Univest Featured Athletes (3-21-19)

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 14, 2019

Angelia Micalizzi is undeniably passionate about softball, but the Bensalem senior doesn’t rattle off the usual clichés when she talks about a sport that has helped define her.“Softball keeps me sane, it keeps me together,” Micalizzi said. “It’s somewhere that you can never feel alone. You’re always with people. It’s something that’s in my heart, it’s in my blood, it’s in my family – it’s a part of me. It’s a place where I can feel absolutely nothing except the game. ”If it sounds as though Micalizzi might eat, breathe and sleep softball, guess again.“I played travel the fall of my sophomore year but not much after that,” she said. “I’m strictly school ball.”

In an era where playing a sport year round is considered all but a requirement in order to succeed, Micalizzi’s story is unique.“This is a kid who does not play travel ball but is our starting catcher,” Bensalem coach Dan Schram said. “She’s vice president of the senior class, she’s a tremendous student and involved in every activity. Softball has become so much of a niche sport, and this kid defies the niche and stays well rounded. She’s naturally athletic enough and hard working enough to be able to do it. Not everybody is able to do what she does.”Not everybody loves their sport as much as Micalizzi. Not even those who devote 12 months a year to it.“There’s so much to love about softball – the team, the coaches, the experience, everything about it,” she said. “It’s what makes me me. It’s the whole team experience, it’s what makes high school a hundred times better than it already is. It’s like the icing on top of the cake.”

While there’s no mistaking Micalizzi’s love for the game, her journey hasn’t always been an easy one. “I was a good team player, but I was never able to hit growing up,” she said. “I would try and I would try, but I was never there. Every time I would get up to bat I’d be shaking. ”She admits the thought of quitting crossed her mind. I didn’t think I was good enough to keep going, but you have to keep trying,” Micalizzi said. “At your lowest point, you just have to pick yourself up and get back on the field.She suffered another setback when – 10 games into her sophomore season – she had surgery and was forced to watch the remaining games from the bench. “She was doing a great job, so losing her was a tremendous hardship to overcome, but she came to every game and every practice and really showed she could pass the test of character,” Schram said. It would have been easy for Micalizzi to call it a career, but instead, the time on the sidelines turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “Having that time to just sit down and watch and engage and learn and be there with your team just cheering them on – it gave me the extra push to go the extra mile, to work harder, to go after it because I believed I could do it,” Micalizzi said. To say everything worked might be an understatement. As a junior, Micalizzi was named the co-MVP for her Owls’ softball team. She hit over .380.

Softball is just one small piece, albeit an important piece, of Micalizzi’s life. In addition to serving as vice president of her senior class, she is on the yearbook staff and is part of student government as well as Building Bridges. Another passion of Micalizzi’s is her involvement with Owls Television Network (OTN). Micalizzi plans to pursue a communications major with the goal of one day becoming a news anchor. She has been accepted at Monmouth University and Florida International and is waiting to hear back from West Chester.

To read Micalizzi’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/angelia-micalizzi-0083361

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of March 14, 2019

Mark Thompson remembers the enormity of it all. He recalls emerging from the tunnel in Hershey’s appropriately named Giant Center and marveling at just how big the state wrestling tournament looked. The Wissahickson High School senior wrestler, who didn’t even begin competing the sport until he was in eighth grade and lost 21 of his first 30 varsity matches, had come a long way to get to this moment, and by golly he was going to take every single bit of it in.“It was absolutely amazing,” Thompson said of his state tournament experience. “My only real goal this year was to get to regionals, so just going to states is amazing in and of itself. It was surreal, seeing all those people and top-notch wrestlers, it got me pumped. It showed me that this is where hard work leads. ”Thompson, in the heavyweight class, may have marveled at the environment, but there’s no chance that the moment was too big for him. It didn’t start that way, as it appeared that Thompson would fall to Ridley’s Tom Bramwell, who had beaten Thompson to claim first place at the district tournament.

Bramwell had Thompson on the ropes. Trailing and on his back in a half-nelson, the end appeared imminent. Then, something happened that perfectly summed up the career of Thompson, somebody one would be ill advised to bet against in a big situation. “When you put a heavyweight in a half-nelson, you’re not coming back from that,” said wrestling coach Anthony Stagliano. “Mark weighs 240 pounds, and some of these heavyweight kids are between 270 and 285, as was the case with the kid from Ridley. He had all the reasons to give up. Mark pushed his way to his knees and willed his way to pinning the kid. I couldn’t believe what just happened. To win a match at states like that, it signifies his whole career. ”Stagliano used the mantra “listen, learn, absorb, execute,” multiple times in describing Thompson, who went 9-21 as a freshman but still won 85 matches in his career, a startling turnaround that was punctuated by the huge win at states. Although Thompson did not earn a medal in Hershey, he announced his presence in a big way.

Being smaller than his competition was nothing new for Thompson, also a three-year varsity offensive and defensive lineman for Wissahickon’s football program. Nor was being stacked against long odds, as in Thompson’s three seasons, the Trojans won just five games total (two each in his sophomore and junior years, and one in his final campaign). That said, the fiery leader never let the losses dampen his or the team’s spirit, as Thompson always made it a point to send the message to give it your all no matter the circumstances. Despite being a smaller center and defensive edge rusher, Thompson still made enough of an impact on the field to earn second team All-SOL as an offensive and defensive lineman as a junior and third team all-league honors as an OL, with honorable mention for his play on the D-line. “Mark understood we might not get a lot of wins, but if we can say we became better people from start to finish, then that was an accomplishment,” coach Bruce Fleming said. “Mark is a guy who wants to make sure everyone feels a part of it, and he helped develop a work ethic for our team. Younger guys saw him as a two-sport athlete who never backed down and never quit; he could have focused on wrestling where he was more successful, but he knew he wanted to do both. Football-wise, it’s going to be hard for me to find another kid like Mark Thompson.”

As much as Thompson enjoyed his two-sport experience at Wissahickon, his athletic career more than likely has reached the end of the line. Thompson has been accepted to East Stroudsburg University, where he plans on immersing himself in a Health & Physical Education double major, which won’t leave a ton of time for sports.

To read Thompson’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/mark-thompson-0083362