Gateway Class of 2005
During his athletic career at Gateway, Conor proved to be one of the most versatile athletes to ever perform for the Gators. By his sophomore year, Conor was a starter and letter winner in three sports requiring vastly different skill sets – football, swimming, and volleyball. He had already earned four varsity letters by the time he concluded his sophomore year at Gateway.
Conor’s athletic abilities became evident from the time he began playing organized sports. Conor and his sister, Hayley, always played at least two, and sometimes three, sports per season. It was not unusual to see Conor playing midget football, little league baseball, traveling team baseball, Fall Ball (baseball), spring soccer, fall soccer, indoor soccer, basketball, summer swimming, and winter swimming — all within a twelve-month period.
Through the Gator midget football program, Conor played mostly quarterback, some wide receiver, and did all the kicking off and punting. He then split time between quarterback and wide receiver on Gateway’s 9th grade team, and still did the punting and kicking off. He was at his best on defense, however, where he had eight interceptions as a cornerback in his last year of midget football and then had another seven interceptions on Gateway’s 9th grade team.
While Conor was a good football player, he excelled in swimming, becoming the No. 1 butterflier on the team as a freshman and qualifying for the PIAA state championships by the time he was a sophomore. He then decided to forego football to concentrate on swimming. Somewhat to his parents’ relief, that ended the late-summer, early-morning, 5,000-meter swim practices followed by (sometimes two-a-day) football practices later in the day.
In swimming, Conor was to become a two-time WPIAL champion, school record holder in two events, and earn All-American status. In college, Conor was a multiple event conference champion every year, broke the conference record in the 200 yard butterfly and 500 yard freestyle, and earned All American status.
As a volleyball player, Conor was a natural setter, but because of a lack of height on the team, started for three years as an outside hitter despite being only 5’11”. In each of his last two years, he was the only player to never come out of the game throughout the rotation, as he was equally adept at both setting and spiking the ball.
Conor was also an outstanding student at both Gateway and Westminster College. Conor’s various athletic and academic achievements are listed below.
GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS
• Alternated between quarterback and wide receiver on 9th grade football team that finished with an 8 – 1 record. Had seven interceptions playing cornerback. (Also played some running back and did all kicking off and punting.)
• Won “Varsity athlete of week” award after passing for a touchdown, catching a touchdown, and intercepting two passes (including a two-point conversion attempt on last play of game) in a 13 – 12 victory for Gateway’s 9th grade team over Central Catholic’s 9th grade team.
• No. 1 butterflier on varsity swim team as a freshman.
• Qualified for WPIAL championships in five individual events as a freshman.
• Top – 10 finisher in four events at WPIAL championships as a freshman.
• Named Most Valuable Freshman Swimmer.
• Varsity Letter winner.
• Starter on JV team.
• Also a member of varsity, saw extensive varsity action.
• Starting wide receiver on team that made play-offs.
• Letter winner (2nd varsity letter).
• Qualified for WPIAL championships in six individual events – also swam on three relays at WPIAL championships.
• Qualified for PIAA championships in 100 yard butterfly.
• Named Most Valuable Sophomore Swimmer.
• Letter winner (3rd varsity letter).
• Started at outside hitter.
• Letter winner (4th varsity letter)
• Became the only Gateway boy swimmer, other than Mel Nash in 1972, to qualify for WPIAL championships in every individual event (eight total events).
• Qualified for PIAA Championships in the 200 medley relay, the 200 freestyle relay, and the 100 yard butterfly.
• Broke Mel Nash’s 32 year old high school record in the 100 yard butterfly (broke record at WPIAL Championships; broke the record again at PIAA Championships).
• Anchored Gateway’s 200 freestyle relay that won the WPIAL championship.
• 200 freestyle relay qualified for All-American status.
• Named Most Valuable Junior Swimmer
• Letter winner (5th varsity letter)
• First junior year winner of the “Melanie Morgan Award,” awarded by the coaches to a swimmer with outstanding leadership qualities.
• Starting outside hitter.
• Letter winner (6th varsity letter)
• Only player to never come out of a game – was on court for every play, every game.
• Voted “Most Athletic” in the Gateway Class of 2005.
• Earned his eighth (8th) varsity letter.
• Was awarded the “Telios Award” by Fox Sports radio station, awarded to a high school senior who best combines athletic achievement, academic excellence, and community service. Former Steelers Craig Wolfley and Tunch Ilkin of Fox Sports came to Gateway to make a surprise, live, on-the-air presentation of the Award to Conor.
