Tennent's Mortimer & Pennsbury's McGurrin 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 of Nov. 30, 2022)

It will be less Meek Mill and Eminem and more Zac Brown and Thomas Rhett for self-described “country girl” Brynn Mortimer, who primarily used rap to pump herself up before gymnastics competitions. Now, with her college decision made, the University of Oregon-bound Mortimer will be chilling more to country music. “I’m very relieved to know where I’m going,” she said. “It was stressing me out for the last two years. To have this out from under my belt, just takes a lot off my chest.”  Mortimer, who will be joining the Ducks on their Acrobatics and Tumbling team on a combined athletic and academic scholarship, still has a competitive season ahead with Ricochets Gymnastics of Hatboro, but she is no longer feeling the same kind of pressure in a sport where it can get best of you. “I think it will make me better,” said Mortimer, who measures in at 5-feet tall.  “I won’t be as nervous or stressed out about my performance. Now, I’m settled in. My goal is to just have fun. I’ve been so stressed out these last few years. I just want to let loose and do the best I can do.”

It all started out before Mortimer could comprehend stress, as she was just 3 when she began classes at Ricochets. Within a few years, she was picked from the chorus to engage in more intensive training, at which point she pretty much gave up other activities (cheerleading, dance, softball). As the competitions grew more intense, so did the pressure and the fear. For all the physical training, Mortimer sees the sport as being much more mental, in terms of obstacles. Sarah Lang, her longtime coach at Ricochets has seen her wage, and win, these inner battles. “She’s a determined kid,” said Lang. “Gymnastics has a lot of fear in it. You are asking them to do a lot of flips on small things. Fear is a huge part of the sport, and she has hit fear at many points in her career. The average kid would have bailed a long time ago. She has persevered through a ton. She tries very hard to stay positive. Even when it’s hard to be positive, she tries.”

There came a point where Mortimer found herself at a crossroads, in terms of how intense she wanted to continue with her training and competing in order to be a college gymnast.  “That was always a goal of mine,” she said. “Freshman year, I knew I could either go all-in for it or I could just have a life outside of gymnastics. I decided to just go all-in and just go for it.” What that meant was working out a program with the Centennial School District. Ever since 7th grade, Mortimer had study hall last period in order to go to practice early and was already taking some online classes before she started to attend Tennent. By getting onto Oregon’s radar, Mortimer will be the first collegiate gymnast from Ricochets since Lang and Chris Zimmerman became co-owners. And they know, better than anyone, how much she has earned it. “It does take a lot of time,” affirmed Zimmerman. “She’s been in our more competitive program for around 11 years now, I believe. When she started, she was just in our regular class program, which is one day a week. Then, you know, it built up from there and has been training around 20-25 hours a week. We tried to put some extra time in, getting to a college scholarship. That’s certainly not an easy thing in our sport. She’s very dedicated and has put a lot of time into it

When it came to college gymnastics, Mortimer realized she was likely to fall into a situation where she was going to compete on the Division III level. Wanting the feel of a larger campus, she started looking into shifting gears to Acrobatics and Tumbling (i.e. acro-and-tumbling, as it is commonly referred). “That’s kind of a newer NCAA sport,” she explained. “It’s a mix of gymnastics and cheerleading.” Mortimer’s final choice was a matter of feeling more at home with Oregon, where she will major in human physiology. Despite her time-consuming schedule of academics and gymnastics, Mortimer has found time to be in the National Honor Society. She also plays powder puff football and takes part in Gym Night.

To read Mortimer’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/brynn-mortimer-00103933


Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Nov. 30, 2022)

Galen Snyder has seen just about everything during his years on the sidelines, but the Pennsbury football coach admits that Shane McGurrin came up with a first. “It’s funny – I think I gave the first pregame speech, and after that, Shane took over, and he would give the pregame speeches,” the Falcons’ coach said. “I would say, ‘Are you ready?’ He’d take the kids inside the locker room and give the pregame speech. That was pretty cool. I haven’t really had a player do that before, but he did that. The kids all respect him.” For McGurrin, it felt perfectly natural. “I guess it started with one of the first games,” he said. “I came out, and the words started flowing, and I was like, ‘I’m pretty good at this. These guys are getting fired up,’ so I just kept doing it game after game. That’s something I always looked forward to. It was more of a speech, firing them up in the pregame. Guys wouldn’t want me to skip that, and it kind of became part of the pregame ritual. I tried to brainstorm a bit beforehand, I tried to think of things to say and what would fire them up.”

Based on the Falcons’ results, it’s safe to say McGurrin’s talks were effective. The senior quarterback was a leader on and off the field for a Falcon squad that brought a 16-game losing streak into the season but experienced the kind of turnaround that literally was a case of worst to first.  “Having him break the kids down at the end of weight room sessions and things of that nature – I definitely saw leadership from that standpoint,” Snyder said. After a season-opening loss to Coatesville – the 17th in a row in a streak dating back to 2019, Pennsbury reeled off nine straight wins and won sole possession of the SOL National Conference title. “It was great,” said McGurrin, who also was the quarterback for last year’s 0-10 squad. “We went down, and you don’t want to see a program continue to go down because then it will just keep going, so to be that team that turns it around – hopefully, the program stays back on track – there’s no words to match it. That was the best athletic season of my life.”

As for McGurrin’s wrestling career, he got his start with the Pennsbury Wrestling Club. He laughs when he recalls his introduction to the sport. “I think I started when I was six,” he said. “I remember it – the coach freaked me out or something, so I went to one practice, and that was enough. Then I came back the next year.” He never left. As a freshman at Pennsbury, McGurrin found himself in the unusual position of facing his older brother, Ryan, in a wrestle off. “He was a senior, and that didn’t go in my favor – he beat me there, but I had a couple of varsity matches my freshman year,” he said. A fixture in the varsity lineup as a sophomore and junior, McGurrin recently won his wrestle off and will be wrestling at 160, a drop from 172 of last year. Wayne Stinson was McGurrin’s high school coach for three years and still remains in contact with his former wrestler and his family. “Shane’s a phenomenal kid,” Stinson said. “I have nothing but good things to say about him. He always talks playful smack with me, and he always thinks he can beat me, which I think really helped him develop as a wrestler, as a leader and as a kid. He always did whatever I asked of him, he came into practice and worked his tail off, and I’m excited to see what he does this year. He actually is going down a weight class, so he’s going to be in the right weight class now. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people how well he’s going to do, and I think he’s going to surprise himself.” McGurrin has goals he hopes to reach this season – his first is advancing to regionals.

In the spring, McGurrin is a member of Pennsbury’s ultimate frisbee team. He is also the lead guitarist for the band Mystic Daze. McGurrin is uncertain of his plans for next year. He has not ruled out the possibility of playing football as a walk on. He also is giving consideration to wrestling. “I’m not sure of anything yet,” he said. “I’m still thinking about all of that.” He is leaning toward physical therapy as a possible major.

To read McGurrin’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/shane-mcgurrin-00103935