By Josh Langenbacher
Three of Blair County’s most outstanding student-athletes were honored Thursday by receiving a scholarship from the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame during a luncheon at the Park Hills Country Club.
The recipients — Emily Claar of Claysburg-Kimmel High School, Riley D’Angelo of Bellwood-Antis High School and Nathaniel Fisher of Hollidaysburg Area High School — will each receive a check for $2,000 courtesy of Reliance Bank, which sponsors the Hall’s scholarship program.
“Reliance Bank is always proud to support great local students and great local athletes,” Reliance president Denny Doll said.”The 2019 recipients represent the best of both.”
The trio honored Thursday excelled athletically and academically, and all three recipients are active in the community.
Fisher, who played football, wrestled and participated in rugby at Hollidaysburg, ranks fifth in his graduating class. His score of 1550 on his SAT included a perfect score of 800 in math.
“Throughout high school, it has been difficult,” said Fisher, who was Hollidaysburg’s outstanding Latin student for three years and a national qualifier in the Chemistry Olympiad. “There have been late nights getting home from events, but I’ve still had schoolwork to do. But I made it through.”
Claar earned 11 letters at C-K, participating in softball, basketball and volleyball. A 1,500-point scorer on the hardwood and all-state softball player, Claar ranks first in her class, serves as her class president and is a three-year drum major in the marching band.
“I’ve done some research on the other scholarship winners,” Claar said, “and one thing I’ve seen is all these winners have been people I’ve admired throughout my high school career.”
D’Angelo, meanwhile, started all four years for the two-time defending Class 2A champions and scored 1,000 points for the Lady Blue Devils. She holds the Tyrone Area High School career scoring record with 77 goals — B-A has a co-op with Tyrone in soccer — and competes in track and field.
D’Angelo is Bellwood’s valedictorian, was awarded Bellwood’s Citizen of the Year Student award and raises money for the Four Diamonds Charity, which supports fighting pediatric cancer.
“Certainly there have been nights where I’ve had to choose between friends and practice, or sleep or studying,” D’Angelo said. “I wouldn’t take any of it back. I realize how lucky I was to be able to make those choices in the first place.”
The luncheon was attended by 50, including the recipients’ families, school administrators and Hall of Fame board members and supporters.
“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 — and that’s especially true this year,” said Neil Rudel, the Hall of Fame’s president and a member of the scholarship committee. “This is only the third time in the 32-year history of the program that we’ve recognized more than one girl and one boy. But the scholarship committee felt strongly that our two female selections were equally deserving.”
The Hall of Fame is currently in the process of evaluating individual and team candidates for its next induction, which is scheduled for the spring of 2020.