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Ravens Nest gives four scholarships

June 02, 2012|By BRETT NIEVES | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — The Tri-State Ravens Nest 12 held its 13th annual Player of the Year Banquet on Saturday evening, recognizing five individuals, including two area athletes and Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta.

Greencastle-Antrim’s Nathan Hykes and South Hagerstown’s John Kitchen were given the Nest’s two Tri-State Area High School Scholarship awards in honor of their work both on and off the football field.

“I’m excited to be recognized for football and what I do in the classroom,” said Hykes, who will continue his education and football career at Delaware Valley College this fall.

Hykes, who was a captain for Greencastle last year, tried for the scholarship because it was offered to football players ... and because he’s a Ravens fan.

Kitchen, who will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania, shared a similar excitement about his achievement.

“I’m honored. This is a huge honor,” Kitchen said. “I was looking for scholarships to apply for and this was a good opportunity for me and my parents.”

Boonsboro’s Mikaela Wesmiller and Grace Vaughn, of Boiling Springs (Pa.) High School, were awarded the Ravens Nest’s True Grit Scholarships.

The Ravens Nest presented Pitta with its Player of the Year honor.

The tight end joined Bart Scott, Kelly Gregg, Derrick Mason and Haloti Ngata as recipients of the award. Ngata was the last to receive the honor for the 2009 season. No honor was handed out for 2010 due to the NFL lockout.

“I’m humble, grateful and excited to be a part of the Ravens Nest,” Pitta said. “They do a tremendous job and the kids work really hard to earn their scholarships.”

Pitta used the event as a diversion to get away from the Ravens’ organized team activities.

“We’ve been going for a few weeks now with OTAs, so it’s nice to get away from Owings Mills for a little bit,” he said.

Pitta, a 2010 fourth-round draft pick out of Brigham Young, saw limited action his rookie season at tight end but put together a solid 2011 campaign, catching 40 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns. He said he’s willing whatever it takes to get the Ravens past last season’s 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

“I’m going to do all I can to help — catch passes, block for the running game — whatever the coaches ask, I’ll do,” said Pitta. “It’s exciting to have an offseason to work with Joe (Flacco) after not having one last year.”

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