Salisbury Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

Via banquet shines again in Bethlehem

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 by Peter Car in Sports

The message at last week’s Via All-Star Basketball Hall of Fame Banquet stretched from the obstacles that former Nazareth football and basketball player Chuck Dibilio had to endure following a stroke his freshman year at Princeton, to the passionate words that came from Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame wide receiver, Michael Irvin, on becoming a champion.

The two messages intertwined each other at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, because nobody becomes a champion without obstacles, and obstacles are always in the way of champions.

The capacity crowd took in the words from Dibilio, who saw a promising football career at Princeton evaporate his freshman year as he battled for eight months relearning all of his reading and speaking skills.

Irvin, a three-time Super Bowl champion, then took the stage by command, resonating on growing up in a poor household of 17 siblings and making it to the top of football glory.

It was a night to remember for all involved, as Deanna Rayum (Freedom) and Darnell Braswell (Allen) were both inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame, along with legendary coach Ron Hassler (Catasauqua, Whitehall and Central Catholic) along with prized journalist, Jack McCallum (Sports Illustrated).

Southern Lehigh’s Jacob Cassel and Stroudsburg’s Natalie McLaren were both recipients of $2,000 scholarships, while Parkland’s Kyle Stout and Palisades Karlee Krchnavi were named as Via Players of the Year.

Joining Stout on the Via’s Team of the Year was teammate Devante Cross, Jeff Cooper (Wilson), Mike Martino (Bangor), Zay Jennings (Central Catholic) and Kweku Dawson-Amoah (Bethlehem Catholic).

The girls team featured two Liberty stars in Maddie Capuano and Kaylin West, as well as Nadine Ewald (Parkland), Sydney Cyr (Southern Lehigh), Erika Thomas (Northwestern).