PITTSBURGH (February 8, 2013)… Today at Chatham University’s 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) celebration, Penn-Trafford senior Julie Hartz received the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award in the high school senior category.
The Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award is named in honor of a former Chatham athletic director who dedicated 34 years to achieving greater awareness and recognition of women’s collegiate athletics. Each year, Chatham gives this award as a celebration of the accomplishments of regional female high school and college student athletes who make positive contributions in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the community.
Andrew Stockey, WTAE-TV evening news anchor and sports director, served as Master of Ceremonies. Patty Paytas, senior vice president of community and public affairs for the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as the executive director of Pirates Charities, gave the keynote speech, which focused on challenges women face as professionals in the sports industry.
Hartz, captain of the Penn-Trafford swim team, maintains a 4.49 GPA and is currently ranked first in her class. Nominated by Athletic Director Kerry Hetrick, Hartz abides by the Water Warrior’s team motto both inside and outside of the swimming pool: “Becoming the best team that we can be, continuously pursuing excellence.”
With a grueling practice schedule, Hartz makes it her mission to keep her teammates going through constant encouragement. She believes hard work matters more than the numbers on the scoreboard.
In the classroom, she has a knack for chemistry and has been chosen to attend the Chemistry Olympics competition at the University of Pittsburgh two consecutive years, and was selected to participate in the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Mathematics competition last year. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Club, and was honored with the status of AP Scholar through Advanced Placement testing.
Hartz has served as an altar server and cross bearer for three years at her church, St. Barbara’s, and has helped in the kitchen at Vacation Bible School. She has also volunteered to work at the Penn-Trafford Triathlon for three years, supporting athletes of all ages in her community. And last year, she coached the Special Olympics Allegheny Bulldogs swim team – teaching them how to swim each stroke and how to dive.
Today’s other winners of the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award include Kirsten McMichael, a sophomore at Ringgold High School who runs cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field; Jordan Busshaus, a junior at Hampton High School who is on the basketball and dance teams; Angela Heintz, a senior at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School who plays volleyball and basketball; and Rachel Blonski, a senior softball player at Carlow University.
Chatham also honored Jennifer McMichael, who coaches cross-country and indoor and outdoor track field at Ringgold High School, with the Outstanding Coach Award. Coach McMichael is the mother of today’s sophomore awardee – making this the first mother-daughter duo to be honored at the annual event. All winners are selected by an honorary committee.
NGWSD began in 1987 in commemoration of Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women’s sports. Hyman died of Marfan Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.
About Chatham University
Chatham University, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region. With enrollment of more than 2,300 students and consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and co-educational graduate and online programs, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, health and lab sciences, creative and liberal arts, and business and entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.
For more information, call 412-365-1139 or visit www.chatham.edu.
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