Univest Featured Athletes (Wk 11-28-17)

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 Nov. 28, 2017)

Soccer has always been there for Delaney Kennedy. Any time the Central Bucks East senior is facing a tough time or even having a bad day, she knows she can start kicking a soccer ball and escape. It had always been that way, and even as she faced a most daunting challenge three years ago, Kennedy wanted it to stay that way. A devastating injury at the end of her freshman year wasn’t enough to keep Kennedy away from the game, and it’s something the Patriots have been very grateful for. “If you don’t have the desire and the will, especially in the high school game, you’re not going to be able to do it,” Kennedy said. Part of the appeal of soccer is the fact that there’s no textbook definition of what a player should look like. Sure, central defenders are usually big and strong, keepers long-armed and athletic and forwards speedy, but anyone can survive on a pitch. That’s a big factor in why Kennedy was not only a four-year starter for East but also a player Paul Eisold couldn’t bring off the field.

Here’s the thing about Kennedy, she stands only an even five feet tall. She was undoubtedly the smallest person any time she stepped on a field the last four seasons. It also did nothing to stop her from being one of the most dominant players on the pitch every game. “She’s always the littlest player on the field, and she always plays the biggest,” Eisold said. “She has a knack for 50/50 balls in the air, her tackling is tenacious. I don’t know how she does it. She’s an incredible defender, she’s got great vision in moving the ball.”

The moment that changed everything for Kennedy came at the end of her freshman season. Playing in the state semifinals, Kennedy and an opposing player went in for a tackle, and Kennedy caught the worst of it. “I broke my tibia and fibula in the tackle,” she said.  At first, doctors tried to set the bones and put Kennedy in a cast, but the breaks were severe enough that she needed surgery to properly fix them. She had the procedure done at CHoP. “Now, I have a rod in my leg and four screws,” Kennedy said. “It was really rough if I’m being honest. I remember first coming back, I had to learn to walk right again. I had a limp almost my entire sophomore year.” For someone who loved the game so much that it became her place to escape, Kennedy did not want to let the injury rob that from her. She refused to allow the soccer field become a place she feared going. “I remember going into my first game so scared I was going to break my leg again,” Kennedy said. “Once you get that first tackle out of the way, I was fine.”

Kennedy hasn’t decided where she’ll be attending college yet, but she has been accepted to Pittsburgh, South Carolina and Delaware. She had committed to play soccer at Delaware but felt it was time for a change and decided not to pursue a college career. She’s hoping to play club soccer wherever she ends up in college. Delaney will major in nursing, inspired by the nurses who helped her at CHoP. 

To read Kennedy’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/delaney-kennedy-0074358

 

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Nov. 28, 2017)

Soccer is in Josh Hagerty’s blood. The Hatboro-Horsham’s older sister, Jordan, was a lifelong soccer player, and his father, Gary, still plays. Granted, he tried tennis for several years and also played basketball for the community youth program, but soccer has always been Hagerty’s passion. “My dad taught me how to do everything, and just seeing how much he loved it – it was kind of in the family, and I started loving it,” said Hagerty. The Hatters’ senior spent his soccer career playing in the midfield, but this fall coach Kyle McGrath needed a veteran to help anchor a defense that took a hit to graduation. He called on Hagerty. “He didn’t blink an eye, and he moved back there and had a very good year for us at center back,” the Hatters’ coach said.

Hagerty’s high soccer IQ helped to make the transition a smooth one. “Technically, he’s sound,” McGrath said. “He reads the game extremely well, and he’s a smart player on the field. He knows when to put himself in good positions and when to wait for support. Just being able to read the game so well, playing intelligently and playing within himself – he never tries to do too much. He always tries to do what’s the right play.” Hagerty did a whole lot right in the Hatters’ memorable run to the SOL American Conference crown, the program’s first since 2002. McGrath pointed to Hagerty’s leadership as a significant piece of the historic season. “He’s one of our quieter players, but obviously, being a center back, you need to be a leader, and he really helped out our two outside backs who were first-year varsity guys and calmed the game down for them,” McGrath said. “He also really helped our goalkeeper who was starting for the first time this year. He wasn’t the most vocal guy, but his presence on the field made the other guys comfortable. He was one of our hardest workers, so that was something the younger guys could look up to as well.”

Hagerty is the very definition of a student-athlete. With an unweighted GPA of 3.96 (only a B-plus in Spanish kept him from attaining a perfect 4.0), Hagerty is ranked 12th in his senior class. A member of the National Honor Society, he is president of the Chess Club. He also is a member of the Key Club, LINK Crew and Future Business Leaders of America. This winter he is joining his friends for one last go-round with the HHoops youth basketball program.

He was recently accepted into the University of Delaware Honors College and also has been accepted at La Salle. He is waiting to hear back from Villanova and the University of Pennsylvania. Hagerty plans to pursue a career at an actuary. He also hopes to continue playing soccer at either the club or intramural level.

To read Hagerty’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/josh-hagerty-0074359