Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 10-31-17)

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 Oct. 31, 2017)

In athletics, especially at the high school level, most kids seek out positions sure to shower them with statistical glory. Sarah Boehm is not most kids. Sure, like most soccer players, Boehm started out as a forward. The thrilling rush of depositing the ball into the back of the net is an irresistible feeling, after all, but Boehm still found herself drifting backward on the field, trading the possibility of scoring for a daily war in the trenches on the back line, the last line of defense between goalie and the opposing offense. “There’s so much strategy in playing the position, and there’s a certain satisfaction in sprinting all the way back to prevent someone from shooting, or to get it to one of your teammates who ends up scoring a goal,” Boehm said. “Defense isn’t a glorified position, but there is a personal satisfaction that comes with it.”

While Boehm wasn’t a captain for the Hatters, she was viewed as a crucial leader and a key cog to the team’s success given her position of quarterback of the defense. Ike Onyeador, her head coach for her last three high school seasons, couldn’t have imagined life without her. “She does so many things in terms of helping a program succeed,” the Hatters’ coach said. “She’s a role model, the picture of how we want our student-athletes to carry themselves. She always shows up, always does what’s asked of her, always represents us the right way and takes care of business, even when nobody’s watching. All the little things that don’t really get noticed or show up in a box score. And believe me, Sarah isn’t looking for notice. For her, she’s just doing her job.”

Soccer’s been part of nearly Boehm’s entire life, and while she thinks she’ll play club or intramural soccer in college, Boehm said she’s done playing competitively. “Most of the schools I’m looking at are Division I, and balancing academics and soccer, especially at that level, is really difficult,” she said. “I want to focus more on my academics and what I’m going to be doing with my life, with a little soccer mixed in on the side.” Boehm knows she wants to gravitate towards the sciences in college, although which specific program she’ll choose to major in is still undecided. Northeastern is her top choice, mainly due to its flexible study abroad program. She’s also got applications out to Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Northwestern, Boston University and the University of Pittsburgh. “In soccer, she’s not a flashy player, but she’ll get into the program, she’ll learn the system and ultimately give you the stability and consistency you need to have to be successful. It’s going to be the same in anything she does beyond soccer. She’s willing to step into any situation and pay her dues, and she’ll keep rising and having success until one day she’s running the company.”

To read Boehm’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/sarah-boehm-0074017

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Oct. 31, 2017)

Standing 6-4 and tipping the scales at more than 250 pounds, Central Bucks East senior PJ Szymanski is an imposing figure on the offensive line. It might be hard to believe, but Szymanski’s early days on the football field saw him line up behind his offensive linemen at quarterback, rather than alongside them. “In middle school, I started getting bigger and putting weight on, and someone told me, ‘Okay, you’re a lineman,’” Szymanski said. It seems that the only people who would disagree with that move would be the countless defensive linemen who have been pancaked over the years by the East senior.

John Donnelly is more than happy to sing the praises of the two-year captain. While the Patriots’ coach can speak on Szymanski’s rare combination of intelligence, power and skill when he’s in uniform, he would much rather discuss the young man underneath the helmet. “PJ is a very charismatic guy, he’s mature beyond his years, and he grabs the attention of the kids and the coaches when he speaks,” Donnelly said. “He’s a highly intelligent young man, a great leader and citizen – he’s really the epitome of a student-athlete. PJ is great with his academics. He’s very comfortable talking in front of people, he connects well with people, he’s a great teammate and leader. And on the field, PJ is as tough as they come. He’s as blue collar and physical as we want our guys to be. He sets a high standard for everyone. PJ is the best player on the field most days. He works like he has something to prove, like he’s got a chip on his shoulder. His work ethic is tireless.”

Part of that attitude is simply the reflection of Szymanski’s love for the game, but it is also the aftermath of a torn ACL that kept him relegated to the sidelines his freshman year. “I’m so grateful to Coach D for letting me be with the varsity team – I got to go to practices and go to games,” he said. “I always felt like I was part of the team. I loved being next to my brother Bake and seeing him his senior year, and that taught me a lot about being part of a great team.”

Szymanski’s course load as a senior includes two AP and two honors classes. He is a member of the Future Business Leaders of American, Athletes Helping Athletes, the National Honor Society and Operation Eternal Gratitude, which puts together packages for soldiers and officers stationed overseas. Szymanski is looking at Division I-AA colleges, seeking a school that offers a top-notch education while allowing him to play football.

To read Szymanski’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/pj-szymanski-0074016