Bellefonte’s Kyle Myers and Catharine Besch closed their high school careers with some hardware.
Myers and Besch were recognized Wednesday as Snyder Award winners at Bellefonte’s Senior Awards Night, singled out among Red Raider seniors for their contributions on the mat, in net and outside the confines of sport.
“It’s a huge award at our school,” Besch said. “I’m very grateful to win it with Kyle. He’s a great athlete, as well. And I appreciate how the community views my contributions to Bellefonte.”
Added Myers: “It’s an honor to achieve this award, to be recognized for what I’ve done academically and athletically, and to be a part of this, to be with Catharine in this.”
The James H. Snyder Awards are given in memory of Snyder, a former CDT sports editor who was killed in an automobile crash in December of 1957. The awards have become an annual county staple celebrating the community’s young leaders, a pair of seniors from each of the six county schools who embrace academics, athletics and community service.
And Myers and Besch are deserving choices, starting with their athletic credentials. Myers is set to wrestle at West Virginia, while Besch is slated to play goalkeeper on Juniata’s soccer team.
Myers — a two-time District 6 wrestling champion — was also named all-conference in football twice and competed on the track & field team. But his biggest achievement? Eclipsing 100 career wins in wrestling, which he did against Clearfield on Feb. 5 at home.
“To get better each year and make wrestling a big part of my life and hitting that milestone, it set me apart,” the senior added. “Each year was successful to get me to my 100 wins, and my coaches pushed me to get there.”
For Besch, her greatest athletic feat was recording 150 saves in her senior year alone. The Lady Red Raiders reached the District 6 finals in 2018 thanks in large part to the one-year starter’s shot-stopping prowess in goal.
Besch showed out in the classroom, as well. The senior, who plans to study bioinformatics, finished 10th in her class among 206 students and excelled in college courses while still in high school, provided through the University of Pittsburgh and St. Francis University. Myers was right behind Besch in the class rankings, finishing 19th. Both were members of the National Honors Society.
Besch was the president of the Spanish Honor Society and the secretary of concert band, playing the flute and saxophone and taking part in the jazz and marching bands. She also served as the girls’ basketball manager. Outside of Bellefonte, Besch was secretary of the Walker Township 4-H Club.
“I’m thankful for all the opportunities I had at Bellefonte and all the clubs I got to be a leader of,” Besch added. “It was so beneficial.”
Myers, meanwhile, captained the football team three times and wrestling team twice. Before eventually pursuing a master’s degree in hospital administration, the future Mountaineer intends to study organizational leadership at West Virginia, which should come natural to him. Myers said no matter what he’s “always tried to help others and pursue that leadership role.”
It’s that kind of approach that’s guided both Myers and Besch to this point — ready to leave high school behind and embark on their collegiate careers.
Besch believes that Myers is going to do “great things” at West Virginia. Myers said of the goalkeeper: “Whatever she chooses to do, she’ll be successful.”
The Snyder Award winners believe in themselves, too. And they have every reason to.
“Bellefonte has taught me so much in and out of school,” Besch said. “The academic rigor I put myself through prepared me for college. And the extracurriculars and community events I participated in have taught me how to be a better person.”
Added Myers: “My teachers and my parents, especially my mom, have pushed me and made me the person I am today. I can’t thank them enough.”