The Next Level

Eas­ton High cel­e­brates col­lege-bound ath­letes

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — War­riors girls’ head lacrosse coach Robert Smith learned some new lingo such as “throw­ing shade” and “swag” this year from his draw-con­trol star Lexi Mc­Daniel. For more than a dozen Eas­ton High grad­u­ates, they’ll have new coaches to ed­u­cate for the next four years. They’ll also, no doubt, learn a few things them­selves.

The stu­dent ath­letes were rec­og­nized Fri­day af­ter­noon for their ath­letic con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing their high school ca­reers, which will con­tinue at the post-sec­on­dar y level through­out the East Coast. Team­mates, coaches, ad­min­is­tra­tors, fam­ily, and friends gath­ered to ac­knowl­edge their achieve­ments and to of­fer best wishes for con­tin­ued suc­cess in a sign­ing cer­e­mony led by ath­letic di­rec­tor Kur­isha Hoff­man.

Hoff­man read what each player had writ­ten on a short form and pro­vided slides of the play­ers in ac­tion as coaches gave a short talk (ex­cerpted be­low) about each stu­dent ath­lete.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Nick Covey will play golf at Sa­van­nah Col­lege of Art and De­sign with an aca­demic in­ter­est in film. His high­lights in­cluded win­ning the North Bay­side cham­pi­onship as a

team his fresh­man year and putting up the low­est scor­ing av­er­age at the Bay­side Cham­pi­onships his se­nior year. He wrote he was thank­ful for his op­por­tu­ni­ties, his sup­port­ive fam­ily, peo­ple he met in golf, and the chance to com­pete in a sport he likes.

Eas­ton jead golf coach Paul Gan­casz said, “For four years Nick has given me the op­por­tu­ni­ties to win, to place — he’d win al­most ev­ery tour­na­ment — and not only that, he taught me a lot about coach­ing golf and things like that. He’d say, ‘Ah, coach, you’re do­ing it the wrong way, or maybe you should do it this way.’ And I was like, ‘Hey, Nick, that’s great, I ap­pre­ci­ate that.’ … I am su­per ex­cited for him. I think this kid has what it takes to play golf at the next level.”

Also at­tend­ing SCAD, study­ing Fash­ion Mar­ket­ing, will be Ta­tum Crouch, who will play lacrosse. She wrote her high-school high­lights in­cluded beat­ing Queen Anne’s in field hockey and lacrosse her se­nior year and win­ning the Bull Roast game all four years (a com­mon theme among lacrosse play­ers). She thanked her par­ents for their sup­port and her coaches for mak­ing her a bet­ter ath­lete.

Smith ac­knowl­edged Crouch’s per­se­ver­ance over­com­ing in­juries, in­clud­ing an ACL in­jury not long be­fore the spring sea­son: “I think at that point there was maybe 30 sec­onds where Ta­tum said, ‘Why me?’, and then as soon as that 30 sec­onds was over, she was think­ing, ‘How can I get back, how can I help my team, how can I play in col­lege, how quickly can I re­cover?’ So I just have a lot of re­spect for some­body who’s will­ing to work that hard know­ing that her se­nior sea­son’s prob­a­bly not go­ing to be there, but how hard she worked to get back, to play in col­lege, to be at prac­tice and sup­port her team­mates. I think that says a lot about her.”

Claire Dowd will com­pete in cross coun­try and track and field at Lynch­burg (Va.) Col­lege where she will fo­cus her stud­ies on bi­ol­ogy and chemistr y in pur­suit of a vet­eri­nar­ian ca­reer. Her high­lights were qual­i­fy­ing for the state cham­pi­onships her fresh­man and sopho­more years in cross coun­try and her ju­nior year in track. She ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for her fam­ily and friends.

“She re­ally de­vel­oped in her ju­nior year in run­ning be­cause she em­braced do­ing a lot more work,” coach Rob Drys­dale said. “And that’s what run­ning is — it’s a train­ing sport, putting in the time and the miles. It re­ally helped her get bet­ter. She’s go­ing to have to do the same thing to get into vet school, so it all kind of comes to­gether for her.”

