also a four year letter winner. He competed in the high jump and long jump and ran the 100, 200, 400, 4×100 and 4×400 relays. To put it simply, he did whatever he was asked to do to help his team win. To quote Parkland High School Athletic Director Rich Geisel, “Devante is simply the most competitive male multi-sport athlete to graduate from Parkland High School.” Devante will be attending The University of Virginia on a football scholarship in the fall after previously committing to Boston College.
Big School Female Athlete of the Year: Siena Salvaggio, Parkland High School, volleyball and swimming and diving. Siena is perhaps best known as a swimmer. She won four PIAA Individual gold medals in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle and silver as a sophomore. She was a four-year letter winner and a member of three conference championship teams and four District XI championship teams. And she was also named the Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year for Girls’ Swimming and Diving. But Siena was also a four time conference champion, three time District XI champion, and two time state champion and two-time All-State selection in girls’ volleyball for the Lady Trojans. She was also named the Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year for Girls’ Volleyball. To quote Parkland Athletic Director Jeff Geisel, “Siena Salvaggio is the most decorated high school athlete in the history of Parkland High School.” Sienna will be continuing her education at Penn State University on a swimming scholarship.
Big School Male Scholar Athlete of the Year: Jake Jakobsen, Stroudsburg High School, wrestling and football. Jake won the PIAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championship at 195 pounds as a senior, becoming the first state wrestling champion in school history, after finishing second in 2015. He finished his senior season with a record of 37-1, after a 37-2 junior season, and ended his high school career with 146 wins, the most in Monroe County wrestling history. Along the way, he won league and district titles and All-America honors in Freestyle wrestling in 2014. He was the District XI AAA Wrestling Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2015-2016. He was also the quarterback on the Mounties varsity football team and set various school records for passing. He will be attending Lehigh University in the fall on a wrestling scholarship.
Big School Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Katie Bacher, Emmaus High School, cross country and track and field. Katie excelled in both cross country and track and field for the Hornets, winning many medals along the way, including a bronze medal as a member of the 800 meter relay team at the PIAA State Track & Field Championships in 2016. In April, Katie was named the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year in Girls’ Track & Field. She was the will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she will continue her running career.
Small School Male Athlete of the Year (tie):
Joe Espinal, Wilson Area High School, cross country and track and field. Joe participated in both cross country and track for the Warriors for four years and took home the gold medal in cross country in the fall and in track in the 800 and mile run in the Colonial League Track and Field Championships, took gold again in the 800 meters in the District XI Track & Field Championships, and placed first again in the 800 meters at the PIAA State Track & Field Championships. In the process, Joe became Wilson’s first District XI Cross Country champion in the fall and owns the Colonial League records in the 800 and 1600 meter runs. Joe will be attending Lehigh University in the fall on an athletic scholarship for both cross country and track.
Spencer Hay, Palmerton High School, was a Colonial League All Star Basketball Team Second Team selection as a senior, a 1000 point scorer during his career, and also a star on the Bombers’ track and field team, where this year, he won the PIAA Class 2A high jump title, breaking his father’s 42-year old school record in the process. He will be attending Penn State – Berks, where he plans to continue his track career at Penn State University.
Small School Female Athlete of the Year: Hannah Edwards, Catasauqua High School, excelled in both field hockey and softball for the Roughies, and was a Colonial League all star in both sports. After two years of playing both sports, she concentrated on softball during her junior and senior seasons, and during her last two seasons, she broke six state records (single season and career for hits, stolen bases, and runs scored) while being named the Colonial League All-Star First Team four years in a row, The Morning Call All-Area Rookie of the Year as Freshman and First Team four years in a row, The Morning Call All-Area Player of the Year and the PIAA Class 2A Softball Player of the Year in back to back seasons in 2015 and 2016 while also being named to 12 All-America teams during her four years as a varsity softball player. Hannah will be attending the University of Pittsburgh on a full athletic scholarship for softball, which is rare for a position player.
Small School Male Scholar Athlete of the Year: Chad Cooperman, Salisbury High School, basketball and baseball. Chad was a first team Colonial League All Star Team first team selection as a pitcher and selected to the Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup Baseball team each of the past two seasons. He also was a very good basketball player for the Falcons, where he was a terrific defender and three-point shooter. He was also an excellent student, a member of the National Honor Society, and the Salisbury Booster Club Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Chad will be attending Bloomsburg University, where he will continue his baseball career.
Small School Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Hannah Edwards, Catasauqua High School, field hockey and softball. In addition to being perhaps the best softball position player ever in the Lehigh Valley, Hannah was also a standout in the classroom. She was the valedictorian of her class, a member of the National Honor Society, and the winner of various academic awards. She will be attending the University of Pittsburgh on a full athletic scholarship for softball. Hannah is the first time double winner in the history of the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame. See her athletic accomplishments above.
The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization formed to recognize athletes who excelled while playing one or more sports in the Lehigh Valley while promoting youth sports. The group recently reorganized, with co-founder and Executive Director Joe Zemba, co-founder Don Zangl, and President Bill Poretta all stepping down after many years of service and a new Board of Directors elected. The new board consists of Chairman: Ed White; Vice Chairman: Joe Mayer; Secretary: TBD; Treasurer: Ron Spinner; other board members: Angel Cruz, Ishky Fatzinger, Bill Reese, Denton Lakatosh, Red Fetherman, and Bob Shoemaker. For further information about the organization, please contact Chairman Ed White, whose contact information is listed above and below.
The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame also recognizes former high school, college, amateur, semi-pro, and professional athletes who excelled while playing one or more sports in the Lehigh Valley for consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame. This year’s Hall of Fame class – which will be announced next month – will be inducted at our annual banquet on Saturday, October 15, at the Northampton Community Center; more details on that event will be released in July. For information on tickets or to advertise in the banquet program, please contact LVSHOF Chairman Ed White.
Presentation Information: The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame will be recognizing eight outstanding high school multi-sport athletes at a picnic on Sunday, July 10, from 1-4 pm at Dansbury Park in East Stroudsburg, PA. Admission is free; just bring a main dish, side dish, salad, or dessert for yourself and 1-3 other people to attend. Please join us in recognizing these outstanding high school student athletes. For more information, please contact LVSHOF Chairman Ed White at 610-739-3414.
Information provided by: Ed White
Chairman, Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame