Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 1-24-18)

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 Jan. 24, 2019

Every team needs an Emily CooperAt least that’s the way Scott Coles tells it, and listening the to North Penn volleyball coach explain why players like Cooper are a ‘must have,’ it’s impossible to argue his point.

“When you think about athletes you want on your team, you always want an Emily Cooper,” the Knights’ second-year coach said. “There’s no drama, you don’t worry about them, they’re happy to play, they’re happy to be on the bench and cheer, they’re happy to come to practice, they always have a good attitude, and (they’re) really just ideal all the way around.” There’s no mistaking that Cooper turned out to be a perfect fit as the setter for Coles’ volleyball team, and her story is an interesting one.

Cooper – affectionately known as Coop - was a newcomer to the team and the school as a sophomore transfer from Lansdale Catholic, and she’s a walking advertisement for the value of participating in sports when you’re the new kid on the block. “I was very nervous because I didn’t know anyone,” Cooper said. “I went to Catholic school from first to (ninth grade), so I knew mostly everyone there.We had 200 kids in my grade and now there’s almost 1200 kids in my grade. I was definitely worried, but I was lucky volleyball was a fall sport because I got to go even before school started, so I got to get used to the school and I made my friends. Basically, my friend group is my volleyball friends.”

As a sophomore, Cooper earned a spot on the jayvee team and the following year was the starting setter for the varsity, a job she held for all of one point in the Knights’ season opener at Abington when she broke a finger and was sidelined until the Knights’ final matches. “She missed so much of that year, but exactly as you would hope, she sat next to me on the bench every match, she came to every practice, she was doing stuff with the team,” Coles said. “It was so valuable for me to have her there. I was finally able to get her back in at the end of the season.” Despite missing the majority of her junior season, Cooper was elected a captain this year. “I didn’t know how much I missed her junior year until she came back as a senior – she’s so good,” Coles said. “Just her presence on the court is what I love about her. She has the pulse of the team. I ask her a question, and she gives me a straight answer. Literally, you see her after a match or after a practice, the girls are around her. You look in the gym and you see – ‘Coop, where are you going after practice?’ ‘Coop, can you give me a ride?’ It’s Coop this, Coop that. She’s always smiling, always knows exactly what’s happening.”

Cooper is also one of the managers of the boys’ volleyball team. Away from volleyball, she is involved in student government as a member of the senate. She also is part of the club that is planning Mini-THON. Cooper has applied to West Chester, East Stroudsburg, Delaware, Temple and Penn State. She will major in exercise science and plans to continue playing volleyball at either the intramural or club level.

To read Cooper’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/emily-cooper-0082672

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Jan. 24, 2019

To truly excel in the sport of wrestling, one must not only fully commit to its physical demands, but also the war waged on mind and spirit. This is true in most competitive sports, sure, but anyone who’s ever been around serious wrestlers knows they are a rare breed, from adhering to an insanely strict diet to grueling workouts designed to shave off pounds in short intervals in order to hit an exact weight before a match. Gunnar Fuss has been one of the crazy ones since he began wrestling competitively at 8 or 9 years old. He, like many accomplished wrestlers, wear the sport’s rigorous demands like a badge of honor, knowing full well that if you can master it, there are few other challenges that will seem daunting.“I read a quote once that said ‘Once you wrestle, everything in life is easier,’” said Fuss, a senior at Harry S Truman High School. “That’s definitely true. You have to be disciplined to go through it. Wrestling is all about practice. Nothing is guaranteed in the sport; it’s all earned. There’s no going through the motions. You can’t just show up to practice; you have to get one percent better every day. Keep improving, and at some point that’s going to pay off. But it’s a long process, and it’s not one you can just jump back into after weeks away, like you can in football.It takes weeks just to get your body into shape enough to wrestle a match. And it’s not just the physical; mentally, it just makes you stronger as a person and athlete to the point where you feel like you can overcome all obstacles.”

Fuss practices what he preaches, and the proof is in the pudding. As he approaches the end of his final high school season, Fuss has been the model for consistency when it comes to personal domination. He’s wrestled in 146 matches as of this writing, winning 125 of them (including a 23-3 mark this season, and he’s currently wrestling in the 132-pound weight class). Fuss has won three SOL National titles in three tries, as well as three District 1 East championships. Fuss won a 2018 Southeast Regional crown and has qualified for the PIAA state tournament in each of the last three years, placing 8th and earning a medal as a junior. Now, with little time left, Fuss has become singularly focused on his last unchecked box in his list of wrestling achievements: win a gold medal at states. 

An outstanding student as well, Dunn will continue his wrestling career at Columbia University.“Gunnar has an unparalleled ability to balance his wrestling and academics, and that was a selling point that stood out to coaches who recruited him,” coach Jesse Dunn said. “He’s earned that ability that he’s developed strictly through hard work. On the mat, he’s the whole package. There may be kids across the state who can outwrestle and out-finesse him, but I’d be surprised if there are any kids as strong as Gunnar physically.His wrestling IQ is very high. Not only that, but he can maintain his composure even when he’s down. He’ll just view the score as 0-0, and if there’s still time on the clock, there’s still time to win. He’s trailed in big important matches in his career, and he just finds a way. He’s had a vision on where he’s wanted to go for years, and he’s stayed the course.”

To read Fuss’ complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/gunnar-fuss-0082673