Ryan Miller was a three-sport star at Bentworth whose senior track & field season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
Winning a new car on Saturday took away some of the sting of that loss.
Miller was the grand prize winner of a new 2019 Nissan Versa SV at the Herald-Standard Elite Scholar-Athlete event sponsored and hosted by Tri-Star Nissan in Uniontown.
He’s the second consecutive Bentworth scholar-athlete to win the annual automobile giveaway following Justin Kisner last year.
There were 46 Elite Scholar-Athletes invited to the event as each school in the Herald-Standard coverage area selected one boy and girl from those who were named scholar-athletes through the fall, winter and spring seasons of the 2019-20 school year.
Included in that group were 10 Greene County graduates, and two were randomly chosen as one of the six finalists — three boys and three girls — to win the Nissan Versa that Miller wound up taking home.
Waynesburg Central’s Peyton Foringer had the second number drawn and West Greene’s Kylie Simms had the fourth number drawn, right before Miller, in a random drawing to determine the six finalists for the grand prize.
The other finalists for the Nissan Versa were Joshua Maher of Connellsville, Mitchell Pohlot of Belle Vernon and Gionna Quarzo of Brownsville.
Each chose a key and it was Miller’s which turned over the engine signalling him as the grand prize winner.
Foringer and Simms did each take home a new television which was one of the perks of being chosen as a finalist for the car giveaway.
Various other prizes were given away by drawing to those scholar-athletes in attendance.
Foringer, the daughter of Brad and Jennifer Foringer, was one of Waynesburg’s fall sports scholar-athletes. She played volleyball for the Lady Raiders and was named first team all-section.
Simms, the daughter of Amy and West Greene athletic director and softball coach Bill Simms, was one of West Greene’s fall sports scholar-athletes as a volleyball player. She also was on track to be a four-year letterman in softball for the four-time defending WPIAL champion Lady Pioneers in the spring, although her senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simms also lettered in cheerleading and basketball.
Also representing their schools as 2019-20 Elite Scholar-Athletes from Greene County were Dylan Wilson and Kylie Sinn of Carmichaels, Elijah Saesan and Caitlyn Dugan of Jefferson-Morgan, Charles Lash and Kailey Stover of Mapletown, Avery McConville of Waynesburg Central, and Benjamin Jackson of West Greene.
Other Elite Scholar-Athletes were Jackson Miller and Madison Hershberger of Albert Gallatin, Sydney Baciak of Belle Vernon, Paige Marshalek of Bentworth, Todd Fisher and Hannah Harhai of Beth-Center, Nicholas Seto of Brownsville, Colton Lusk and Britney Bevan of California, Jonah Ruschak and Kaitlin Wagner of Charleroi, Callie Cunningham of Connellsville, Patrick Minda and Ashlee Toth of Elizabeth Forward, Ryan Balentine and Isabella Kudyba of Frazier, Isaiah Krizner and Lauren Tomasko of Geibel Catholic, Nate Zimcosky and Kaia Zungri of Laurel Highlands, Cameron Frolo and Milana Sacco of Monessen, Jacob Johnson and Heather Gardner of Mount Pleasant, Frank Lowstetter and Kylee Pry of Ringgold, Riley Comforti and Sarah Pisula of Southmoreland, Logan Maust and Mya Murray of Uniontown, and Cody Ulander and Justine Appolonia of Yough.
Miller, the 18-year-old son of Sean and Kim Miller, was a distance runner for the Bearcats whose specialty was the 3,200. He was set to become a four-year letterman.
“It was pretty hard missing the track season because I was thinking if I do better this year it might lead to me running in college,” said Miller, who will attend Muskingum University in Ohio to major in criminal justice. “I was disappointed because the last part of my senior year was spent mostly at home. We all missed out on a lot of things.
“But being able to come here today, to get chosen for this by my school and then get a chance at the car and then actually win it ... wow. That’s a good ending. This means a lot to me.”
Miller, who also was a four-year letterman in soccer and a two-year starter in basketball, was asked how winning a car compares to scoring a big goal or winning a race.
“It feels a lot better actually,” Miller said with a laugh. “I’ve been trying to save up for a car so this helped a lot. I have two older sisters, Kirsten (21) and Kelly (24), who both graduated from college. They just bought new cars, so I can rub it in a little bit.”
Miller was about to take ownership of his sister Kelly’s older car, according to his dad.
“She just bought a new car and Ryan was going to buy her old car off of her,” said Sean Miller. “I guess he’s not going to do that now.
“This is a great event. I want to thank everyone involved. We really appreciate it.”
Herald-Standard Publisher Michael Scott was the master of ceremonies of the event.
“It’s been a pleasure for myself and those at the paper and all of our readers to have read about you all year long and your accomplishments both in school and on the track, on the field, on the court, wherever it may have been,” Scott said in addressing the crowd. “You’re the future. You’re the people that are learning what teamwork is all about, you’re the ones who are learning what an education is all about, and how you mix the two of them and how important that is when we go forward.
“Thanks to all of you for the efforts that you put into your four years at school.”
Tri-Star Auto Group Vice President Greg Turchetta also addressed the crowd.
“We are so excited to join up with the Herald-Standard this year for this opportunity to help these student-athletes,” Turchetta said. “Only one person will leave here with a new car, but all of you, what an exceptional year you had this year.”
Hugo’s Restaurant catered the event and Fayette Rentals provided tents. Other sponsors were Seven Springs, NobleClad, Abby’s Gold & Gems, Yum Yum’s Bagel Cafe & Bakery, Sullivan Brothers Coffee Company, and WMBS.
Past automobile winners in the Herald-Standard Scholar-Athlete program were Charles Manack, Frazier (2014); Brennan Bunner, Southmoreland (2015); Hannah Lacey, Beth-Center (2016); Sam Miceli, Charleroi (2017); Megan Walker, Carmichaels (2018); and Kisner (2019).
Walker is the only Greene County scholar-athlete to win the grand prize in the seven years of the automobile giveaway.