Lower Moreland's Lennon & PW's Foy 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 8)

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. That line from the movie A Bronx Tale has been adopted for sports since the movie – starring Chazz Palminteri and Robert DeNiro --appeared in 1993. Sensing Payton Lennon’s natural skills at soccer, her father, Tim, was not about to see her talent – let alone her passion for the sport – go to waste. She may not have always understood his motivation, especially when she was younger, but she appreciates it now. “That’s exactly it,” explained the defensive-minded midfielder, adding that her father had no actual playing experience in soccer, having played more traditional “American” sports (baseball, football, hockey) but went to classes to stay ahead of the curve while coaching her. Added the standout Lower Moreland senior captain: “He pushed me way harder than everyone else on the team. Basically, that’s how I got to where I am today. Without him, I wouldn’t be as good as I am. I used to think of him as my enemy. But now, when I look back on it, he’s my No. 1 supporter. He helped me tremendously with how I play.” Meanwhile, her mom, Colleen, was always ready with encouragement – or a box of tissues. “My mom has been there the entire time,” added Lennon. “She was, basically, the good cop while my dad was the bad cop. My mom is definitely my biggest fan. She comes to all my games. So do my grandparents (Tom and Theresa Lennon). My entire family just believes in me more than anybody else.”

Lennon’s role, not only as a standout on the field but as a vocal leader, was appreciated by first-year head coach Todd Hill, who guided the Lions to another Freedom Division title before a first-round loss in the District 1 playoffs. Hill admittedly came into an awkward situation with the Lions, who had won the league the year before with a team of underclassmen led by Lennon. “That was part of the challenge for me,” he said. “Payton has been invaluable. There is a significant transition, especially when you are coming into a team that didn’t have any graduating seniors. It was a team that had been together, and I was this new guy trying to bring some new things in, but Payton has been such a strong leader and advocate.”

Before the season started, all the seniors had a meeting with Hill to get on the same page. “We explained the situation and how we had the same team and stuff,” said Lennon, a first-team all-league choice all four years. “He understood, right away, how we already have our own ways. Still, he made it clear that he was the coach.” The meeting was one thing, conveying his message on the practice field, and in games, was another. Enter Lennon. “Almost comically, there were times through the year where I was communicating to the team and they would all be kind of staring at me with these blank looks,” said Hill. “Payton would be the one who speaks up and says, ‘This is what he is saying, guys.’ Then, they would all be, like, ‘Oh, OK.’ So, she has been my translator at times. She has been a huge help. She is probably the most dominant player. She is ferocious, strong and powerful.”

But the LM coach is still most impressed with all of her innate intangibles. “There is just this profound tenderness to her,” he said. “She is just really sensitive. She pays attention to the girls that are on the margins. She makes sure that all the girls are included. She watches out for the underclassmen. That is what really stood out to me. She could use her platform to be unapproachable or unengaged. Instead, she is very tender toward to the other girls. She is also tough. She calls them out, but they respect her and trust her. She’s a great teammate. The girls trust her and look up to her. She’s more than just a good soccer player. She’s a good person, too.”

Lennon is debating whether or not to continue playing the sport that has been a way of life for her in college. “I can go to play in college, if I want to, but I don’t know yet,” said the aspiring Pediatric Physician’s Assistant who also plays middle infield for the Lower Moreland softball team. “I’m still debating on it. If I want to play soccer, I can go to Chestnut Hill College, but that’s really close. If I don’t play soccer, I’ve been looking at Syracuse.” Lennon has put herself in position to go to the college of her choice with excellent work in the classroom. That includes being a year ahead in math since sixth grade and AP classes in psychology and science. A member of the National Honor Society, she finds time to participate in their activities, such as car washes, and also earns money by refereeing youth soccer and babysitting.

To read Lennon’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/payton-lennon-00103707

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week 8)

Football was not part of Joe Foy’s plans. Baseball was the sport of choice when the now Plymouth Whitemarsh senior entered high school. But then along came COVID-19, wiping out Foy’s freshman baseball season, and with his sophomore spring season seemingly light years away, Foy decided to try out for the football team. It is arguably one of the best things to come out of a pandemic that altered his best laid plans, snf yhe baseball team’s loss was the football team’s gain. This fall, Foy is a captain of a PW squad that captured the SOL American Conference title. “He’s been a huge part of our success,” PW coach Dan Chang said. “Joe’s having a stellar year on both sides of the ball. He’s a leader on our offensive line, and he plays defensive end for us. He’s also a long snapper, a short snapper. This year he doesn’t leave the field.” It’s a long list of positions Foy occupies on the gridiron, none of them glamorous, but listening to Chang talk about his captain – it’s safe to bet he doesn’t mind a bit.He’s the type of kid – I have him first block in the morning,” the PW football coach said. “It’s basically a weight, strength training class. He’s always ready to go which is tough at 7:30 in the morning to be working hard like that. He’s a kid I can always rely on to be a positive influence and solid, who’s a ready-to-go-every-day type of kid. He’s a good student. He’s a kid you can rely on who’s going to work hard in class and be a good influence in class, a kid that other kids can look up to.”

As a junior, Foy played on the defensive line and also saw action when the team used a double tight end formation. This year, Foy moved to tackle on the offensive line. “I guess it was next biggest guy up,” he said of the move. “I absolutely love it on the line now. Going in, I was like – oh man, I’ve got to do this. It’s so much more fun than I thought it would be. I think I like defense more because it’s more challenging to have to learn what the offense is doing, and you have to adjust to what they’re doing.” He is a valued member of both lines for a team that has dominated its SOL opponents. “His athleticism on the offensive line is literally a big piece of what we’re able to do,” Chang said of his senior captain. “His play on the field and his demeanor – always being ready to go, always being prepared is how he shows leadership.” Like many football players, Foy was drawn to the sport for the opportunity to hit his opponent, but it became much more than that. “Playing as a team, knowing you have a whole family with you while you’re playing – I liked that aspect,” he said. “Your teammates basically become your family.”

Foy isn’t sure if football will be part of his future at the next level, but depending on the school he attends, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trying to walk on as a long snapper. “I find a lot of joy in that,” he said of being a long snapper. The PW senior – who has applied to Pitt, Penn State, Duquesne, Scranton and Maine - places a high value on academics. “Since I transferred in from another (school), it was tough because the curriculum was different, so I kind of struggled my freshman year,” he said. “Moving on to sophomore year, I tried to step it up, challenging myself a little bit more. Junior year was when I actually wanted to get good grades, I tried to get in as many honors classes as I could. That’s continued into this year too.”

Foy is part of PW’s Fly Fishing Club, a hobby he enjoys during his limited down time, and he holds down a part-time job at Ye Old Ale House. When it came down to choosing a major, Foy was thinking of either engineering or business but, instead, plans to major in nursing specializing in orthopedics. “I didn’t necessarily get hurt all the time, but I think I sprained my ankle five times last year,” he said. “It just interested me to know what to do for it- what’s wrong with my ankle. Anything that happens during football – I research it.” With his last high school football season in its final weeks, Foy acknowledges he cannot imagine high school without it “For one, the people I’ve met on the way – the coaches, what they’ve done for me,” he said. “Honestly, I feel like I’m a better man now than I was before I was playing just because of respect and all that, having to respect coaches and what they teach. Football added a lot to my high school career. It means a lot.”

To read Foy’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/joe-foy-00103709