Univest Featured Athletes (Wk. 12-20-17)

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 (Week of Dec. 20, 2017)

Everyone strives to leave a legacy for those who follow in their footsteps, to add their page to an already existing story. Rebecca Pendleton is one of a select few who didn’t merely write her page, she started the book. And whatever future chapters hold in the Upper Dublin girls’ water polo story, that story began with a then-freshman who fell in love with a new sport and took an awfully big risk to pursue it. “Our assistant swim coach (Chris Ianni) coached the boys’ water polo team,” Pendleton said. “I had no idea what water polo was. I didn’t even know until our first practice in the spring of my freshman year. I tried it in the spring and I absolutely loved it. I love swimming and I love the water, so it had that. And I love being part of a team, and swimming can be individual. So this included that team sport aspect into it as well. It was really a perfect fit.”

As the Cardinals were looking to field their first team the following fall, they still needed enough girls to fill out the roster. And learn the game. Up stepped Pendleton, who not only studied the game but also recruited swimmers to join the team. “Somehow we managed to get enough girls out that first year,” said Pendleton, who was named captain of that first squad as a sophomore. This fall, in just its third year of existence, the Upper Dublin girls’ water polo team earned a berth in states, finishing eighth. “That may have seemed far-fetched in the beginning, but now people can believe me,” said Pendleton, who this past fall earned third team all-state honors. “Rebecca is a great leader,” Ianni said. “She built up the team. She’s the one who rallied up 12, 15 girls to start a team, introduced the game to a lot of her teammates. She would not only get in the water and help kids out, but she would push them to the next level. She sets the example. She didn’t miss a practice in three years. She’s really good at setting goals and she finds a way to achieve them. She has a tremendous work ethic.”

Already a three-year captain in water polo, Pendleton was named one of three captains of the swimming team this winter. “I watch Rebecca take kids who are a little reluctant to do things and get them involved,” coach Pat Redican said. “We have our power group, the sprinters who do a lot of lifting, and in the weight room, she’s the kind of kid when we bring a freshman or sophomore, she’s lifting with them, showing them immediately how to do the right things. That’s the kind of kid she is.”

Pendleton also excels in the classroom and is a member of the school’s National Honor Society. She is still narrowing down her choices for college. Ideally, she’d love to find a school where she can play water polo and swim while she pursues a degree in geology.

To read Pendleton’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/rebecca-pendleton-0074833

Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of Dec. 20, 2017)

Alan Nicholl has his own idea for all but guaranteed success on the soccer pitch. “Give me 11 Dan Maggios and I’ll give you a team that never loses,” the Council Rock South soccer coach said. Nicholl had just one Maggio this fall, and the senior midfielder earned MVP honors. “His movement, ball control, focus and dedication to improving his game was one of the best I’ve seen,” the Golden Hawks’ coach said. “His growth over the past few years has been amazing. He was an undersized ninth grader but had an advanced skillset, and I knew he would be a serious contributor as he matured.” A varsity starter since his sophomore year, Maggio entered his senior season as the team’s most experienced offensive player. “I remember during preseason being blown away by how much he had grown,” Nicholl said. “While I have always been impressed with his speed, it was how lean, strong and confident he was that turned my head. I knew he would be a serious force for even the best defenders in our league, which says a lot, so we built our offense around him.”

Beyond his obvious skillset, Maggio’s commitment to the team was underscored this past fall when his grandfather, George Akelsen, who had struggled with health issues passed away. “I offered him some time off to be with his family and grieve as needed,” Nicholl said. “In typical Dan fashion, he opted to do his healing on the field. He didn’t miss any time with the team as soccer provided the comfort he needed. It’s a great example of Dan’s commitment to his team, the game and the impact it’s had in his life. He is a serious competitor, and I was genuinely inspired by the overall commitment he made on a daily basis.”

This past fall, Maggio – although not a captain – was both a leader and role model for Rock South’s soccer team. “He was consistently the most industrious engine on the field, and as a result, he rarely came out of the game,” Nicholl said. “He was the team MVP on account of how much we relied on his offensive prowess. I fear to think of how we’d have fared without him. I seriously hope our younger players took notice of what a leader is and the effort and dedication it takes to have success. I have no doubt any coach in the state would consider themselves lucky to have him in their respective programs.”

Soccer will be part of Maggio’s future although he has not made a final college choice with Scranton, DeSales, Montclair State and Eastern all under consideration. Wherever me may find himself next fall, Maggio plans to enroll in the ROTC program.

To read Maggio’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/dan-maggio-0074894