Pey­ton Elzey will study a pre-phar­macy cur­ricu­lum and play soft­ball for Camp­bell (N.C.) Uni­ver­sity. She listed her high­lights as go­ing to the state tour­na­ment her fresh­man year and “all of the crazy things the girls and I took on this past sea­son!!” She wrote she is thank­ful for her coaches and friends for push­ing her and for her par­ents for help­ing her ev­ery step along the way.

“She def­i­nitely has a strong head on her shoul­ders, has her own mind, but you will never find some­one who’s more de­voted to the game than she is,” head soft­ball coach Jen Pow­ell said. “I re­mem­ber days when she came in for prac­tice and she said, ‘Yeah, I hit for about an hour last night in my basement.’ Who does that? … She is a mon­ster. She is about 5 foot; she’s plays like she’s seven.”

Also headed to Camp­bell is Mc­Daniel, who will play lacrosse and ma­jor in Ki­ne­si­ol­ogy. Her high­lights in­cluded the team’s Bull Roast wins, de­feat­ing Queen Anne’s this year, and putting up a “great fight against Kent Island.” She thanked her coaches for push­ing her and her par­ents and grand­par­ents.

“Lex is def­i­nitely the most in­ter­est­ing player I’ve coached and cer­tainly one that I’ll never for­get,” coach Smith said. “On an off the field, her at­ti­tude, good most of the time, a lit­tle bit of chip­pi­ness, but that’s what made her such a great player. On the field she was just an ab­so­lute beast — 35 goals, 18 as­sists. The big num­ber for her was 82 draw con­trols. I think it was about 67 per­cent of the time, when you took the draw, we won it. Whether you won it your­self or it went to one of your team­mates, that’s just an un­heard-of per­cent­age.”

Ryan Farr will play base­ball for Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege and has a de­gree in­ter­est in sports man­age­ment. His high­lights in­clude mak­ing the all-state team his ju­nior year and the MSABC Clas­sic game two years in a row. He ac­knowl­edged sup­port from coaches, fam­ily, and team­mates “for al­ways hav­ing my back.”

“Every­thing of­fen­sively ran through Ryan,” said base­ball as­sis­tant Gan­casz, fill­ing in for head coach Al­bert Pritch­ett. “He was the num­ber-one hit­ter ninth­grade year, 10th, 11th … it got to be where op­pos­ing teams did not want to pitch to him be­cause he would hurt ‘em. He was that good.”

Former head foot­ball coach Matt Grif­fith said his fol­low­ing three foot­ball play­ers all shared one com­mon theme: “All three of them had to fight through an ex­treme amount of ad­ver­sity for all dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Not only were they able to fight through it, they were able to be suc­cess­ful their se­nior year, and for that I ap­plaud their ded­i­ca­tion, men­tal and phys­i­cal tough­ness, and be­ing able to fight through very dif­fi­cult times through­out the year.”

Justin Fen­wick is headed to Frost­burg State, where he will play foot­ball. His high­lights in­clude play­ing in the Mary­land Crab Bowl, the Eastern Shore Se­nior Bowl, and re­ceiv­ing first-team all­con­fer­ence se­lec­tions for de­fen­sive line his ju­nior and seniors years. He wrote he was thank­ful for his “foot­ball fam­ily and his real fam­ily for al­ways be­ing with me ev­ery step of the way through the ups and the downs.”

Ma­son Led­ford will take his foot­ball tal­ents to Steven­son Uni­ver­sity where he will study Ath­letic Psy­chol­ogy. He ap­pre­ci­ated the op­por­tu­nity to build “bonds with my broth­ers through­out these four years while play­ing two sports I love,” and he thanked his friends, coaches, and fam­ily for their sup­port.

Bran­don Booze will play foot­ball at Steven­son Uni­ver­sity where he’ll study crim­i­nal jus­tice. His high school high­lights were ser ving as a team cap­tain, be­ing se­lected as an All-Bay­side wide re­ceiver, and win­ning the Un­sung Hero Award. He ex­pressed grat­i­tude for his team­mates, the pro­gram, friends, and fam­ily.

