Univest Featured Athletes (Wk 6-3-17)

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 June 3, 2017)

Although Maddie Sjoholm is as competitive as the next person, the outgoing Abington senior admits that she was a little envious of injured lacrosse teammates who got to sit out at practice. Until, that is, it happened to her. That came in her sophomore year when the Swedish-born Sjoholm bruised a muscle in her shoulder and was out of action for an extended period of time. “It definitely didn’t feel good to sit on the sidelines,” Sjoholm said. “I had friends who had gotten injured, and I thought, ‘that must be nice,’ but when I got injured, I just wanted to play lacrosse. It definitely added fuel to my fire.” And it was this fire that current coach Amanda Kammes, who came to the Galloping Ghosts from the collegiate level, got to witness as the team’s coach during Sjoholm’s final two seasons. “Over the last two years, we really felt we could never take her off the field,” said Kammes. “She’s a well-spoken kid. She comes from a good family. She’s well-liked by her teammates. She’s a great kid.”

As a two-year captain and four-year starter, Sjoholm was promptly identified as part of a senior class that laid the foundation for the program’s resurgence under Kammes. A low defender, she also played midfield when asked. “I felt like Maddie and Jordan Campbell were the heart of our defense for the past two years,” Kammes said. “The defenders always seem to get overlooked because they never fill up a stat column even though I would argue that defenders are what make your team successful. She’s a knockout ballsy defender. I really can’t say enough good things about her in that department.”

Undefeated and rarely challenged in league play, Abington claimed the SOL American Conference title in 2017. The Ghosts saw their season end when they dropped a 9-8 heartbreaker in a district playoff game for the seventh and final state berth. “We were really happy to get much further this season,” Sjoholm said. “There were a lot of mixed emotions. While we were upset that we didn’t make states, we go away knowing that we all tried hard up until the end. There were people on the team who I had played with since third grade, so it was bittersweet.”

Sjoholm went through the recruiting process, trying her best to find an ideal scenario, one where she could pursue her goal of becoming a doctor and major in pre-med while also being able to play lacrosse. Her research told her it was not realistic. “There was a lot of discussion, weighing the pros and cons,” Sjoholm said. “If I was going to go into medicine, I just needed to go for it. As much as I love the sport, I have a deeper passion (for being a doctor),” adding that the current plan is to follow in the footsteps of her father, Dr. Ola Sjoholm, a trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital.

Enrolled in four AP classes this year, Sjoholm is also involved in Athletes Helping Athletes and Mini-Thon as well as the Varsity A Club. She will be attending Temple University where her sister, Hannah, is now studying physical therapy. Although she looked at schools as far away as California, she felt Temple offered just as good of an education at a fraction of the cost. Temple also offers a solid lacrosse option with a club team in place. “It will be a great way to stay involved in sports,” Sjoholm said, adding that the club team does not have a heavy travel schedule.

To read Sjoholm’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/maddie-sjoholm-0070967

 

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of June 3, 2017)

Roll back the calendar to last December. On a bitterly cold night at Northeast High School, Reece Udinski had just played his final high school football game for North Penn. The senior quarterback threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, all but willing his team to a win over favored Saint Joseph’s Prep. North Penn’s 35-25 loss in the PIAA 6A state semifinal was the first of what had been a perfect season for Udinski and his Knight teammates, and this one was a heartbreaker. Udinski had shown his mettle on the field with a gutsy performance to keep his team in it, but equally impressive was the way the senior quarterback handled himself when it was over, remaining long after the packed stands had emptied to field questions from the throng of media personnel in attendance. “At that time, I don’t think anyone really wanted to rehash the game and talk about it,” Udinski said. “Just looking at it from a season perspective – not just one play or one game – and at least just talk about the team because I think our team really deserved a lot of credit, and I just wanted to give it to them.”

The Knights’ season-ending loss in the state semis captured two markedly different sides of Udinski – a fierce competitor on the gridiron and a reflective young man off it. The senior quarterback played a starring role in the Knights’ storybook season, setting a single season record for not only the program but also the entire District One with 4,093 passing yards. He leaves North Penn with records for career passing yardage (6,493) and touchdowns (61). “I would say he’s a dream player for you,” North Penn football coach Dick Beck said. “There’s not enough good words to say about him. Not only is he a good player, but he’s a great kid.”

Udinski played and excelled in three sports, compiling an impressive resume. In addition to leading the football team to SOL Continental Conference and District One 6A titles, he was a key member of the basketball team that captured the conference crown. In the spring, Udinski – despite spending just two years at North Penn after spending his first two years at Central Bucks West – rewrote the record book for the lacrosse team that had its most successful season in memory. “That’s what makes him so special – he’s like a throwback,” North Penn basketball coach John Conrad said. “As good of an athlete as he is, he’s an even better kid, if you can believe that. He’s just a quiet soul – always positive, picking kids up around him. He’s just a great kid to be around. You’d never know it, but when the lights go on, he’s as fierce as they come.” North Penn lacrosse coach Rick Smith echoed similar sentiments. “Reece is very humble,” Smith said. “His character is unbelievable. He’s unselfish, and I’ve never met a young man who is willing to do anything to help his team win. That’s just who Reece Udinski is. He’s an outstanding student, and most importantly, he makes every single person on his team a better player. It’s like being blessed with a coach on the field. It’s people like Reece Udinski who make coaching so much fun and so enjoyable.”

Udinski will continue his football career at Virginia Military Institute where he plans to major in business/economics. He hopes to also play lacrosse at VMI.  

To read Udinski’s compete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/reece-udinski-0070970