Univest Featured Athletes (9-19-18)

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 Sept. 19, 2018

Sarah Williams remembers it as if it were yesterday. That October night two years ago when the Pennridge senior – then just a sophomore – came off the bench and found herself in the hero’s role after scoring the game-winner in the Rams’ electrifying 2-1 win over archrival Central Bucks South in a classic soccer battle for the top spot in the SOL Continental. “I remember receiving a throw-in, and it was bobbling around the box. I just remember thinking - I have to get to this ball, I have to try to finish it, and I just toe-poked it in and then we won the game. It was the best feeling ever being a sub scoring the game-winning goal.” On a squad loaded with veteran stars, Williams served notice she would be heard from for years to come for the perennial SOL and district power.

Williams has lived up to the promise she displayed as a sophomore, and as a senior, she’s anchoring a stingy Rams’ defense at center back. Her journey, however, has not been nearly as smooth as it might appear. Roll back the calendar to last year’s Central Bucks South game on Oct. 4, 2017. There were no Williams’ heroics in this one. Instead, the senior standout was at a crossroads. “It was the day we had a night game against CB South, and I said, ‘Mom, I’m not happy with my life right now. I don’t think I can keep doing this,’” Williams recalled. “I wasn’t really sure what was going through my mind, but I knew I needed help.” Williams played the entire game that night. It was her final appearance in the Rams’ lineup last season, and she thought it might well be the final of her career. Williams, it turns out, was waging a war with anorexia, a battle she won and a story she shares in the hopes it will help others who may be heading down that same path.

So inspired was coach Audrey Anderson by Williams’ resolve to win her daunting personal battle, she gave the then junior the Coach’s Award at the team’s banquet. “She went through a lot and the fact that she’s back this season is a testament to her courage and her ability to make it through difficult things,” Anderson said. “She came back this season even stronger with something to prove to herself – not anybody else, but to herself that she was strong enough to get through last year and be able to finish out her senior season on the soccer field. She’s a teenage girl, and for her to be open with her teammates – it was very brave of her.”

A member of the National Honor Society, Williams plans to major in neuroscience at Dickinson College next year. She also will continue her soccer career. “I love soccer because of the competitive drive in me,” Williams said. “I love to be challenged and work hard to be the best player I can be. I also want to prove to people it’s always possible to find yourself and the light at the end of the tunnel no matter what life throws at you.”

To read Williams’ complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/sarah-williams-0080162

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Sept. 19, 2018

Though it may not be the most mainstream of sports at the high school level, golf and Jack Cenci have always gone hand-in-hand. Perhaps the allure of golf came from the fact that Cenci spent most of the first decade of his life living in Sarasota, Fla., where the sport could easily be played year-round. Or maybe it was due to the fact that his dad loved to golf and got Jack his first set of plastic clubs when he was just a small boy. There are also simpler reasons why Cenci, now a senior at Central Bucks South, gravitated toward golf like a moth to a flame. “There’s no running,” Cenci said with a laugh. “It’s pretty relaxing, so that helps too.” Cenci’s boyhood home was the golf course, so it was pretty likely that he was going to find a club in his hands. Even after the family left Florida and moved to Pittsburgh when Jack was in third grade and again when they came to Bucks County after his freshman year, the challenges and intricacies of golf always fascinated Cenci.  “You can never really beat it,” he said. “All you can do is always try to get better. You play against yourself, and the inner competition is constant.”

Cenci, whose father works for the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, said he’s switched school districts four times over the course of his young life. Playing sports and being an athlete helped a young man always on the move make friends. Cenci played baseball until seventh grade before switching to lacrosse, a sport he also currently plays at the varsity level for CB South. “The finding friends aspect is definitely hard at first,” Cenci said. “But I think it’s helped me in the long run, and it’s gotten easier. I know kids who have been in the same school district with the same friends their entire lives, and they tell me how hard they think it will be to make friends in college. I don’t really worry about that. I’ve done it so many times that I’m kind of used to it.”

South golf coach Tom Hill said Cenci usually posts an average score of around 40-41 on the par-36 course, but what’s amazing the fifth-year coach the most is how steady and even-keeled his golfer is out on the links. “Jack’s full of character and just a great competitor,” Hill said. “He cares about the sport and always gives full effort. He never comes across as cocky and is just a good teammate who can relate well to others on the course, even the opposing team. Some guys can get distracted by other players or express discontent over a shot that didn’t go in. In terms of attitude and mannerisms, Jack is as steady as anyone.”

Although golf is his number one sport, Cenci also contributes to the lacrosse team. “Jack is an amazing young man,” coach Mike Strayline said. “He works very hard during the offseason while still managing to play golf and maintain his academics. Jack’s a leader amongst his peers and will play a great role in our success this season.”

Cenci – whose dream college is Penn State - plans to major in electrical engineering and would love to explore playing either sport at the club level should he be granted admission.

To read Cenci’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/jack-cenci-0080159