Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 3-7-19)

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 7, 2019

Skyler Sulby would be the first to admit she’s more artist than basketball player. An aspiring filmmaker, the Pennsbury senior is already on a path of great promise that is far removed from the hardwood.  Still, it might be difficult to find someone who valued their basketball experience more than the senior reserve. Mention the Falcons’ first home district game since 2006 that saw Pennsbury defeat Central Bucks South in overtime in front of a full house, and Sulby’s response is revealing. “That was probably my season high, and it wasn’t just because of the whole crowd and everyone there,” she said. “It was because I felt this overwhelming sense of pride for my team, and I just knew how hard every single person had worked to get to that point and how much it meant to them. We didn’t come from a winning program, and just seeing the sheer willpower everyone on the court displayed while they were playing – I don’t think I’ve ever been more present in a moment in my life than that game.”

Sulby’s response does not surprise her coach.“She was my consigliore – she sat in the row in front of me on the bus, and she talked me off the ledge or got me fired up all the time,” coach Frank Sciolla said. “Skyler was very valuable to us basketball-wise and gave us everything she had, she was always positive, never judgmental. She’s someone who knows what she wants to do, and that was a great example for our girls who don’t necessarily have the focus. She does it in a very low key way, she’s not over the top. I’ve watched the short films she’s submitted for film school. This is a really, really smart kid. Jen Sroba, my assistant, and I said, ‘This is a kid we’re going to be friends with for the next 30 years.”

Sulby has taken acting classes as well as classes at the Tyler School of Art. Last summer, she was accepted into the University of Southern California’s prestigious film program for high school students. While at USC, she made a documentary about the meaning of life.“It wasn’t until around eighth grade that I realized I tried every single different thing and what fulfilled me the most was filmmaking,” she said. “And I knew that because I just love people’s stories. There’s so much to tell about human nature and about love and compassion and family dynamics, and that’s what I like to focus on in my filmmaking as well – relationships and connections.”

Looking ahead to next year, USC, NYU, Pratt and UCLA are at the top of Sulby’s college list. “Some of my safety schools are UC Santa Clara and UC Riverside because they both have substantial film programs, and they give me a really good opportunity to transfer to a larger school,” she said. Despite a full schedule, Sulby still finds time to volunteer, and in the summer of 2017, she was part of a cultural exchange in the Middle East with Camp Havaya. She walks away from basketball with no regrets. “For me, I would consider myself more of an artist than an athlete, and it was kind of odd to see how I got caught up in this whole world, but I was so happy I ended up with the girls on my basketball team because I feel like, more than anything – people in sports, my coach included, taught me to hold myself to a higher standard,” Sulby said. “I feel like the biggest lesson that I’ve learned was to always surround myself with people who ask me to be better. Not just with basketball but with every aspect of my life. Just being with my teammates and always having their back on and off the court, I feel like that’s what really hit home for me. I knew no matter what – everybody on my team was going to have my back. Having that kind of security made it worth it to show up every day.”

To read Sulby’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/skyler-sulby-0083302

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of March 7, 2019

Growing up, AJ Borell tried just about every sport that was offered. None of them stuck. Until he tried bowling. Four years, a couple of regional qualifiers and one near-perfect game later, Borell had found his match. While bowling may not be the most highly publicized sport in the Suburban One, the league’s bowlers approach their crafts with as much tenacity as any football or basketball player. Borell, a senior bowler at Upper Moreland, has been with the varsity program since his freshman year and has blossomed into one of the more accomplished performers in the SOL American Conference. However, the simple, lingering question still remained: how does one get into competitive bowling at the high school level? “One day, I told my parents I wanted to try bowling,” he said. “They were a bit skeptical, but they went to our local bowling alley in Willow Grove to see about how I could learn to bowl, and there was a bowling camp for kids over the summer. After that experience, I knew it was something I wanted to do year-round.”

Borell honed his skills over time, and by the time he was a freshman at Upper Moreland, he already boasted an average score in the low 170s. That was good enough for him to qualify for the regional tournament, no small feat for a freshman. He didn’t make it as an individual as a sophomore; however, Upper Moreland qualified as a team. As a junior, Borell ran into some frustrating inconsistencies in which he found himself both atop the mountain and flat on the canvas. In a match against Hatboro-Horsham, Borell was in a place athletes know as “the zone.” For Borell, the zone meant he found himself in the mid- to high-200s, close to 100 points above his average. He threw a 259 his first game, a 267 the second before falling one pin shy of perfection.

Borell spoke fondly of the small, tight-knit bowling community at the high school level. He’s been bowling in leagues with many of his teammates and competitors for years, to the point where, while they try to beat each other, they also root for one another’s success as part of the same fraternity. “We’ve known each other for so long,” he said. “That we just try and feed off each other. We all check on each other to see how everybody is doing. It’s different than baseball and football where you might know the guys you’re competing against, but you don’t necessarily become friends with them. The camaraderie among everyone is amazing.”

Howard Cohen is in his third year as the Upper Moreland bowling coach, arriving to take over the program in Borell’s sophomore year. Cohen said that Borell was already a highly-developed bowler when the two crossed paths, but at the same time the coach marveled at the improvements in his game. A low-170s bowler in his early days, Borell’s average sat at 196.4 this year, good for sixth-best in the American Conference. “His consistency and mechanics have matured the most,” Cohen said. “Sometimes AJ gets in his own head and tinkers too much, like after that 299 it was almost like he felt the need to chase perfection. But when he’s on, I haven’t seen anyone bowl better. ”Cohen also praised Borell for his willingness to help other bowlers improve their own games, even despite his status as the best bowler on the team.  “One of our girls came in without much experience, and AJ worked with her and helped her qualify for regionals,” Cohen said. “He’s turned some of my jayvee players into much stronger bowlers. Even when he threw that 824 series, he was still working with the jayvee kids between shots instead of being off and absorbed in approaching perfection. It was a great moment for him, and part of his legacy that I’m always willing to share.”

In addition to being a member of the bowling team, Borell is also in the school marching band, a commitment that he says takes up infinitely more time than his bowling commitments. In fact, he spent so much time practicing or performing as a percussionist in the marching band that he decided to count the hours. Between June and November, Borell estimates he spent 375 hours with the band. Borell hopes to attend Lehigh University, where he expressed a strong desire to study mechanical engineering. 

To read Borell’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/aj-borell-0083285