• First and only Gateway swimmer ever to qualify for WPIAL championships in every individual event two years.
• Swam butterfly leg of 200 medley relay at WPIAL championships that finished 2nd and set new Gateway High School record.
• Again anchored Gateway’s 200 freestyle relay team that defended its WPIAL championship.
• WPIAL runner-up in the 200 yard individual medley (not his best event).
• Qualified for PIAA Championships in all four events he swam at WPIALs – the 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, and 200 medley relay.
• Awarded “Mel Nash” award for most outstanding senior swimmer.
• Letter winner (7th varsity letter)
• Starting outside hitter third year in a row
• For second year in a row, was the only player to never come out of the game – was on court throughout the rotation for every play of every game the entire year.
• Letter winner (8th varsity letter).
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS:
• Turned down some D-I and D-II scholarship offers to accept a partial academic scholarship to Westminster College.
• At Westminster, was a four-year letter winner on the swim team.
• Captain of the swim team in both his junior and senior years.
• Made first-team All Conference in multiple events every year.
• Made All Conference Academic team every year.
• Was Conference champion in multiple events every year.
• Qualified for NCAA national championships.
• Named NCAA D-III All American.
• Named to all CSCAA National All-Academic team.
• Named CoSIDA academic All-District team.
• Also named an Academic All District by ESPN, The Magazine.
• Won “Rookie of the Year” as a freshman, given to the most outstanding Westminster College freshman athlete in any sport.
• Named Most Valuable Swimmer in Senior year.
• Awarded outstanding athletic achievement by a Westminster College athlete in any sport in the 2008 – 2009 year for winning two individual conference championships and setting conference records in both events (the 500 yard freestyle and 200 yard butterfly).
• Elected president of Westminster College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
• Elected president of President’s Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
• Selected by the NCAA as one of 79 student-athletes across the country to serve on the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
• Named by the NCAA to be one of its three student-athlete advisors to the United States Olympic Committee. (Tim Tebow was one of the other two.)
• In 2014, was named to the President’s Athletic Conference 60-year anniversary All-Time Swimming Team.
Gateway High School:
• Highest Honor Roll every semester in high school.
• 3.98 cumulative GPA.
• Inducted into National Honor Society.
• Winner of Fox Sports Telios Award (see above).
• Political Science Major, History Minor, Secondary Education Certificate.
• Dean’s List every semester.
• 3.92 cumulative GPA.
• Inducted into Mortar Board (very exclusive – recognizes scholarship, service, leadership and participation in campus activities).
• Member and then Financial Officer of Student Government.
• Inducted into Pi Sigma Pi – honorary fraternity for superior students.
• Recipient of Vance Scholarship – academic scholarship over four years for achieving at least a 3.8 GPA in college prep classes in high school and scoring over 1300 on college SAT’s.
• Recipient of Janet E. Hopkins Scholarship to outstanding student preparing for career in secondary teaching.
• All-Conference Academic Team every year. (See above.)
• CSCAA and CoSIDA All-Academic teams. (See above.)
After college, and before entering the corporate world, Conor was the head swimming coach at Moon High School for three years, where he was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, head coach of a varsity sport at a Quad-A school in the WPIAL. In his brief coaching stint, he had one swimmer become a state champion.
When asked about his induction into Gateway’s Sports Hall of Fame, Conor stated that he would like to thank all of the coaches he had throughout his athletic career who devoted their time and effort to Gateway sports. Specifically, he would like to thank swim coaches Herm DeMao, Larry Petrillo, Jason Kunkle, and Sherill Martin for always pushing him to be better and challenging him each and every swim practice. He further stated, “Above all, I would like to thank my family: My parents, Craig and Nadine, who were always supportive, encouraging, and willing to sacrifice every weeknight, weekend, and many holidays to be at just about every sporting event you can think of, my younger sister, Hayley, for being willing to keep playing one-on-one at home with me in numerous sports, despite being two years younger than me and losing 99% of the time, and my wife, Carrie, for her constant support.”
Like his fellow inductee, Justin King, Conor is the third member of his family to be inducted into Gateway’s Sports Hall of Fame, following his Uncle Ken and his father, Craig. Conor and his wife, Carrie (also an outstanding former Gateway athlete), live in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with their son Kieran, age 3, and daughter, Waverly, age 1.
Conor’s high school athletic achievements reflect that his induction into Gateway’s Sports Hall of Fame is certainly well-deserved. Congratulations, Conor!