By Alyssa Trybus
Basketball star Karson Swogger of Bellwood-Antis High School and football standout Andrew Irwin of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School were recognized as the 2017 Blair County Sports Hall of Fame scholarship awards at The Casino at Lakemont on Tuesday, May 30.
Each received a plaque from the Hall of Fame and a $2,000 check from Reliance Bank, the Hall of Fame’s scholarship program partner.
“It’s such an honor, especially with all the great athletes around this area,” Swogger said. “To be selected means a lot.”
Bound for Saint Francis University, Swogger broke the all-time Blair County scoring record, for girls or boys, by pouring in 2,520 points during her four-year career.
The previous record was set by Claysburg-Kimmel’s Lacey Claar (2,187 points) in 2007.
Swogger, the Mirror’s 2017 Female Athlete of the Year and its two-time Player of the Year, credited her coaches, mentioning Lady Devil coach Jim Swaney and AAU mentors Doug West and Anita Moore Jennings.
She also thanked her parents for their support and transportation and her late “Pap” — grandfather John Swogger, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame for his coaching prowess in 2006.
“He always told me to follow through,” she said, showing her shooting motion.
Swogger ranked No. 3 in Bellwood Antis’ graduating class of 105 with a 4.1 grade-point average. She also served as B-A’s senior class president and president of Bellwood’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
She won a total of eight letters at B-A, participating in soccer and track & field as well.
Like Swogger, Irwin also has deep roots with the Hall of Fame as his great-grandfather (Tom Sr.), grandfather (Tom II) and great uncle (Mike Irwin) are all past inductees.
Andrew Irwin led BG to a third straight PIAA Class A football championship as the team’s top rusher and tackler.
He is bound for Harvard to play football but said he will miss Friday nights at Mansion Park.
“The community feel to high school sports makes us athletes feel a part of something much bigger than just ourselves,” Irwin said.
He, too, expressed gratitude for the relationships he developed with teammates and coaches, and for the lessons learned through sports that apply to his life.
Irwin earned second-team All-America honors as well as first-team and all-area recognition. He ranked 19th out of his class of 89 and has a grade-point average of 3.8.
After the presentations, Denny Doll of Reliance Bank said of the recipients, “I think our future is in good hands.”