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 April 19, 2018)
To read Kolkka’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/sophie-kolkka-0077479
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete (Week of April 19, 2018)
At first, Frankie Yanni just wanted to become a better tennis player for familial bragging rights. Then, it became a labor of love and something to strive for after a big-time medical scare. Yanni, a senior tennis player at North Penn, didn’t start his sport of choice as a young tyke like so many other student-athletes. He realized he loved tennis by watching it on television – his all-time favorite athlete is the great Roger Federer – but first, he had to get better to quiet down his cousins. Yanni was around 13 years old when he realized he had bigger tennis aspirations than just besting his cousins during informal matches, and this time in his life coincided with a frightening medical prospect.
While being checked by a school nurse for scoliosis in eighth grade, which he found out he had, the nurse suggested further testing in fear that something else might be going on. Yanni’s mother, who works at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, helped facilitate an appointment with an orthopedist at the hospital. After a two-hour MRI examined Yanni from the top of his head to the base of his spine, it was discovered he had a condition called Chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. While it is a condition present at birth, it is often not discovered until adolescence. Yanni was sent to a neurosurgeon, and it was quickly decided that he would need to undergo brain surgery. “I was in the hospital for three days, but everything with surgery went well,” he said. “I had to put off my tennis training for about three months, and I was dying to get back out on the court.”
Following surgery, Yanni dealt with some side effects, namely lethargy, dizziness and headaches, and once he got back on the tennis court, it was as if he was a beginner all over again. He trained for 15 minutes at a time, then increased to 30, then an hour. All the while he was getting his form back, he continued to watch tennis constantly on television.
In the time since his surgery, Yanni has developed into North Penn’s No. 1 singles player. His biggest accomplishment at the high school level was last year winning the Suburban One Continental Tournament in both singles and doubles. Toby Watton has been the tennis coach at North Penn for 47 years, so he’s had more players than he can count over the years. However, something special about Yanni stuck out almost immediately. “Some kids start when they are five or six years old, so he’s essentially accomplished what he has in half the time compared to other players,” Watton said. “So, in addition to what he has overcome physically, he’s got great athletic ability and has overcome additional adversity to be able to make up for lost time in facing kids who may have double the tennis experience he does. He keeps within himself and has great physical ability.”
Yanni will continue his tennis career at Millersville University where he plans to study special education with the aspirations of becoming a teacher.
To read Yanni’s complete profile, please click on the following link: http://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/frank-yanni-0077488