Two local student-athletes are being recognized as the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame’s 2023 scholarship recipients.
Lydia Worthing of Bellwood-Antis High School and Jeff Hoenstine were each presented with a $2,000 check during a luncheon Wednesday at The Blairmont Club.
Reliance Bank sponsors the scholarship program for the Hall of Fame, which has presented scholarships annually since 1988 and has now awarded a total of $130,000. Scott Cox of Reliance handled the presentation.
Worthing was a three-sport standout at Bellwood, starring in basketball, volleyball and track & field. She is a two-time District 6 pole vault champion and finished eighth in the state as a junior. She earned four letters in volleyball and was an all-state selection. As a basketball player, she was an Altoona Mirror first-team all-star who helped lead B-A to the state semifinals as a junior. In May, she was recognized as the Mirror’s 2023 Female Athlete of the Year. Worthing thanked her support system.
“Throughout the years, I’ve had some truly amazing people in my life who helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “They’ve done nothing but encourage me in what seemed like a never-ending schedule.”
Academically, she has a grade-point average of 96.4, scored 1230 on her SAT and ranked in the top third of her class. Outside of sports, she is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society. Worthing is planning to continue her academic and athletic career at Bloomsburg University, where she’s planning to participate in volleyball and track. She is the daughter of Adam and Randi Worthing.
Hoenstine left his mark not only on Central High School but in the Pennsylvania record books. He owns the state record for most career touchdown passes (146) and in a single season (57 in 2021). In total, he threw for more than 10,000 yards, which ranks third all-time in Pennsylvania history, and completed 67 percent of his passes over his four-year career. He was named the Class 3A Pennsylvania player of the year as a junior and senior and was named Pennsylvania’s Mr. Football for the 2022 season. He also helped the Dragons win the 2022 PIAA baseball championship as a junior shortstop and was the Mirror’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2022. Hoenstine also expressed gratitude.
“My sophomore year I broke my leg, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to play sports again, let alone to the level I reached,” he said. “I’m grateful to be able to get back to peak performance and grateful for the people who helped me.”
Hoenstine ranks third in his graduating class of 140 and has a 4.0 grade-point average along with an SAT score of 1180. He is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Honor Society. Hoenstine volunteers at the Martinsburg VFW, Morrisons Cove Memorial Park, Spring Cove Little League and Saint Matthews Lutheran Church. He will continue his athletic and academic career at Saint Francis, where he plans to play football. Hoenstine is the son of A.J. and Jane Hoenstine.
The scholarship committee consists of Cory Tubo, Jim Lane, Brian Irwin, Terry Lingenfelter, Chris Kirwin, Susan Fries and Hall of Fame president Neil Rudel.
Rudel thanked Reliance Bank for its generosity and shared vision with the HOF scholarship program and Brian Irwin for his coordination of the committee.
“We continue to be impressed by the quality of outstanding student-athletes Blair County is producing — on the courts and fields, in the classroom and contributing community service,” he said. “We’d like to think it’s one of the more prestigious scholarships to win, especially for the athletes.”
The Hall of Fame will hold its next induction banquet on April 13, 2024 at the Blair County Convention Center.
To learn more about the Hall of Fame, you can visit its Facebook page.