Shaler Area inducts 7 new Hall of Fame members


Class of 2021 Shaler Area Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: John Balouris, Eric Mozzetti, Bri Schwartz, Carlos Reisen, Dave Sibenac, and Ryan Mincher. Not pictured: Annie Bozzo.

This past weekend, Shaler Area School District inducted six former student athletes and one former coach into the Shaler Area Athletic Hall of Fame for the Class of 2021.

Three-time WPIAL champion Brianna Schwartz, three-sport athlete Ryan Mincher, and four-year volleyball player and captain Annie Bozzo headline a class featuring six athletes that continued their high school athletic careers into college and a WPIAL-champion head coach.

The class was enshrined on October 8 after being featured before the varsity football game, and were celebrated the next day during a ceremony at the Shaler Area High School auditorium.

The complete list of inductees features John Balouris, Annie Bozzo, Ryan Mincher, Eric Mozzetti, Carlos Reisen, Brianna Schwartz, and David Sibenac.

Schwartz was a member of Shaler Area’s cross country and track and field teams, and was a three-time WPIAL cross country champion, PIAA state cross country champion, and two-time PIAA state champion in the 1600m event.

“I am honored to be inducted into the Shaler Hall of Fame,” Schwartz said. “Shaler athletics has a history of amazing athletes and coaches, so it is special for me to be named among them. I remember walking through the hallway that displays the Hall of Fame photos and thinking highly of those athletes. I hope that hallway gives encouragement to young athletes at Shaler so that they can be there one day, too.”

During her senior year, Schwartz won her third consecutive WPIAL cross country championship by breaking her own record by 27 seconds. A week later, she won her first PIAA championship by running the second fastest time ever set by a female on that course. Subsequently, Schwartz has become known as one of the best female runners in Pennsylvania state history, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dubbing her as “arguably the best distance runner in WPIAL history”.

“[The Post-Gazette quote] means that my times and championships from high school put me in great company,” Schwartz said. “My coaches did an amazing job at gradually building up my training each year. The motivation to actually dedicate myself to this training came from a combination of spiritual and mental strength. I know that any ability I had to train was a gift from God, and so that motivated me to be grateful for it.”

Shaler athletics has a history of amazing athletes and coaches, so it is special for me to be named among them. I remember walking through the hallway that displays the Hall of Fame photos and thinking highly of those athletes. I hope that hallway gives encouragement to young athletes at Shaler so that they can be there one day, too.

— Brianna Schwartz

Ryan Mincher won ten varsity letters in high school after being what is rarely seen today: a three-sport athlete. Mincher was the starting quarterback on the football team, the starting point guard on the basketball team, and starting shortstop on the baseball team where he still holds the record for all-time batting average for Shaler Area baseball (.516).

Mincher went to the University of Pennsylvania to continue playing baseball, and it was there that he became a captain of the baseball team.

Annie Bozzo, now a teacher at Shaler Area Elementary School, enters the Hall after being a four-year captain and starter of Shaler’s volleyball team. Bozzo was a two-time All-WPIAL athlete and two-time All-State athlete, and continued playing volleyball at Syracuse University as a setter.

John Balouris was inducted after competing in track and cross country, becoming a WPIAL and PIAA qualifier. Balouris continued his athletic career at St. Francis University, where he was named a captain of the cross country and track teams. It was there that he was able to take some lessons he learned while at Shaler Area.

“Some of my closest friends were my older teammates at Shaler,” Balouris said. “They taught me how to be a leader without necessarily being a vocal one. Leading by example, which in turn makes your teammates better. I took those principles when I became captain of my track and cross country teams at Saint Francis.”

The only non-athlete being enriched this year is Eric Mozzetti, a coach of the girls basketball team who led the Lady Titans to two section championships and a WPIAL championship in 2011. In his final year as coach, 2010-2011, he was named WPIAL Coach of the Year.

Carlos Reisen, who competed in track and field while at Shaler, becoming a WPIAL champion in the low hurdles. He continued competing at the University of Pittsburgh where he was a three-year letterman and in 2013 was named the Pitt Varsity Club Awardee of Distinction, an honor that he said pales in comparison to being inducted into Shaler’s Hall of Fame.

“[Being inducted] means more to me than having been named a Pitt Varsity Letterman of Distinction because high school was a formative experience and I could not have been successful in college without an impactful high school experience,” Reisen said. “Shaler was my genesis for later life. My life became one of always achieving excellence in whatever I did, and failure was just a momentary diversion.”

Outside of his accomplishments, one of Reisen’s best memories is meeting arguably the greatest track and field athlete of all time.

“I shook hands with Jesse Owens, and that was inspirational,” Reisen said. “I ran the hurdles against David Hemery from Great Britain in the IC4A championship as a sophomore at Pitt, and lost, but he went on to win the 400 meters hurdles event in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. That was influential!”

Finally, David Sibenac will be one of the newest members of the Shaler Area Athletic Hall of Fame after being another three-sport athlete, this time in football, baseball, and wrestling. He won the MVP in both football and baseball in the same year (2003), and continued playing baseball after high school at California University of Pennsylvania.

The Shaler Area School District Hall of Fame was created in 2000, and inductees can consist of teams, individual athletes, coaches, administrators or teachers, and contributors to or supporters of the community. According to a district statement, the Hall was made to “recognize those individuals who have brought prestige and pride to the Shaler Area School District athletic program and to our community either as a player, coach, administrator, or supporter.”