Univest Featured Athletes (Wk 5-20-18)

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

Grace Loughery was watching a lacrosse practice at the U.S. Naval Academy during a recruiting trip to the Annapolis campus when she spotted several midshipmen working out on their own. The Pennridge senior knew immediately this was a place she could call home for the next four years. So convinced was Loughery that she cancelled college visits she’d set up to the University of Southern California, Harvard, James Madison and Virginia Tech. Loughery began the application process to the Naval Academy last summer and received her appointment in January. “The midshipmen are so motivated to stay in shape and run, do pull-ups and sit-ups on their own,” Loughery said. “Having that kind of mentality will be good. It forces me to work on things I need to work on.” Not that Loughery needs any encouragement to work hard. She doesn’t. “She’s the kind of kid that in the fall when I’m having two open workouts a week she wants to have four,” Pennridge lacrosse coach Karen Schnurr said. “She wants to play all the time.”

Schnurr, who began coaching Loughery in club lacrosse as a seventh grader, knew from her first introduction to the now senior captain that she was not your typical middle school athlete. “She was a little shorter but the same feisty, same aggressive, passionate player,” the Rams’ coach said. “Summer lacrosse it’s hot – she would never want to stop. In a seventh grader, you think it’s one of two things. This girl loves the sport and just wants to play all the time or this girl has raw talent and energy and will just go.” In Loughery’s case, both are true.

It took absolutely no time at all for Loughery to make an impact at the high school level. “One of her strengths is her power to take it 1v1,” Schnurr said. “She has such power and such quick feet. On the flip side is her decision making on defense. She knows when to jump the ball, she knows when to check the ball, she knows how to hold. She’s a smart defender.” The Pennridge senior was a fixture in the starting lineup for four years until midway through this past season when she broke her wrist during the Rams’ April 18 game against Central Bucks South. Loughery watched the last 10 games of her final high school season from the sidelines, assuming a leadership role even when she wasn’t on the field. “When she got hurt, she was on the sidelines, she was on the bus, she was at practice,” Schnurr said. “It was almost like she became a mini coach. Her teammates definitely missed her on the field. It was a void we could not fill this season.”

Loughery also excels in the classroom. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Executive Council. At her church, she is involved with Bridge Disabilities Ministries, working with children who have autism. “Just the same way she is about lacrosse – she’s the same way with her academics,” Schnurr said. “To me, she’s a player you get once in a lifetime. She’s passionate, she cares, she wants to better herself and her team.”

To read Loughery’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/grace-loughery-0078458

 

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete

A great athlete makes his team better. An exceptional athlete elevates his teammates and makes them better as well. Eric Diamond falls squarely into the second category. “If you have a youth lacrosse player and you want him to look up to a high school player, Eric Diamond is the guy you want,” said North Penn boys’ lacrosse coach Rick Smith. “Eric defines the kind of student-athlete that every coach wants. You play with Eric - he’s going to make you a better player. He holds himself accountable to certain standards, and he holds his teammates to those standards as well.” 

Diamond, a four-year varsity player and two-year captain, moved up to attack from midfield this season and proceeded to set up his teammates to the tune of 37 assists (along with 12 goals). Smith will tell you that assist-to-goal ratio is part of what makes Diamond such a great leader and captain. “Eric is a guy who, if you’re his teammate, you are a better lacrosse player because of it,” the Knights’ coach said. “He’s going to feed you the ball, and you’re going to score. A true leader is going to be the guy who doesn’t take the shot, but he’s patient and he waits for the cut and looks for the open man and assists you on goals. Eric’s all about that.” If you ask Diamond, however, he’ll tell you that he’s simply doing what the Knights needed him to do this season. “We have a lot of great shooters, so I felt the role of the feeder was one that suited me well,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter to me whether I’m the one who scores or someone else scores. I just like getting the ball in the back of the net any way we can.”

Diamond’s leadership and his excellence don’t simply end when he walks off the lacrosse field. He also serves as an example of a well-rounded student-athlete who shines both on the field and in the classroom. Diamond ranks in the top 5 percent of the senior class of North Penn. His ACT and SAT scores are stellar, and his workload has been bolstered by numerous AP and honors classes. He was named a 2017 Commended National Merit Scholar. A member of Future Business Leaders of America for the past three years, Diamond has qualified for the Pennsylvania FBLA State Conference in 2016 and 2017. In his second trip, Diamond and his team placed fifth overall and qualified for the 2017 FBLA National Conference in Anaheim.

Diamond volunteered at the 2017 Special Olympics and has spent several years delivering food to needy families through the Jewish Relief Agency and serving food to the homeless via the Philadelphia Broad Street Ministry. He has also volunteered with the local Mitzvah Circle Foundation, which he notes as one of the most fulfilling volunteer work he’s done. “Giving back, that definitely comes from my parents,” Diamond said. “From when I was very young, they always preached about being thankful for where you are in life and what you have. Any opportunity to give back through the synagogue or through outside organizations, I like to get involved.”

Diamond will attend Penn State University where he will be entering the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program through Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.

To read Diamond’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/eric-diamond-0078443