Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 11-27-18)

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 for week of Nov. 27, 2018

Miranda Kullmann'sphysical therapist told her to take a walk.Eight months after tearing her right ACL, all Kullmann wanted to do was get back on a soccer field and play again. However, she couldn't complete a strength test that would clear her to get back for her junior season at Souderton. Sensing she was capable of it, her therapist told her to take a walk, clear her head and try again.Settling back into the weight machine, Kullman nailed it."I actually failed the test twice, the first time I just failed it and the second time was a month later," Kullmann said. "I just couldn't lift it, I was getting all upset and I got up frustrated. He told me to take a walk and come back. He was about to fail me again, but I got back on the machine and cleared the weight three times.It was a turning point for me in realizing it's all a mental thing. You have to have the mindset of knowing you can do it, and if you don't think you can, then get into the mindset that you're going to at least try."

There are a couple things that immediately stand out about Kullmann, who just capped her career at Souderton by helping the Indians win their first state title in the history of the girls' soccer program.First, the tenacity with which she plays the center back position. Second is her energy. Third, and most defining, is the way the senior just refuses to ever give up, even after losing most of her freshman year and all of her sophomore year to knee injuries.

Souderton coach Linsy Jones couldn’t have asked for much more from Kullman this fall. Her play on the field spoke for itself, but there was so much more the senior offered that aided the Indians on their run to a state title. “She’s the type of person that will never give up,” Jones said. “She just has this fire within. She’s a tough girl and gives 100 percent in everything. She didn’t see those knee injuries as a chance to be down on herself. She said, ‘I have two more years left and I’m going to make the most of them,’ and to me, that says a lot about the type of person she is.”

Kullmann helped anchor a defense that was nearly impenetrable all season. The Indians shut out 17 opponents and earned their last shutout in the state title game in Hershey when they defeated rival Pennridge 1-0 in overtime. The senior plans to play collegiate soccer and is weighing offers from East Stroudsburg and Eastern. Kullmann is also a member of Souderton’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a group she says that has also been a major influence.

Kullmann's walked a long path during her time at Souderton, a path that included her crucial lap around a rehab facility, but there's no doubt it was worth the final destination. No matter how many more years she plays or where else she goes, Kullmann will always be a part of Souderton's first state championship team."Every time I say it, it still feels unreal and feels like a dream," Kullmann said. "Through everything, coming back from my injuries, the feeling doesn't get old. I'm so happy to be part of the group of girls we did it with and we really were a family through the entire ride. It's my senior year and to top it off that way, it's just incredible."

To read Kullmann’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/miranda-kullmann-0081612

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Nov. 27, 2018

Despite a senior season in which he was named First Team All-League on both offense and defense, Brody Balasa faced the very real possibility that he could have ended his high school football career on the sidelines instead of on the field.During Upper Dublin Senior Night on Oct. 26, Balasa sustained an injury that turned out to be more serious than first expected. As a result, the senior standout could only watch as the Flying Cardinals embarked on their PIAA District One Tournament run.Four weeks, four victories, and a Class 5A District One Championship later, Balasa was cleared to be back on the field when the Cardinals took on Manheim Central in a PIAA State Semifinal.“Watching on the sidelines, there’s nothing you want more than to get back in there,” Balasa said. “It means a lot that I’m going to be out there to finish the season. To play a sport for so long, for your whole life, and at this point you never know which game could be your last game, so I’m looking forward to getting back in there and playing every play like it’s my last.”

Not only is he All-League at tight end and outside linebacker, but Balasa also plays on special teams.“He’s a Swiss Army Knife,” Stover said. “He doesn’t come out, he doesn’t get tired. Sometimes we take him out because he looks worn down, but he’s never going to want to come out.”Stover compares Balasa to the famed tool not just because he lines up on both sides of the ball, but also because he plays all over the field. Balasa has found himself playing safety on defense and halfback on offense, among other positions.“Brody is very versatile,” Stover said. “He’s the kind of football player that whatever you need from him, ‘I got it. I got it.’He really spoils us. We knew he did a lot, we just didn’t realize how much he does for us until he was out of the lineup.”

It was an unfortunate but familiar scenario to local football fans – a player having an MVP-caliber season is injured late in the regular season and can only watch as his team advances to win a championship.For a guy who wants nothing more than to help his team, the inability to do so was understandably frustrating. Though he was able to suit up on the sidelines for the district title game, Balasa was not cleared to play.“It’s amazing to win Districts, but I do feel a little bit I felt like I missed out because I wasn’t out there with them,” said Balasa, who had never sustained an injury that forced him to miss an extended period of time before this. “But I was on the sidelines and at practices and helping them out any way I could. I just wanted to be out there with them even if I wasn’t playing. I just wanted to be there.”
It’s a remarkable journey Balasa and his Cardinal teammates shared this season, and there is no doubt what the Cardinals will lose when Balasa hangs up his helmet for the last time. “We’re losing the guy who can do just about everything for the program,” Stover said. “It’s nice to have one or two of those every year. But Brody is also going to be the guy we refer to in the future, ‘Remember when Brody was in this spot?’ We do a lot of that with the ’15 team. ‘Remember when (Michael) Sowers did this?’ ‘Remember when (Henry) Winebrake was here?’ He’ll be one of those guys you mention. I think that’ll happen for years to come with him.”

To read Balasa’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/brody-balasa-0081626