North Penn's Webb & Hatboro-Horsham's DiCola Named Univest Featured Athletes

Thanks to our continued partnership with Univest Financial, 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 Featured Female Athlete (Week of Nov. 17, 2022)

Jamie Webb is a player’s captain if ever there was one. With her soccer team’s Senior Night on the horizon this fall, the North Penn senior recognized that there could be a potential problem on a squad with 12 seniors but only 11 starting spots. The Knights’ two-year captain came up with a solution. “Obviously, everyone knows how important Senior Night is for all the girls,” NP soccer coach Mike Rio said. “As a captain and four-year player, Jamie came up to me 2-3 weeks before Senior Night and said, ‘Hey, Rio, it’s okay if I don’t start Senior Night, so all my (senior) teammates can start.’ That is not something that’s easy to do for anybody. We all know how important Senior Night is, and to be that selfless and let her teammates take the spotlight shows what kind of person, player and teammate she is.”

For her part, Webb didn’t give it a second thought. “I’ve been on varsity all four years, and since sophomore year, I started,” the senior captain said. “I figured out in my head who wasn’t starting position-wise, and I knew that person would be really upset because they haven’t played that much all year or the past couple of seasons. I’ve had my time to shine and start, and I wanted to give someone else that time.” Webb’s positive style of leadership was never been more important than during the Knights’ 1-8 start to the season this fall. “I try and tell everybody – ‘good job,’ and then the bench starts cheering us on, which helps a lot,” she said. “I try to pick up my teammates by giving them compliments like – ‘Oh, good play,’ so they know they’re doing good stuff, and they’re not getting down on themselves.”

North Penn finished its season strong with a record of 6-2-1 in its final nine games. “We lost a lot of games, more than we wanted, but it was still a great year,” Webb said. “It was one of my favorite years. All the girls were super close, there was never any fighting on the team. Everybody was so close this year. There were a lot of seniors, which was fun, because it was our final year together. All of us played since freshman year. We all knew each other in middle school too, and a lot of us play club together.”  Although Webb’s senior season included it’s struggles, it also had its share of highlights, none more memorable than a 2-0 win over a Central Bucks West squad that advanced to the state tournament. For Webb, soccer was about a whole lot more than wins and losses. “Soccer definitely made my high school experience so much better,” she said. “I have met some of my best friends through high school soccer. I like how it keeps me busy and it makes me more involved in the school.”

Off the soccer field, Webb has a course load of honors classes, and she is involved in Special Olympics. She also has club soccer practices two or three nights a week. “The workload’s pretty hard, but I try and get all my homework done right when I get home from school, so when I go to practice, I don’t have to worry about doing it afterwards and I’m not stressing,” Webb said. The North Penn senior initially had her sights set on one day becoming a doctor but has chosen to pursue a career in nursing instead. “My sister went into nursing, and I found that really interesting too,” Webb said. “My aunt’s a pediatric nurse, and I think what she does is super cool, and that’s what I want to do. That inspired me.”

A standout defensive player for the Knights whose accomplishments won’t show up on a score sheet or stat line, the two-year captain was an invaluable member of the team. “When we were successful as a team, it was because our defense was successful, and she was an anchor back there for us,” Rio said. “Jamie is selfless, and Jefferson is super lucky to not only get such an amazing talent on the soccer field but such an amazing person. She will be sorely missed.”

To read Webb’s complete profile, please click on the following link:

Univest’s Featured Male Athlete (Week of Nov. 17)

Like an expert navigator, Hatboro-Horsham senior Brian DiCola plotted a course to his recent state cross-country championship. The Penn State-bound DiCola was both familiar with the course at Hershey and his prime competition, Butler High’s Drew Griffith, the reigning state silver medalist. Anyone who thinks cross-country is not a sport of strategy and merely just one of out-running the rest of the field is greatly mistaken. It is as plotted and planned out as a two-minute drill in football, a pick-and-roll in basketball, a power play in hockey or a hit-and-run in baseball. “There was a meet at the same exact course (in Hershey) earlier in the season, so I knew the course,” he said. “I knew who I had to beat, Drew Griffith, from Butler. He was my prime competition.”

For those who follow the sport in the state, this was the showdown that was expected. “What is funny is that - because he is from Western Pennsylvania, we hadn’t raced each other all year,” said DiCola. “So, it was kind of like the Clash of the Titans when we got together in the state meet.” The race followed the script without much of a need to call an audible, as Griffith took his expected lead while DiCola stayed close enough to make his move. “I figured he’d take it out, which he did,” said DiCola. “My plan was to close that gap as much as I could in the second mile, and I did. There was only a one-second difference. With about 400 to go, there is a 180 turn, and I knew I had to get on the inside of the turn. I passed him with that move, and he had trouble responding, so my plan worked out perfectly.”

Crossing the finish line first, achieving his goal, was the culmination of a lot of diligence. “It felt great,” he said. “There is no better feeling. The best part was winning, but the added bonus was that I set a new course record in the process (15:24.20). I was 9th last year and 16th the year before, so I really had winning the state meet in my mind.” That much was obvious to his coach, D.J. Fromal. “He was disappointed last year, he really was,” said the coach. “He doesn’t forget races. He knew what he wanted to improve upon. He went back and raced on the Hershey course in September. Part of the reason we did that was to give Brian another opportunity to run on that course and to make sure that he knew what his game plan was going to be. We talked about it the whole week leading up to states in terms of who we thought was going to be in the lead and where he wanted to be. He executed his race plan perfectly, all the way up to the stretch run and passes Drew Griffith and sprints to the finish.”

For Fromal, it was also an amazing experience to watch this unblemished season. “He ran in nine races this year, and he won all nine of them,” he said. “I’ve been coaching for six years now, and I’ve never had an athlete go undefeated. And, obviously, he is my first state champion. He has pretty much done it all. While it was super-exciting for me, it was one of those things where he deserves all the credit. He put in all the work.”

Running year-round precludes Dicola - who maintains a GPA just above 3.9 with a few AP and all honors classes - from getting too deeply involved in extracurricular activities around school, but he is a member of the National Honor Society. While his exploits drew plenty of interest from other schools, Penn State was always at the top of his list. “I guess I considered some other schools, and talked to many other coaches, but that’s the one that ended up winning,” he said. “They have a great team, and they also have a young team. They are doing really well.” DiCola, who plans to be a civil engineer, also likes the idea of redshirting as a freshman. He would then compete year-round – cross-country, indoor and outdoor track – for the Nittany Lions. “That would give me an extra year of eligibility,” he explained. “It gives me a fifth year, basically.”

To read DiCola’s complete profile, please click on the following link: