UD's McCarthy & UM's Tyler Named Univest Featured Athletes

Thanks to our continued partnership with Univest Financial, SuburbanOneSports.com will once again recognize a male and female featured athlete each week. The recognition is given to seniors of high character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams or who have overcome adversity. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete (Week of Dec. 20, 2022)
Like many athletes, Emma McCarthy has sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears for her sport. Unlike a vast majority of swimmers, however, she’s sacrificed a bit of enamel as well. “At Suburbans my freshman year, it was my last chance to make Districts,” McCarthy recalled. “I dropped 3 or 4 seconds from my 100 breaststroke and I made the cut. I was so excited, I jumped into the warmup pool, slammed my face on the lane line, and my tooth is chipped as a memory.”

While such an enthusiastic celebration normally would come as no surprise to anyone who’d shattered a previous-best time and secured a spot at Districts, it very well may have surprised McCarthy, who just a few months earlier had been far more focused on the camaraderie than the competition. “I’ve been swimming in that pool since second grade,” McCarthy said. “My best friends swim, and I loved the social aspect of the sport when I started. I love the team, I’m friends with all the coaches. As I started swimming with them, that’s when I really started to understand that this is a good program, I’m going to have to lock in and start really trying.  I remember when I was a freshman saying my goal as a senior is to make Districts, and (coach Pat Redican) said, ‘No you’re making it this year.’”

As it turns out, that love of the team and also developing a competitive fire made her stand out even as a freshman. She was one of three ninth graders to accompany the Upper Dublin team to States, where the Cardinals earned a share of the 2020 girls’ Class AAA State Championship. Now that McCarthy finds herself as a senior captain for this year’s team, she’s hoping to do for the current crop of freshmen – and there nearly two dozen – what those senior captains did for her and her classmates.  While her coaches will point to her competitive nature and her ability to lead both by word and example, they first note the one attribute that elevates McCarthy and makes her such a respected and beloved captain. “Emma is a kid who comes in with an amazingly positive attitude every day,” Redican said. “Honestly, it’s hard for me to imagine anybody I’ve coached that’s as positive as she is. She’s friendly to the coaches, to the kids … it’s no surprise she was a unanimous pick to be a captain this year.”

“If you could describe what you want as a senior leader, it would be everything Emma is doing,” said Cards’ girls’ swim coach Brandon Pierce. “One of the biggest things she brings is a positive attitude all the time. Through the hardest workouts, the hardest parts of the year, she’s bringing that positive attitude, setting a good example for the other girls in the pool with her. Even outside of the pool, Emma is so great at organizing activities, keeping everyone informed, and keeping everyone positive and focused.”

Not surprisingly, McCarthy’s tenure with the Upper Dublin water polo team has followed a similar progression to her years on the swim team. She was thrown into action as a ninth grader, improved every year, and proceeded to put together one of the most remarkable careers in Upper Dublin girls’ water polo history. McCarthy capped off a stellar senior water polo campaign that saw her lead the Cards with 78 goals, 62 assists, 83 steals, and 32 kick-outs drawn. She was named First Team All-Conference, Second Team All-League, and Second Team All-State (her third All-State honor) and ended as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 215 career goals. And while McCarthy is proud of those honors and of having her name etched in the record books, the team’s overall success means far more to her. The 2022 season saw the Cardinals finish with the most wins in team history (20-10 overall record) and saw the squad win its play-in game to make an appearance in the State Championship Tournament, a berth that had been denied the Cardinals the previous three years. 

In addition to her athletics, McCarthy is a member of the school’s Environmental Education Club and the National Honor Society. She has spent the last several summers as Redican’s assistant swim coach at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, introducing a new generation of swimmers to the sport she loves. “The kids absolutely love her, her spirit and enthusiasm stand out,” Redican said. “She has been working with our really young kids, getting them involved in the sport, it’s the enthusiasm she has for the sport that comes through.” In the fall, she will head to Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., in the fall, where she will swim on the Warriors’ swim team and will pursue a career in elementary education.

