QCHS celebrates 11 athletes set to play in college

The seniors, who announced their college selections, were praised by their coaches for leadership and character.
Posted on 03/05/2021
Eleven seniors stand on the stage following the College Recognition Ceremony.By Gary Weckselblatt

The Quakertown Community High School athletic department celebrated 11 senior student-athletes who will be taking their talents to the collegiate level this fall.

The students are Justin Butler (baseball), Lehigh University; Domenic DeFalco (wrestling), Campbell University; Kayla Hillaert (lacrosse), Shippensburg University; Trevor Hurst (baseball), Chestnut Hill College; Tyler Merwarth (football), University of Albany; Gianna Monastra (soccer), Ave Maria University; Tessa O’Donnell (lacrosse), Arcadia University; Cori Pursel (soccer), Moravian College; Jack Qualteria (baseball), University of Valley Forge; Natalie Reilly (soccer), Moravian College; Anthony Rostick (baseball), Cabrini College.

The students were lauded by their coaches not only for their athletic prowess but more so for their leadership and character. While each of them had their seasons impacted by COVID-19, baseball and lacrosse players lost their entire junior campaigns because of the pandemic.

“They have found a way to overcome, adapt and succeed,” said Sylvia Kalazs, the high school’s Coordinator of Student Activities and Athletics. She told the group of students, “You have overcome as individuals and as a team. You have done an awesome job and Quakertown is very proud of you.”

Anthony Rostick spoke of “the memories we didn’t get to make.”

Girls soccer Coach Mike Koch said “It’s difficult to become a college athlete any year. You guys have persevered and earned it.”

Traditionally, this event was held in the school’s Media Center with parents, relatives, students and media invited to watch. The pandemic prevented that gathering this year and the event was held in the QPAC with everyone wearing a mask and social distancing. The ceremony was taped and can be viewed on the QCSDTVNews Youtube channel by clicking here.

Each coach - George Banas, Kurt Handel, Tracy Hibsman, Mike Koch, Jonathan Pallone - spoke about the students they coached.

Two of the students are among the most decorated in Panther history. Tyler Merwarth, a two-way starter on the football team, was a six-time all-league selection, including four first-team selections, Coach Banas said.

Domenic DeFalco is only the third Panther to qualify for the state wrestling tournament all four years. He’s fourth all-time in Panther wins with 130 and pins with 71. Coach Handel called him a “generational wrestler.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].
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