Univest Featured Athletes (Wk 3-28-19)

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 for week of March 28, 2019

Grace Sutton is something pretty close to a coach’s dream. For starters, the Harry S Truman senior can put a positive spin on just about anything. Last fall, she was captain of a field hockey team that was winless in SOL National Conference play and won just three games. Listening to Sutton tell it, the season was nothing short of a positive experience. “That’s one thing coach (Dipi) Bhaya preached – positivity all the time,” Sutton said. “After games, it was a little depressing, but looking back on it, it was a lot of great memories, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Small wonder track coach Micah Wright is already trying to imagine life without his senior thrower. “I’ll be very honest with you – we’ll be sad to see her go, and I’m sure I’m echoing the thoughts and sentiments of a lot of folks who’ve come in contact with her,” the Tigers’ coach said. “She’s just a great all-around leader – very responsible, great team player and always here to support the team and carry out whatever I as a coach may ask her to do. I’ll be sad to see her go, and I’ve been saying that since the season started. She has greatness written all over her, and she’s humble. ”Bhaya echoed similar sentiments. “She’s just an incredible kid,” the Tigers field hockey coach said. “She’s reliable, she’s dependable, she’s wise beyond her years. She’s coachable, she’s well respected with the officials, with her teammates and faculty and in the community.”

Inspirational is another word Bhaya uses to describe Sutton, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was in fourth grade. It was a diagnosis that was a long time coming.“I lost a lot of weight,” Sutton said. “A lot of people didn’t have answers. Finally, I was admitted to CHOP.” Receiving a diagnosis did not bring immediate relief. “At first, it seemed like my whole world was done,” Sutton said. “But I actually was talking to my doctor, and she was like, ‘I have Crohn’s Disease too,’ and that changed my perspective on it. Here’s this woman who is living a perfectly normal life, and she has what I have - I’ll be okay. It’s probably my doctor that made me think of it as not a downfall and more like – I have this, but I can still go on with my whole life.”

Sutton has a restricted diet and also receives infusion treatments. One thing is certain – she hasn’t let it slow her down. “No matter what she’s going through, you’d never know she was going through anything because she’s such a positive player for her team,” Bhaya said. “She gives you 112 percent every time I see her. She could have the worst day and still give me her best day. She’s the kind of kid – she’s doesn’t just talk about doing things, she’s shows it in every action she takes. ”It’s hardly surprising that Sutton received her field hockey team’s highest award – the coach’s award. “It’s the first time I’ve ever given the award,” Bhaya said. “I should be calling it the Grace Sutton Award in the future because she’s just that type of kid.”

Dance is another of Sutton’s passions and she has been part of Truman’s musicals in each of the last four years. As far as choosing a college, Sutton is deciding between Thomas Jefferson and Drexel and will major in nursing, an interest she admits was piqued through her own battle with Crohn’s disease. A top-flight student, Sutton is a member of the National Honor Society. She is involved in the March of Dimes Club and has worked with Truman Buddies, a club that works with special needs students. She also is a member of the Varsity Club.

To read Sutton’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/grace-sutton-0083786

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of March 28, 2019

Max Perry’s head football coach referred to him as a son. His basketball coach said Perry was a natural born leader of the caliber that Springfield Township High may never see again. After the winding odyssey Perry has endured and survived, it’s no wonder he is one of the more respected student-athletes in recent school history. Heading into Perry’s sophomore football season, things couldn’t have been shaping up any better. Perry had already played a decent amount of varsity snaps as a freshman on the defensive side of the ball, and he was primed to assume the starting quarterback job the following season. Things started out normal enough, with Perry under center for Springfield’s season-opening defeat against Octarara in 2016. Then, everything changed in an instant. Perry and his teammates were summoned back to school a couple of days later following a practice, where school administrators broke the devastating news that due to declining numbers, Springfield would be canceling its varsity football program, effective immediately.

“It was definitely one of the roughest things I’ve had to go through,” said Perry, who seriously considered transferring. In the end, the allure of the tight-knit Springfield community and playing with the friends he’d known since kindergarten was too much to pass up, even if it meant having to play jayvee sophomore year and keep his fingers crossed that despite a murky, uncertain future, the varsity program would return. Thankfully for everyone involved, varsity football returned to Springfield the following season. Perry and the Spartans played a completely independent schedule, and the team mostly struggled, posting a 3-6 record. Last fall, the team was 6-4. Not only that, but Springfield qualified for the District 1 Class 4A playoffs, “I can’t say enough about him, he’s the best I’ve ever had,” coach Chris Shelly said. “He’s like my son. We went through a lot together, and I’m going to miss coaching him. He’s one of those kids I wish we could have for one more year. I joke with him that because we lost a year, we’re going to redshirt him and bring him back. What Max did was he built a culture, and future players will reap the benefits of that for years. Not only that, but he is just a special person. I have a daughter with a disability, and Max always takes time to talk to her. It chokes me up just thinking about it. He has empathy and looks out for the kids at school who aren’t popular. When my staff and I went to meet with the eighth graders who would be joining our program next year, Max came to talk to them. It goes beyond football and sports with him. Whatever it is, he has that.”

Springfield basketball coach Chris Cole certainly would agree with Shelly’s sentiments. “He is such a born leader that it is instilled in him,” Cole said. “The team needed an outspoken guy like Max, someone who knows how to win. Everyone listens to him, and he gives 110 percent and leaves everything he has on the floor at any moment.” Perry is an overachiever, so it was no surprise to hear that he also suits up for Springfield’s baseball team, whose season is still in its infancy stages. Parry typically leads off and plays centerfield for the Spartans, and with it being the final varsity season of his high school career, he plans on enjoying every single second of it. After that, Perry is off to Ithaca College, where he will play football for a very strong Division-III program. Parry also said he plans on majoring in Sports Management. 

To read Perry’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/max-perry-0083784