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Haigh, Mallon honored by Hall

Blair County Sports Hall of Fame

Mirror photo by Michael Boytim Reliance Bank Senior Vice President Chris Kirwin presents the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame scholarship plaques to Bellwood-Antis’ Zach Mallon and Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic’s Teresa Haigh on Wednesday.

As recent Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic graduate Teresa Haigh accepted her $2,000 scholarship award from the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame and Reliance Bank in a ceremony at The Casino at Lakemont Park on Wednesday, she referenced reinforcing her love of the game of basketball through the work she does with young children.

Haigh, who will play college basketball at Seton Hill this winter, was honored during the 34th annual presentation of the scholarships along with male winner Zachary Mallon, a Bellwood-Antis graduate who will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall.

There’s a chance Haigh has already been working with a future winner of the scholarship.

“I work with a lot of little girls in the area and help them train and work out, and they just remind me of why I love the game so much,” Haigh said. “Academically, I just really want to thank Bishop Guilfoyle for the opportunities they have given me. I am entering Seton Hill with a ton of credits because of the opportunity BG has given me.”

Haigh herself said she’s looked up to several of the previous winners which include former Lady Marauders Angela Greaser, Mary Forr, Rachel Rea, Alli Williams and one of the assistant coaches from her PIAA Class 1A state championship team, Christine Conrad, this past season.

“Some of those athletes on this list are ones I have looked up to growing up,” Haigh said. “To be on the list with them is surreal and a huge honor.”

Mallon, a three-sport star with the Blue Devils, joins former B-A boys stars Brian Krug, Bradley Wertz, Jeremy Guyer, Jason Shura, Matt Garner, Brian Leap, Seth Worthing and Chad Luensmann as a recipient of the scholarship.

“Some of those people on that list have accomplished amazing things,” Mallon said. “There are people on there that have almost been to the Olympics. It’s really an honor to be recognized with them.”

Reliance Bank, the sponsor of the scholarship program for the Hall of Fame, has presented the scholarships annually since 1988 and has now awarded a total of $122,000.

“Reliance Bank is honored to once again present the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame scholarships to two deserving individuals — Teresa Haigh and Zachary Mallon,” Reliance Bank Senior Vice President Chris Kirwin said. “Teresa and Zachary’s hard work, dedication and determination has led them to their success. For the past 33 years, these scholarships have been awarded to student-athletes in Blair County to individuals who have left and outstanding impression academically, athletically and in their communities. Reliance Bank looks forward to continuing our support of this very worthwhile endeavor.”

The 2020 scholarship award winners, Bellwood-Antis graduate Alli Campbell and Altoona graduate Adam Port, were also recognized at the event due to last year’s ceremony not being held in person. Campbell (Penn State) and Port (Lafayette) are already on campus and were unable to attend.

“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,” Blair County Hall of Fame President Neil Rudel said. “We especially would like to thank Chris Kirwin and Reliance Bank for their generosity.”

Haigh led Bishop Guilfoyle to the PIAA Class 1A girls basketball championship this season and was named the PIAA 1A Player of the Year in addition to being selected as the Altoona Mirror’s Female Athlete of the Year. She scored more than 1,000 points for the Lady Marauders and also had 500 kills as a member of the volleyball team where she was a first-team Mirror all star.

Academically, Haigh is a member of the National Honor Society, graduated third in her class and received the President’s Education Award.

“This is a huge honor, and I’m so thankful for having the best support system around,” Haigh said. “I’m super excited to go to Seton Hill, get back on the court and it’s starting to feel more real. I’ve been to Seton Hill for workouts, and I have talked with coaches. Everyone is very welcoming. I’m excited to continue my career and see where everything takes me.”

Mallon won 10 letters at Bellwood-Antis and was selected to the Pennsylvania Football Writers 2A All-State football team. He led the Mirror’s coverage area in rushing and scoring last season, was a two-time Inter-County Conference all star in basketball and qualified for the PIAA Class 2A track meet in the long jump.

In the classroom, Mallon has already been accepted into the honors program at Pittsburgh and posted the highest SAT score (1470) in his class at Bellwood-Antis.

“To be recognized at a county-level is amazing,” Mallon said. “You don’t really think about it until after it happens, but it’s an honor to be selected.”

Mallon is hoping to eventually be part of the Panthers’ football program.

“For the fall, they aren’t doing walk-ons, but in the spring, I’ll be trying out,” Mallon said. “I’d love to play football, and I’m not sure about playing club sports for (basketball and track and field).”

Both Haigh and Mallon are hoping next year’s award winners have a smoother road to the banquet than the 2021 class, which had to deal with the coronavirus pandemic throughout the school year.

“This year was a lot different than past seasons,” Mallon said. “I always saw how seniors handled their last year, but not knowing whether you will actually have a season made everything so different. I hope everything returns to normal next year.”

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