It was only fitting that the Pigskin Club of Washington, Inc celebrate its 80 anniversary by honoring an NCAA national champion.
The Georgetown University men’s soccer team was the highlight of an exciting event at the 80th Awards Banquet at the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center on the campus of Catholic University.
Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese guided the Hoyas to their first-ever NCAA championship.
“When we started out this process, we did not do very well,” Wiese said during the Feb. 28 event. “There were probably people who questioned whether Georgetown made the right decision. But there is something to be said about patience. That’s what makes this award by the Pigskin Club very special to our program. We are very humbled.”
Hoyas All-American Dylan Nealis was also honored but was unable to make it since he was selected third overall in the recent Major League Soccer draft and will be playing professionally.
The Pigskin Club was formed in 1938 in an effort to honor high school and college athletes, coaches and community service leaders. In recent years, the organization has added spring sports in a separate banquet and an academic component for athletes displaying outstanding achievement in the classroom.
The festivities included honoring the 2019 All-Met football team that boasted players who have signed with such programs as national champion LSU, Ohio State, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Michigan State and Virginia Tech.
Several were cited for their academic prowess and will be attending Harvard and Yale.
On the collegiate side, the Howard University women’s volleyball team was named the Metropolitan collegiate team of the year with head coach Shaun Kupferberg and senior Kira Porter receiving special awards for their leadership and contribution to that success.
“We are very grateful to the Pigskin Club for this honor,” said Kupferberg, who has led the Bison to five straight MEAC titles while having 52 of his athletes named to the all-academic team.
In other areas, quarterback Amanda Congialdi was named Divas offensive player of the year and defensive back Kucheria Johnson Eades was honored as defensive player of the year. Sierra Martinez was named Under Armour Female Boxer of the Year, Jordan Roach, the junior boxer of the year and Jahmal Harvey the youth boxer of the year.
Deputy Chief Willie Bailey was awarded the Community Person of the Year.
There was also a special tribute to those who died during the past year: former Hall of Famer Willie Wood. former DeMatha head basketball coach Morgan Wootten, former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, former Howard University standout and high school All-American James Ratiff and Ahkii Washington-Scruggs, a student-athlete at Dunbar High School who was fatally shot prior to the 2019 season.
“He was an outstanding young man who was shot and killed along with his father,” said Dunbar head coach Anthony Vaughn, who led his team to the 2019 DCIAA championship. “We dedicated our season to his memory so the Pigskins Club paying this tribute to him means a lot to his family.”
The remaining honorees:
Lauren Gerold, Good Counsel High School
Girls Hockey Player of the Year
Kelly Massino, Good Counsel High School
Field Hockey Coach of the Year
Anna Young, Good Counsel High School; Kale’a Perry, Bishop McNamara High School
Girls Soccer Co-Players of the Year
Jim Bruno, Gonzaga High School
Girls Soccer Coach of the Year
Ryan Elie of Gonzaga High School
Boys Soccer Player of the Year
Scott Waller of Gonzaga High School
Boys Soccer Coach of the Year
Sydney Reed of Flint Hill High School
Girls Volleyball Player of the Year
Carrol DeNure of Flint Hill High School
Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year
Darrell Davis of Oxon Hill Boxing Club
Boxing Coach of the Year
Darren My. Haynes, sports director/sports anchor for WUSA9 served as the master of ceremonies.