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. 6, 2020
Laura Pendleton will never forget the feeling of having a PIAA Championship gold medal placed around her neck. She considers it one of the greatest accomplishments of her swimming career. The fact that she wasn’t actually a member of Upper Dublin’s gold medal-winning 400 freestyle relay team does not, in any way, lessen the significance of the moment for her. To the then-freshman, the gesture made by the medal-winning foursome highlights the team atmosphere that Pendleton cherishes about the Flying Cardinals’ girls’ swimming and diving team. For the relay members, it was a token of thanks to a swimmer without whom they might not have been competing in the event finals. “My freshman year I swam in the 400 free relay and we qualified for states,” Pendleton explained. “Because of the schedule at states, and because sometimes you have girls swimming in an individual event right before a relay they’re in, you put different swimmers in for the prelims.”
So Pendleton competed during the preliminary heat, filling in for a teammate who swam the 100 breaststroke one event earlier. The Cardinals qualified for the finals, where Pendleton gladly handed off her spot in the relay. “They won the gold, and following that relay, they came up to me with their medals and put them on me,” Pendleton said. “That’s what being a teammate is all about. I did my part to help the team. The other neat thing about it is that the other kids notice it. It’s something you’ve worked together to earn. That’s part of being a team player, that’s what you do for your teammates and for your team.” It wasn’t a one-time event, either. In all three of her years on the team, Pendleton has swum in the prelims knowing she would not swim in the finals of the 400 free relay. And even if she wasn’t supremely talented (which she is—she’s got numerous postseason medals as well as current and former pool and school records to prove it), it’s that selfless attitude that truly elevates the type of athlete and person Pendleton is.
It’s also part of what makes her an ideal captain for the 2019-20 Upper Dublin girls’ swimming and diving team that is seeking to extend its remarkable league championship run to 31 years and has its eye on placing swimmers, relays, and even the team atop the district and state podiums at the end of the season. “She’s a talented swimmer, she’s a great leader and a great example for the younger kids to look up to, both because of her intensity and work ethic, and because of her willingness to do whatever we ask her to do to help the team,” UD coach Pat Redican said. “She’s the one showing (the younger kids) how to do it right, either by talking and sharing ideas with the girls, or just by going out there and giving it her all.”
Pendleton assumed the same role in the fall as a captain on the girls’ soccer team, though her role was much different. After two varsity seasons of winning records and district appearances, this year’s soccer team found itself a young, inexperienced group following the graduation of last season’s large senior class. Rather than leading her team to postseason successes, Pendleton—along with co-captain Julia Eustace—was counted on to help mold the young unit, keep the players focused, and develop team unity and chemistry. As far as coach Chuck Gesing is concerned, there aren’t many kids better suited for such an assignment than Pendleton. “Laura is so mature and such a good communicator,” he said. “She understands what it takes to be successful. Yes, she’s a fantastic athlete. She’s a great leader. But the thing that really separates her is the selflessness and the willingness to keep working and keep doing what’s best for the team.”
Pendleton is as impressive in the classroom as she is in the pool and on the soccer pitch. She’s carrying numerous AP-level classes this year, is on the board of the National Honor Society, and has participated in several other service and academic clubs throughout her high school years. She’s still looking at “a long list” of colleges, though she knows she wants to pursue a degree in Biology or Health Sciences.
To read Pendleton’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/laura-pendleton-0089115
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Jan 6, 2020
Josh McGovern doesn’t need a lot of fanfare. As a matter of fact, the Quakertown senior doesn’t need any, preferring instead to quietly go about his business. Mention McGovern’s name to his coaches, and they echo similar sentiments. “He’s a team guy, which is great,” Quakertown baseball coach Jon Pallone said. “He’s involved in Mini-THON with the school. Some kids do it to jack up their resume or do it because they want their name out there. He does it because he wants to be a good guy, which is so commendable. He’s up there in his class (ranking). He’s such a good athlete and such a good person too.”
“He’s a super nice kid, quiet,” Quakertown football coach George Banas said. “He just goes about his business. He’s super positive, not a rah rah guy, but he is the guy who would talk to people and say – ‘Okay, let’s go, we can get through this.’ He led by example. I have him in the classroom, and he’s the same way. He goes about his business – does his work, hands it in, helps others when he needs to.” A two-way starter for the football team, McGovern was the recipient of a Mini Maxwell from the Maxwell Club. “They look for well-rounded kids,” Banas said. “Whenever we have community events, he’s always there and helping out. Again, he went about his business. He’s not a guy that expresses himself a whole lot on the field. He does his job, shuts down wide receivers. He’s a really good open field tackler, and he’s just as nice as can be – please, thank you, yes sir, no sir. He does exactly what you ask him to do, never complains, never goes into our training room to get out of practice or anything like that. He’s a super solid kid.”
With football season behind him, McGovern is preparing for his final high school baseball season when he will have his first opportunity to play varsity. He is matter-of-fact about his stint on the junior varsity. “Last year we had 13 seniors graduate – they were a really good class above us,” McGovern said. “No one was upset or making a scene about it.” McGovern, according to Pallone, was a victim of numbers. “Last year’s team was probably the best offensive team I’ve had in all my years,” the Panthers’ coach said. “The year before, Josh was probably the best hitter on jayvee, but we just didn’t have a spot in the (varsity) lineup for him. We wanted to make sure he’d be ready to go and step in for us this year, so he stayed on jayvee. We shifted his position a couple of times since he’s been a freshman. He just takes it in stride. He’s a smart kid, he picks it up quick.”
As much as McGovern enjoys both football and baseball, he will not be playing either at the collegiate level. “I’m just going to college for academics,” he said. McGovern played his final competitive football game at Pennridge on Thanksgiving Day. “It was tough,” he said. “I was pretty emotional, even after the last home game against Academy Park – it was pretty sad. The student section, the band, the cheerleaders and the fans come out to our games – it’s amazing, and the players appreciate it so much. Coach Banas does a great job running the program and making sure the players are doing their jobs but also making it so they’re enjoying it. He makes it fun for all the players.”
As for his future, McGovern has already been accepted at Penn State and Drexel and is still waiting to hear from Lehigh. He plans to pursue an engineering major. An excellent student, McGovern is taking four AP classes. “His GPA is off the charts,” Banas said. “I think it’s 4.3 weighted and he’s fourth in the class. He’s our number one male in the class. He’s a good teammate, he’s a good baseball player, and it’s the same thing – super quiet, does his job. He’s just super consistent, steady eddy. He’s just a great program kid.”
To read McGovern’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/josh-mcgovern-0089110