Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 1-19-17)

SuburbanOneSports.com recognizes a male and female featured athlete each week. The awards, sponsored by Univest, are given to seniors of good character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete (Week of Jan. 19, 2017)

The three children of Donna and the late John Armstrong have a lot in common. They were each introduced to athletics via swimming – before paddling off in different directions to find their passions in other sports. Colt Armstrong, 21, now does Olympic lifting. Cordell, 19, plays lacrosse for Hartwick College. Which brings us to the No. 3 – Souderton senior Crystal Armstrong, who views her brothers as her role models, adding she gets her drive from them. “We’re an athletic family,” she explained, adding that mom played volleyball at Penn State and the father she never knew – as he passed away when she was a toddler – was a body builder. “Growing up, our first sport was swimming.” It was not, however an instant love affair with the water.

She landed a spot on the high school team at Souderton, but Armstrong is an individualist bound to find her passions. For what she said were a multitude of reasons, her passion for swimming was lost. She soon found her home in a related sport, water polo, but a mid-season injury to her right shoulder – the one she needed to snap off throws to the opposing goal as a forward – prompted a dramatic position change that altered her athletic path for the best. Armstrong became a goalie. “I like the fact that you get to be the eyes of the team,” she said. “As a goalie, I can move my eyes and communicate with the rest of the team. I like being the backbone of the team.”

A veteran of the Junior Olympics, Armstrong mastered the art of goaltending so much that she finished this past season – one highlighted by the first win in a long time over rival North Penn – as a first team all-league and second team all-state selection. Armstrong was the captain and backbone of the fifth-place team in the state. “She is hardworking, dedicated to her team in and out of the water, always looking to make her teammates better, very coachable and just has a passion for the sport,” coach Monica Stiles said. The next stop in Armstrong’s odyssey will be at McKendree University, a small liberal arts college in Lebanon, Illinois. She will be getting in on the ground floor of a program that is in the process of upgrading from the club level to Division II.

Armstrong, who maintains a 4.0 GPA, works at a local restaurant most of the year. When she looked at the price of a gym membership and compared it to the state-of-the-art gym at Souderton, her wheels turned toward a logical conclusion. She approached Joe Hay, who runs the water polo program at Souderton, with an idea. “I asked him if I could start a lifting club,” she said. “At first it was just me and him, two days a week.” The club now has 15 or 16 members. “Not only is she an awesome athlete, but she runs her own lifting club at school as well as keeps a 4.0 GPA,” Stiles said. “She makes me very proud and will be a player to remember.” Armstrong plans to major in psychology with her sights set on a career in law.

To read Armstrong’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/crystal-armstrong-0067524

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Jan. 19, 2017)

Matt Beck is hardly your typical wrestler. When the Springfield senior opted to go out for the school’s team last year, his experience consisted of attending a few practices as an eighth grader and wrestling in one jayvee match. So why go out for such a grueling sport as a junior? Beck explains. “Up until eighth grade, baseball was my main sport, but I didn’t have the skill set,” he said. “It was more just for fun. Freshman year I didn’t do any sports, and sophomore year I ran track in the spring because I thought it would be a great way to stay fit, and being on a team would help me work out. My friend, James Guckin, encouraged me to try out for the wrestling team. I thought it was more of a full body workout, so that’s why I switched to wrestling last year and that’s why I stayed with it.” Beck didn’t walk into the wrestling room and make an immediate impact. As a matter of fact, he’s still looking to get his first pin, but he’s been a welcome and positive addition to the team. “He’s one of those kids – he’s a gamer, he’s a fighter,” coach Corey McCaslin said. “He’s willing to go any weight at any point for the team. He really served as our filler guy in a sense last year. Never a complaint, never a question, just always relishing that opportunity to get on the mat. Always giving full effort, and what he lacks in experience, he certainly makes up for in heart.”

Listening to Beck tell it, the experience has been nothing but positive, and he’s seen many benefits from his experience. “I thought about this,” he said. “Especially in the wrestling room during hard workouts – it shows me that you can’t just stop when you want to. You have to keep pushing because you have your teammates you’re letting down, you have yourself you’re letting down if you give up easily. You really just have to give it your all.” Perhaps Beck’s refreshing perspective is the result of the fact that his interests are so diverse. Wrestling is just a very small piece of his life. “Matt is an intellectual,” McCaslin said. “I have him in AP Calculus class, he’s the president of the Robotics Club. He’s a kid with just a natural curiosity about the world and just a broad, broad range of things. He’s willing to jump in with both feet in a varied litany of activities. It’s rare that kids will spread themselves out that way and take that risk – whether academic or athletic – without fear of failure.”

Beck earned his prestigious Eagle Scout badge in July of 2016. His project – creating educational games for the playground of his preschool. “If there are kids that are tired of running around outside, they can go over and learn something on the boards,” Beck said.

As the president of Springield’s Robotics Club, he was instrumental in breathing some much-needed life into the program. He also was named yearbook photo editor his junior year. Beck takes a course load of AP classes and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is undecided about his future plans but is considering business or a field called emergency management.

To read Matt Beck’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/matt-beck-0067546