Jor­dan Fried­man will swim for Mt. St. Mary’s and will fo­cus her stud­ies on bi­ol­ogy and art. She is a twotime state cham­pion in the 200-yard in­di­vid­ual med­ley.

“She has nu­mer­ous records for our high school swim team,” head swim coach Kara Ersk­ine said. “Know­ing her for four years, Coach (Mary) Gib­son and I, around us she’s very quiet and shy, but when it comes to the meets and com­pe­ti­tion, once she steps on the block, it’s game on. She’s very se­ri­ous and not only does she take her swim­ming se­ri­ously but her aca­demics as well.”

Elizabeth Hostet­ter, who was not in at­ten­dance, will swim for Ran­dolph-Ma­con (Va.) Col­lege with a de­gree in­ter­est in nurs­ing. Her high­lights in­cluded qual­i­fy­ing for the state cham­pi­onships all four years. She ex­pressed thank­ful­ness for her coaches and all that they have taught her.

Jor­dan Nilsen will study El­e­men­tary Ed­u­ca­tion and play lacrosse for Lynch­burg. Her high­lights were win­ning the Bull Roast games, beat­ing Queen Anne’s, and play­ing with her friends. She ac­knowl­edged the ef­forts of her par­ents and coaches for en­cour­ag­ing her to do her best.

“Some things when I met Jor­dan that re­ally stuck out for me were just her will­ing­ness to work hard and be a team­mate,” Smith said. “Last year, Jor­dan played out of po­si­tion, for her I be­lieve on de­fense, and she did that be­cause that’s what the team needed her to do. She didn’t turn around and com­plain and ask me why, why, why? She just did what the team needed and the team got bet­ter be­cause of it.”

El­lie Roser will study Health Sci­ence and play lacrosse for Fur­man (S.C.) Uni­ver­sity. She also listed a high­light as win­ning four Bull Roast games and “get­ting to play with my best friends,” and she wrote she is thank­ful for the sup­port she re­ceived from fam­ily and friends.

Coach Smith said Roser was prob­a­bly the lead­ing goal scorer in school his­tor y. No one seemed sure of that, in­clud­ing Roser.

“That’s a real good in­di­ca­tion of El­lie’s at­ti­tude on and off the field,” Smith said. “It’s not about her. Al­though she does score a lot, she as­sists a lot, she has the ball on her stick a lot, it’s not about her, it’s about the team. … This year you had 50 goals, 26 as­sists, and 73 draw con­trols, which I can’t imag­ine statis­tics like that for any­body else in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence. … El­lie’s some­body who does every­thing well. She does ever ything to the best of her abil­ity. She makes her team­mates bet­ter. She doesn’t care about in­di­vid­ual ac­co­lades. She’s the first one to speak up when some­thing needs done. She’s just an all-around great player and great kid. … I know as a coach you’re sup­posed to not have fa­vorites, I don’t care, you’re my fa­vorite player.”

Ri­ley Scott is headed to Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­sity to play field hockey and study Health Sciences and Pre-Den­tistry. Her high­lights were beat­ing Queen Anne’s in field hockey and earn­ing first­team All-State hon­ors. She thanked her friends, fam­ily, coaches, and team­mates for their love and sup­port.

“Her work ethic and her en­thu­si­asm for the game has al­ways im­pressed me,” head field hockey coach Deb­bie McQuaid said. “She’s a real fun player to watch. You no­tice her on the field. Her op­po­nents fear her, yet she’s mild and meek and soft-spo­ken in the hall­ways of Eas­ton High, but she’s a fierce com­peti­tor on the field. … She’s go­ing to be missed by all of her team­mates and she has set the tone for Eas­ton High School field hockey.”

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Stu­dent-ath­letes that will com­pete at the post-sec­ondary level open gifts from the school in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their con­tri­bu­tions to Eas­ton High dur­ing their high-school ca­reers, Fri­day af­ter­noon in the school’s me­dia cen­ter.

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