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Pierz Bulldogs shortstop Peter Schommer prepares to field a ball deep in the hole between second and third in a Region 8C elimination game against Avon, Sunday, Aug. 4.  

Albeit in an unusual fashion, two Pierz athletes were awarded Pioneer Athlete of the Year at the virtual banquet hosted by Pierz Healy High School, Wednesday, May 6.

Peter Schommer was named Male Athlete of the Year, and Jayden Smieja was Female Athlete of the Year. Both seniors were three-sport athletes for the Pioneers.

Schommer was the quarterback on the state champion Pioneers football team, a guard on the boys basketball team and a pitcher/infielder on the baseball team.

“I am very honored to be selected as the Pierz Athlete of the Year,” Schommer said. “There are so many great athletes in my class that could have also been chosen for this award.”

Smieja was an outside hitter on the volleyball team, on both the varsity jazz and high kick dance teams and a sprinter/jumper on the track and field team.

“This award makes me feel like I have successfully been a role model to my peers in all my sports,” Smieja said. “My goal was to show passion and love for all I do, and winning this award proves that hard work pays off.”

Both are quick to say that the hard work wouldn’t have paid off without the support of others.

“I play football, basketball and baseball which are all team sports. I have to give my teammates a lot of the credit for helping me,” Schommer said. “Without the offensive line blocking on the football field or players setting good screens on the basketball court I wouldn’t have had nearly as much success as I did.”

Smieja also credited teammates and coaches for her success.

“I am very thankful and lucky to have grown in my sports career with the teammates and coaches I have had in all three sports,” Smieja said. “The Pierz athletic program has made me the person I am today and I am grateful for them.”

Schommer said his favorite part about being a Pioneer was what he was able to learn.

“My favorite part about being a Pioneer student athlete is all of the lessons my coaches have taught me. They always stressed at the beginning of the season to play the game hard and play it the right way. Don’t talk back to your opponents or anything disrespectful,” Schommer said. “I know that every coach wants to win but my coaches always told us that their most important goal was to make us better people. I know that they made me a better person and that will take me far in life.”

Smieja said that the friendships she made meant the most.

“My favorite part of being a student athlete would be the bonding with teammates from every grade. Getting a good bond with everyone made sports so fun and unforgettable,” Smieja said.

Perhaps most of all, both agreed that the community of Pierz led to a unique and rewarding experience as an athlete.

“I would like to thank everyone in the community for always supporting Pioneer athletics,” Schommer said. “When the stands are packed with loud fans it makes it so much more exciting for us to play and I know all of my teammates would agree with that.”

Smieja took it one strep further.

“The Pierz athletic program wouldn’t be the way it is without our amazing community supporting us throughout it all,” she said. “I give thanks to everyone for supporting and congratulating me throughout my career even when you barely knew me.”

Also at the Pierz Awards Night, six other athletes were awarded as three-sport athletes for the Pioneers: Cody Kimman (football, basketball, baseball); Mariah Olesch (volleyball, basketball, track); Amaya Rocheleau (volleyball, basketball, softball); Brandon Stuckmayer (football, basketball, baseball); Zach Traut (football, basketball, track) and Mason Zajac (football, wrestling, track).

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