To read McCarthy’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/emma-mccarthy-00104488

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Dec. 20, 2022)

Dan Heiland preaches a simple philosophy to his players – whatever your role may be, embrace it. “It doesn’t mean it’s your role for the season, it could be for one game, it could be for a week or month,” the Upper Moreland boys’ basketball coach said.  Ralph Tyler could well be the posterchild for Heiland’s coaching philosophy. The UM senior was voted a captain by his coaches and teammates, but he doesn’t occupy a starting spot. Instead, he is the sixth man for a Golden Bears’ squad that was 10-2 out of the gate, and whether Tyler stays in that role for the next week or the entire season, he’ll be just fine with Heiland’s decision.

Tyler gets it. Plain and simple, and if anybody understands what being a captain and teammate is about, the senior guard does. “Being a captain, you really have to embody what the program is about,” he said. “You’re the main person everybody leans toward.” And what is UM’s program about? “Just everybody buying into their role,” Tyler said. “Not everybody is going to be a 20-point scorer. There might be nights when Colson (Campbell) will have 27 points and other nights he might only have 10.  Sometimes I might score a decent amount, other nights I might not score at all. It’s not about us having one player to rely on, it’s mainly us coming together and playing as a team.”

If it sounds like Tyler is a coach’s dream, he just might be. “Ralph’s a pretty easygoing kid,” Heiland said. “He seemed to take not only my coaching but the other coaches on the staff. He’s a very coachable kid. He’s one of those kids that just puts his head down and works really hard. When he has a question or he’s unsure about something, he definitely comes up to you and makes sure he’s doing it the way you want him to do it. He’s a kid you can throw in any situation, and you feel that he’s going to come through and make the best of the situation or make a moment.”

Tyler’s journey to his role as a captain of the Golden Bears was hardly your typical one. Born in the United States to parents who immigrated from Liberia in the late ‘90s, he grew up playing soccer, and he excelled, competing on both the travel and highly competitive academy circuit. Tyler began playing basketball when he was eight, and by the time he was 12, he stopped playing soccer to focus on basketball. His journey was not always easy. At the end of basketball season freshman year, Tyler transferred from William Tennent to Upper Moreland.  Before he had a chance to get acclimated, the schools were closed because of the COVID pandemic. As a result of the pandemic, basketball fell by the wayside, and he didn’t go out for UM’s team sophomore year. He seriously considered walking away from the sport but came back out for the team as a junior. Tyler, who dressed for varsity but saw limited time, suffered a toe sprain and a fracture of a bone in the middle of his foot and was sidelined a portion of the season. This season, Tyler is healthy and contributing. “He’s one of those guys that on the bench is constantly talking when he’s not in the game,” Heiland said. “When he comes in, he brings energy, he brings a different style of play for us in the sense that he’s going to be physical. We want to play an up-tempo physical style at times, and when he comes into the game, he can do that. We don’t miss a beat.”

Tyler is equally committed to his work in the classroom. “My family emigrated from Liberia, so hard work is a big priority when it comes to everything we do,” he said. “My mom is still in school, and she’s almost 40 years old. She’s still in school trying to better herself. I look at that and use it as an inspiration how far she’s come.” Tyler has not chosen a college but would like to continue his basketball career while majoring in computer science. For now, Tyler is focusing on his final basketball season and his role as a leader of the team. “I’m not really that much of a super vocal person,” he said. “I try to show and lead by example. If I see something someone can improve on, I’ll pull them to the side and talk to them, kind of being the big brother of the whole entire team, making sure everyone is taken care of.” There’s no sixth man of the year award in the SOL, but if there was, Tyler would certainly be a candidate. “Ralph has had an impact really in every game,” Heiland said. “He has been a constant guy we can rely on at any moment of the game. He’s a huge reason why we’ve had success this year so far.”

To read Tyler’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/ralph-tyler-00104487