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. 20, 2020
Soon enough, Meghan Reilly started to hear the whispers from the girls on her William Tennent swim team: Victoria Ferro was making a comeback. This fact delighted Reilly, as the coach admitted she was disappointed when Ferro, a talented swimmer and diver, walked away from the program after freshman year to focus on her academics. And who was Reilly to argue? After all, she is a schoolteacher first, and work in the classroom comes before everything else. Still, Reilly said the team missed Ferro’s bubbly, outgoing personality, not to mention the fact that she was a willing diver, and those don’t grow on trees in the Suburban One. “Over this past summer, I had a bunch of different swimmers reach out and tell me, ‘Hey, Tori is thinking of coming back, is that something she can do?’” Reilly recalled. “And I told them absolutely, there’s not a reason someone can’t come back, especially if they miss the sport. She decided to come back because she wanted to have fun her senior year. I told her we’d love to have her. The thing about Tori is, she’s always willing to try new dives.”
In a world where many high school student-athletes drive themselves mad competing in sports with the hope of getting a college scholarship, Ferro’s story is a breath of fresh air. Also a goalkeeper on the Tennent soccer team, Ferro participates mainly for the love of her chosen sports, as well as the camaraderie she gets to share with her teammates. “I came back because I love the people,” she said. “Everyone there made me feel so much better about myself. They always made me smile. Plus, I really love diving and felt that I was good at it, and a chance to come back and do well put me in a much better mood.”
Ferro certainly has no regrets about deciding to return. Not only has she found the fulfillment and enjoyment that was missing during her hiatus, but she’s getting results, too. In a recent Senior Day meet against Cheltenham, Ferro took first place in her diving events, and the genuine surprise and delight on her face was infectious for the entire team. “Tori is a natural athlete,” Tennent diving coach Chuck Venuto said. “It’s not a sport where you just get back on the bike and go like you always have, but she’s such an athlete that she can pull off some dives like she’s been doing them her entire life. You can’t just teach someone the determination she has. She’s elevated the level of competitiveness and overall excitement of the sport by osmosis. Tori has been a very delightful addition to the team.”
Ferro commands respect on the field, which allowed her to be a two-time captain of the soccer team despite the fact that she only really saw significant varsity minutes as a senior this past season. “She’s a great communicator, and the girls follow her,” coach Bill Hontz said. “The way she communicates, it’s more controlled than a yell. She knows exactly how to motivate them.” All of Ferro’s coaches painted a similar picture of a young woman who is universally loved. Her teammates gravitate toward her and her coaches rely on her to be a calming presence.
Ferro is so much more than just a two-sport athlete at the school. She boasts a 3.7 GPA, and she loaded up her schedule with all kinds of honors classes. Ferro is mostly drawn to math-based classes, and plans on majoring in Secondary Math Education in college. She’s not sure where she’s going yet, but did get into all four schools she applied to — Temple, West Chester, Millersville and Penn State — so the choice remains hers.
To read Ferro’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/victoria-ferro-0089384
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Jan 20, 2020
Mention the name Jeremiah Alexander to those who know the Bensalem senior best, and it’s a safe bet they will throw out phrases like ‘awesome kid’ to describe him. “Everyone who crosses paths with him says the same thing because he’s such a good kid,” Bensalem basketball coach Ron Morris said. Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? In this case, it’s not. Alexander has known more than his share of adversity, but during the tough times, he’s refused to let his circumstances define him. “I wouldn’t walk around upset because it’s nobody else’s fault, so I wouldn’t treat somebody bad because of the situation I’m in when they don’t know what’s going on, so I walked around with a smile on my face because I always thought tomorrow would be a better day,” Alexander said.
That ever-present smile has not gone unnoticed by an Owls’ basketball squad that is at the top of the SOL National Conference standings. “He’s just a phenomenal kid,” Morris said. “He’s respectful, he appreciates everything everyone does for him, he’s ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and he goes out of his way to help people. You would never know that anything was going on outside of school or basketball because he’s always smiling. When he’s smiling, we’re at our best because our kids see it, and they feed off of it. He’s a natural leader.”
Alexander, who resided in the Pennsbury School District, competed in three sports in seventh and eight grades. In eighth grade, he was invited to try out for the New Jersey Connection on the AAU basketball circuit, and he made the team. He appeared to be on the fast track to something special but then – except for a few jayvee games freshman year – he did not play high school basketball as a freshman or sophomore. “I’ve had family situations - my family became homeless,” Alexander said. “My 10th grade year it was the same situation. I missed everything that had to do with basketball. It was tough because I wasn’t with my mom all the time and I knew she needed me. Towards the end of my 10th grade year, we were in a homeless shelter, and I finished out 10th grade at Pennsbury. In the summertime, they helped my mom find an apartment in Bensalem.”
In mid-October, Alexander enrolled at Bensalem and found more than a basketball team. “He’s like one of my kids – I’d do anything for him and any of my players,” Morris said. “I always tell my kids we don’t say ‘family’ because it’s trendy, so when we say it, we really mean it. If one of the players has something going on, we’re all involved. Whether it’s positive or negative, we’re there for each other. It’s truly a tight-knit group of kids that have come a long way in a short amount of time.” Morris can’t say enough good things about his senior captain, who plans to play collegiate basketball. “Usually kids in that environment end up going down the wrong path,” the Owls’ coach said. “When you meet Jerry and talk to Jerry, he’s the total opposite. I keep telling him, ‘Just keep being you. Basketball will take care of itself.’ Our philosophy as coaches has always been – it’s our job to teach these guys to be a better young man today than you were yesterday, and if you continue with that philosophy of being a better young man, basketball is going to take care of itself.
Alexander’s impact on the team is impossible to measure. “He just has those leadership qualities that continue to flourish and help us win basketball games but more importantly help all of us become better people,” Morris said. “Ever since he’s come here, our team has become a better team because of him and not even basketball-wise. He’s always helping other people. He always says – you don’t have to have anything to help someone. There are other people worse off than me.’ He always looks at the positive side.”
To read Alexander’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/jeremiah-alexander-0089383