Thanks to our continued partnership with Univest Financial, SuburbanOneSports.com will once again recognize a male and female featured athlete each week. The recognition is given to seniors of high character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams or who have overcome adversity. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete (Week 4)
No one could have foreseen the season that Lucy Ruppel is enjoying as a senior driver on the Upper Dublin girls’ water polo team …not even Ruppel herself. In fact, back when she was preparing to first step through the doors of Upper Dublin High School, Ruppel envisioned her future athletic successes would come on the grass fields, not in the pool. “I had played soccer, and softball was my main sport when I was younger,” Ruppel said. “In all honesty, I hate swimming, even to this day. I tried doing high school swimming, I tried during Covid for the social aspect, just to be with other people and to be part of a team. But swimming just wasn’t for me. I had no interest in playing water polo coming into high school. A week before preseason, the high school team had a scrimmage that was more like a practice. My friend Emma (McCarthy) brought me and told me, ‘You’re going in.’ I was thrown into the game with no experience at all. Even after that, it took a week before I figured, ‘All right, I guess I’ll try it.’ If you were to tell me then that I’d still be playing water polo, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Yet here she is, a captain on a Cardinals’ squad that came into this week with an 8-4 record. In her first full season as a starter, Ruppel has seen her playing time dramatically increase, and she and the Cardinals are reaping the benefits. Ruppel had accumulated 24 goals in her first three seasons in the pool. A dozen games into her final campaign, she’s already found the net 35 times. But Ruppel’s importance to the team extends far beyond the scorebook. “Lucy has been outstanding for us this year,” said Cardinals’ water polo coach Chris Ianni. “She’s developed into a great leader. She’s taken the role and run with it. She provides positive energy. She’s worked hard these past 4 years and developed into a varsity starter last year, and she’s improved even more this year. She’s smart about the game, picks up on everything, listens well. She has a great balance of being able to work hard while also providing positive energy—she’s our hype machine, she will energize the team, make sure people are cheering, getting excited for the game.”
Ruppel’s journey of adapting and overcoming obstacles mirrors the path that the water polo team has traveled the last several years. Ruppel’s sophomore season was played in empty natatoriums during the Covid pandemic. Her junior year was thrown into disarray when Hurricane Ida hit the area on the first day of the 2021-22 school year and a tornado severely damaged the roof of the natatorium. As a result, all Upper Dublin home games were played in opposing teams’ pools, and practices were held at local swim clubs and other school districts’ pools. Ruppel’s leadership was on full display in the wake of the damage, as she stepped up to help raise funds and to make sure her teammates and neighbors were safe and secure. “Lucy was one of the first kids who was asking, ‘What can we do?’” Ianni said. “She was working with the Sunny Willow summer swim club manager putting together donations, aid for those that needed. She always has other people’s interests at heart. We had one girl and one boy hit pretty hard, and that’s tough to overcome. Lucy played a big part making sure she was getting everyone together and being there for each other.” Ruppel helped organize the Sunny Willow Storm Aid Fund, going around the area collecting cash or Venmo donations and purchasing gift cards to donate to the Red Cross for families impacted by the hurricane. In all, around $500 was raised to help those in need.
Ruppel isn’t just a one-sport athlete, either. Once water polo season ends, she’ll be polishing up her bowling ball for one last season on the lanes for Upper Dublin. She also serves as a delegate on the board of the school’s National Honor Society, and she remains a part of the softball team as the squad’s manager. She’s coordinating a senior project benefitting Stomp Out Stigma, which provides mental health awareness, and Abbey’s Bakery, a local organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention resources in the area.
To read Ruppel’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/lucy-ruppel-00102969
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete
To the outside world, it is often called “coach speak.” Within the sports world, though, what may sound clichéd to naysayers is practically scripture. What a coach says about an athlete is often all that needs to be said about who and what he or she is all about. Such is the case with C.B. East soccer coach Josh Isaacsohn and senior Josh Daniels. “It’s truly my pleasure to have Josh Daniels as one of the leaders of the CB East soccer team,” said Isaacsohn. “Josh is the epitome of what a coach looks for.”
Daniels – according to Isaacsohn, checks all the boxes:
-Individual high standards
-A team player
-A team leader and an overall incredible role model to his friends and younger players.
“Josh is the captain you can count on no matter time, place or circumstance,” continued Isaacsohn. “On the field, Josh has proven to be an asset both defensively and offensively. His ability to mix hard-nosed soccer with proper positioning, long throws and crisp passing are vital to our team's success. Additionally, Josh can always be counted on to exhibit consistent hustle, sportsmanship, focus and soccer smarts. When these traits are combined with his can-do attitude, leadership and work ethic, he proves what a tremendous player -- but more importantly, the distinguished and exceptional young man he is.”
Chris Pierangeli has had the unique experience of coaching Daniels when he played JV soccer as a freshman and then as his track coach, come the winter and spring seasons. He, too, has seen him as the ideal athlete to coach. “Josh is one of the most committed and hard-working kids I have coached,” said Pierangeli. “He is willing to put in the extra work when no one is watching and will always push his teammates to do their best.” Daniels gave up basketball to give track a go, but initially did it to stay in shape for soccer. As it has turned out, the track experiment has yielded a significant impact. Daniels just missed the cutoff for states last spring as part of the 4x800 relay unit. Said Pierangeli: “He came out for track for the first time as a sophomore and by the end of the season was one of our top three runners in the 800, helping his team qualify for districts. Last year, we challenged him to tackle more mileage and he became our best miler, qualifying for the SOL League Championships after shaving 20 seconds off his starting time. Meanwhile, he remained a core member of the 4x800 that once again qualified for Districts and finished top 10. I can’t wait to see what he does senior year.”
By his own admission, Daniels likes to keep moving. When not involved in soccer (which included playing for Buckingham United since he was 8), he shines in the classroom and is involved in various extracurricular activities (National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and the Key Club). He also works several jobs (at a gym, a restaurant and refereeing/coaching youth soccer). Somewhere in there, he finds time to maintain a 4.35 GPA while taking 5 AP classes and 2 honors classes. With Statistics or Actuarial Science looming as a major, he has done all the calculations and come out with the realizations that it’s either Division III soccer or a larger school, such as the University of Florida, where he will feel more comfortable in the environment and can still play club soccer.
This year, with a heavily taped ankle, he is looking for big things for a team that is out to a 9-3 start. Daniels has a no-pain, no-gain mentality. He said: “During soccer games, during the end, when it goes double overtime, or in track meets, I just say to myself, ‘Don’t give up. It’s going to hurt now, but it’s going to be worth it in 5-10 minutes.’” On the practice field, and in games, Daniels is determined to lead the way as best he can. “I try to lead in everything I can do,” he said. “I just try to pay attention at practice and keep everyone locked in and focused before games, On the field, during games, I like to think I’m a leader also. I talk a lot. I just try to do the best I can. I feel there is no point in playing at all unless you are going 100 percent, so I just try my hardest.”
To read Daniels’ complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/josh-daniels-00102972