PUNXSUTAWNEY — The votes have been counted and recounted, and your voices have been heard. The 2011 Spirit Spring Sports MVPs are Ashley Barenchik and Jordan Mesoraco.
The Spirit received a record-breaking number of votes in comparison to the number received for the fall and winter competitions.
Eight-hundred and forty-two votes were recorded for the female MVP voting, and 922 were recorded for the male voting.
Barenchik won the female portion in a landslide, receiving 458 votes, 54 percent of the overall total, from Spirit readers.
"I'm glad that I was recognized like this," Barenchik said. "I'm really glad that people came out to watch us and recognized how committed each of us was to the team."
Barenchik realized that she had tough competition in Milea Schall, Shawnna Crago and Nickita Martz and was honored and surprised to be selected the MVP.
"I know Shawnna," she said. "It was pretty tough competing with her, because she's really good at almost everything, and she wins just about everything she does. I was pretty surprised that i won over her. I don't even know how I won it."
Schall finished second on the female tally chart with 197 votes.
Mesoraco received 291 votes and edged out his teammate, Tyler Skerkavich, by just 19 votes. Mesoraco was just as surprised as Barenchik when he was informed that he won the honor.
"Skerkavich had a really good season again this year," he said. "He was head and shoulders above the rest. He played great at first base, and we could always rely on him in tough situations. I didn't get to see all of the other guys play all that much, but I know they're good athletes and I expected a close race."
Jordan said that the MVP honor was his first such honor, aside from being selected to All-Star teams, and mentioned that this honor was a bit different, as it was an individual honor.
Both athletes said they were not surprised that the other had been selected.
"Our games were usually up against each other," Mesoraco said, "but from what I heard, Ashley definitely deserves it."
Barenchik said that she had been awarded the rookie of the year recognition for the high school team, and was named the MVP of a tournament she played in in Hempfield.
"That MVP was selected by the other team's players," she said. "This is a little different, because all the people in the community voted. I really appreciate everyone voting for me like this."
Since both athletes graduated this year, this was their final opportunity to receive a high school award such as this, but both are hopeful that this award won't be the last they earn on the field.
Barenchik plans to attend Clarion University in the fall to study medical imaging, a program that combines X-ray technician training with ultrasound training, but she also plans to play softball for the university, as well.
She will have to try out for the team, but she feels confident about her chances, because Clarion's coach has talked to her and even came to see her play this year.
Likewise, Mesoraco will be attending college in the fall. He will attend IUP to study business, and he also plans to try out for the baseball team.