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Bellwood-Antis state championship team honored in Harrisburg

Fresh from winning the first state team championship in the history of the school, the Bellwood-Antis baseball team yesterday returned to the city where it defeated the Eastern challenger to be honored and recognized by the Pennsylvania state government.
Exactly two weeks after defeating Elk Lake 2-1 in the Class A final at Harrisburg’s Riverside Stadium, the team along with coaches, and members of the Bellwood-Antis administration and school board, journeyed to the state capital to accept the invitation of Lieutenant Governor Robert Jubelirer and State Representatives Jerry Stern and Larry Sather.
Members of the group included the team and coaches, Superintendent Rod Kuhns, Principal Mike Sakash, Assistant Principal Diane Williams, Athletic Director John Hayes and Assistant AD John Garritano and school board member Donna Tyler.
When the group arrived, the lieutenant governor was in conference, so the team waited in his office. The Lt. Governor and Rep. Stern then greeted the players and adults and explained the schedule for the remainder of the visit.
“Without question,” said Jubelirer in addressing the team, “we are all going to miss you guys. You have been an inspiration to many. With your coaches, parents, friends, families, not only has this been a team victory, but it has also been a huge victory for our entire area, for Antis Township, Northern Blair County, all of Blair County. I am really proud of what you have done.”
The next stops along the tour were to the Senate and Assembly chambers led by Stern and local Jubelirer aide Jim Gregory, with every stop along the way a picture extravaganza for the adults with cameras in the group.
“We are very proud of you,” said Rep. Stern. “We just can’t express how proud we all are of you for all you have done, not just for Blair County, but for all of Central Pennsylvania. You put us on the map. I had never heard of Elk Lake until you guys beat them. The athletic and scholastic talents of this group of young men are something to be very proud of. I would like to congratulate the school and parents and coaches as well.”
Both Jubelirer and Stern, along with fellow Representative Larry Sather, who had represented Bellwood before the most recent reapportionment, presented each team member with citations of merit.
In the Senate chambers, Jubelirer presented the citations issued by the Pennsylvania Senate.
“When you work hard and have great teamwork, you can be very successful,” said the Lt. Governor.
“If you would have sat back and waited, you would have gotten your butts kicked. You know what it takes to win. You can be a winner in life, just like you are a winner in sports. I have no doubt each of you has learned something from this. I have the greatest admiration and respect for all of you. As you move on, I hope that others behind you will look at you as great role models and continue the success you have had.”
The team and group enjoyed a picnic-style lunch in one of the Senate conference rooms, where Rep. Sather caught up with them, making his entrance by facetiously asking if this was the group from “Juniata Valley.”
“You are on a tour of this facility,” said Sather. “You and your parents and grandparents and so forth helped build this facility with your money. Relish this day and what it means to all of you, what you have accomplished as a team. Some of you are coming back. If there is anything that charges your batteries, for the next team, this is a reward.
“Take that with you as you prepare for next season. The seniors are leaving, it’s the juniors, sophomores and freshmen who are going to have to deliver next year and down the line. Bellwood-Antis has a high tradition and regard in athletics and academia. They go hand-in-hand. The example was set many years ago. You have to carry on that tradition. It’s a high goal to maintain, but I wish for you only the best.”
Following the luncheon, the group went on a guided tour of the Capitol.
The final event before boarding the bus for the return trip home, was to attend a session of the Senate and hear the team be recognized by Lt. Governor Jubelirer on the floor of the Senate as he read the citation into the record.
“It was wonderful,” said Bellwood-Antis head coach Steve Conlon during the group’s return to Bellwood. “It was a great experience for the kids to go down there and to hear the words they had for the team and school district and community.”