Univest Featured Athletes (Wk 4-5-18)

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 (Week of April 5, 2018)

For the majority of athletes at the high school level, overall amount of talent tends to dictate their standing in their team’s pecking order. As for William Tennent senior and three-sport athlete Jess Rutkowsky, well, she’ll freely admit she’s not the smoothest shooter, fastest runner or finessed dribbler. However, what Rutkosky lacks in pure basketball talent, she makes up for in not being afraid to get her hands dirty. And she loves every second of it. One of the many definitions of the word grit is the body’s ability to crave contact, and Rutkowsky’s persona fits that description like a glove. During the past two girls’ basketball seasons at Tennent, you wouldn’t often find Rutkowsky’s name with the highest amount of points in the box score, but if you watched the games more closely, it would become evident that she does the things that don’t’ show up on a stat sheet, vital intangibles that every team needs.  “She’s a gritty player, and she fits that description to a ‘T,’” Tennent girls’ basketball coach Laura Whitney said. “It’s easy to point out the best players with the most points, and that’s who a lot of people will recognize. Jess is smart, and she understands her role, which is to do all the little things for us rather than leading us in scoring.”

In addition to basketball, Rutkowsky plays volleyball in the fall and is a thrower for the track team in the spring. When pressed to pick her “top sport,” she went with track because it’s the one she has the best chance to compete in at the next level, but coming from a family of hoops players, Rutkowsky has been playing basketball the longest. “My role is the hustler,” she said. “I know where I stand, so I can’t lollygag. If the ball is on the ground, I’m going to go get it. I put all I have into what needs to be done, and I’ll get it to the girls who can dribble and shoot and let them do what they need to do.” That selfless attitude has made Rutkowsky a valuable asset. “She understands and realizes she’s not the most talented player, and she doesn’t make excuses for that,” Whitney said. “She just wants to do what she can to help the team.”

Rutkowsky is not 100 percent sure where she is going to attend college. She wants to throw at the next level, mainly because she’s not ready to not be a part of a team. Wherever she ends up, Rutkowsky has proven to be an ace when it comes to time management. Not only does she compete in three sports at the varsity level, but she ranks in the top 50 of her class academically and is heavily involved in multiple extracurricular activities. With her sights set on studying accounting in college, she is secretary of Tennent’s National Business Honor Society while also participating in the school’s Future Business Leaders of American and Math National Honor Society.

To read Rutkowsky’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/jess-rutkowsky-0077003

 

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of April 5, 2018)

It was a typical April weeknight in the life of Josh Stillings. The Pennridge senior spent several hours at an offseason workout with his high school team at the Lion’s Den Wrestling Club. He didn’t leave when it was over but opted instead to stay to work with youngsters aspiring to one day follow in his footsteps. And gigantic footsteps they are. In March, Stillings became just the second state gold medalist in program history when he captured the title at 182 pounds at the PIAA 3A Wrestling Championships. Finishing atop the podium in Hershey capped a dazzling high school career that included three state medals and four consecutive trips to states, a first for the program. Stillings also owns three Southeast Regional 3A titles, four District One East crowns and four Sectional titles. He earned Outstanding Wrestling honors at the SOL Continental Conference championships and the District One East Tournament. He is the first in school history to earn OW honors at the Southeast Regional championships. He will leave Pennridge 151 wins, second only to Kyle Gentile.

It’s the stuff legends are made of, and Stillings could safely be called a high school legend. It would be easy for the Pennridge senior to rest on his laurels, and if he displayed even a trace of self-satisfaction after checking off the last of his high school goals, it would be understandable. But that’s not how Josh Stillings operates. A relentless worker, he’s already preparing for life at the next level, and the Drexel University recruit is a star who’s defined as much by his humility off the wrestling matt as his remarkable skills on it.

“Probably one of the best compliments you can give somebody, especially someone like him who’s had his success is to stay humble, and Josh is definitely that,” said Pennridge coach RP Norley. “He is certainly one of the most humble kids I’ve ever met. The stars kind of aligned (the day of the state title match) as far as it being my last year and Josh doing what he did. That was a storybook ending. You couldn’t have scripted it much better.” JT Lewis, a volunteer for the Rams, echoed a similar sentiment. “Josh is a guy who’s very humble,” said the Rams’ assistant. “He puts in a lot of work himself. He knows what needs to be done. He does it all year long. He’s got a very good wrestling IQ. He’s basically at a level now where he could be a coach – that’s how much he knows about the sport. He’s so patient, and he’s always very kind. He would stay after practices to work with kids that were not as good as him. Believe me, he could easily be a coach, but he has a lot of wrestling to do before he’s completely on that side of things.”

Wrestling is a year-round sport for Stillings, and he boasts a lengthy list of accomplishments at the national level, earning All-American recognition after a third place finish at NHSCA Nationals as a freshman. A year later, Stillings was the NHSCA National champion. He became the first double All-American in program history in Fargo, N.D., after finishing third in Greco Roman and fourth in freestyle wrestling. This past summer, Stillings earned 2017 Flo National All-American honors after finishing fourth. Ranked 11th nationally at 182 pounds, Stillings is a top 100 recruit for the Class of 2018.

To read Stillings’ complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/josh-stillings-0076958