Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 1-17-19)

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 Jan. 17, 2019

As a freshman, it’s imperative to make a good impression. That means always giving your best efforts, and never missing practice. Of course, maintaining perfect attendance can present its fair share of issues when you’re not old enough to drive and swim practices start early in the mornings. So on mornings when then-frosh Liz Medvedev couldn’t get a ride into school for practice, she’d find other options. Most of the time, that meant biking to practice … often before sunrise … occasionally in sub-freezing temperatures (and then biking home from weekend practices).“I had never had practices in the mornings before,” Medvedev said. “I knew I wanted to get better and I knew that meant getting to every practice, no matter what it took. There wasn’t always someone available to take me, and most of my friends were also freshmen and I didn’t want to burden their parents in the mornings to pick me up that often, so I took matters into my own hands.”

The same drive to improve and passion for the sport that pushed her as a freshman is also part of what makes her an ideal leader as a senior and captain of this year’s Upper Dublin girls’ swim team. “Liz really is a coach’s dream athlete,” said longtime Cardinals’ coach Pat Redican. “She comes in every day, she’s very determined, she sets goals for herself, she’s detailed in the way she approaches swimming, and she understands the sport.”  Few others represent the heart and soul of a team that has dominated the Suburban One American Conference for the past three decades as well as Medvedev does. “She really is a determined young lady,” Redican said. “She’s had her share of close calls. She’s dealt with things that might have made other kids give up. Missing districts by one place twice in a row by tenths of a second, that’s a killer, especially in the 500 free. But she’s never given up. She refocuses, she bounces back every time. And she has such a big heart. That’s what makes her stand out to me. Every year I have the girls fill out goal sheets for the beginning of the year and second half, and in the second half, I ask them who they admire on the team. Almost from day one, Liz was getting a lot of comments from her teammates that they look to because of her work ethic and determination and the way she bounces back.” Naming Medvedev a captain was “natural” according to Redican. “Part of what makes Liz such a natural captain is that everyone is comfortable approaching her and vice versa,” the UD coach said. “She’s definitely become more vocal as a leader this year, but it’s more the encouragement. The girls can look over in practice and see her plugging away, and when they see her going and going, that makes them go too.”

It should come as no surprise that Medvedev attacks her schoolwork with the same tenacity she possesses in the pool. She's taking five Advanced Placement classes in her senior year. A member of the National Honor Society, Medvedev is still considering her college options, which include finding a school with a strong biomedical engineering program as well as emailing swim coaches to find out what she would need to do in order to walk onto the school’s swim team. She is determined to do everything in her power to swim in college. While academics take precedent, Medvedev firmly believes that swimming has helped make her a better student, and she can’t envision a future where the two don’t complement each other.

To read Medvedev’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/liz-medvedev-0082524

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Jan. 17, 2019

It’s no big surprise that Lamont Hasker and Bensalem High School turned out to be a match made in heaven. Both know a thing or two about working tirelessly to overcome obstacles and adversity. Mike McCabe is in his fourth season as head basketball coach of the Owls. By his own admission, Bensalem is one of the more challenging places to helm a program in Suburban One. The league is as deep as it is talented, which makes it difficult enough to make deep postseason runs; on top of that, there are outside factors that come into play, such as academic eligibility issues that have little to do with overall skill level. McCabe wasn’t complaining at all; rather, he was just stating facts, and the conversation was relevant as it pertained to Hasker, his star player and lone returning starter from last year’s senior-heavy group that broke the mold by winning 18 games, good for berths in both the District One tournament (the Owls won their first game on a buzzer-beating three-pointer over local rival Pennsbury) and PIAA state playoffs. 

Hasker was a late bloomer, not signing up for organized basketball until he was in seventh grade, and almost immediately he found the odds stacked against him. He was cut from that seventh grade team, only to barely see the court after making the squad the following year. When Hasker got to high school, he was quickly derailed by a foot injury that required surgery. According to McCabe, Hasker really began to show a lot of growth as a player come sophomore year; however, the player ran into some academic issues that have shadowed him at times during his high school tenure. “Things don’t always come easy to Lamont, academically,” McCabe said. “But what I love the most about him is that he’s never stopped fighting. He’s been through a lot, yet he’s one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet. He always looks me in the eye, shakes my hand and asks me how I’m doing when he sees me. Just a wonderful kid to be around, and he’s experienced so much growth, not even as an athlete, but as a person. He’s come such a long way in how he handles and carries himself.”

After watching Hasker play with so many talented, mature seniors a season ago, McCabe is delighted to see him get the opportunity to captain the ship. It might have been difficult to envision Hasker in this type of role say, two years ago, but he’s earned the opportunity with a relentless work ethic and drive to become the best version of himself that he can be. “Every coach on our staff would tell you the same thing, that the kid just works so hard and has come such a long way,” McCabe said. “He’s put the time in and has never once complained about anything we’ve thrown his way. When he feels he doesn’t play well, he’s actually come and apologized to us. Our message to everyone, especially Lamont, is that in life you’re not here to do it on your own. He struggled academically for a while, yet he never gave up on himself. What I’ll miss most about coaching him is that work ethic he brings, because he is always ready to get after it.” To read Hasker’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/lamont-hasker-0082525