Postseason honors continue to roll in for locals playing college sports and call for another round of Higher Education Yahoo Awards.
Postseason honors for two Schuylkill County gridders – Lebanon Valley junior linebacker Frank Gaffney of Blue Mountain and Lycoming junior safety Tanner Troutman of Tri-Valley – have been coming in bunches recently.
Both were named first team defense on the D3football.com All-East Region Team, and Troutman was selected as Defensive Player of the Year. Troutman became the first first-team d3football.com All-American in Lycoming’s history, while Gaffney was named a second team d3football.com All-American. Both were selected Beyond Sports Network All-Americans, Gaffney to the second team and Troutman to the third team.
Gaffney is the Middle Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, given to the nation’s top small-college defensive player.
What did they do to deserve all these honors, you ask?
Gaffney led the nation in solo sacks with 13, led LVC with 82 tackles (60 solo and 19.5 for loss), broke up five passes and blocked three PATs. He helped lead LVC to the MAC title and its first-ever NCAA appearance.
Troutman finished the season tied for the national lead in interceptions with eight, recorded 58 tackles, broke up six passes and tied for the MAC lead in passes defended (picks and break-ups) with 14.
The MAC has announced its inaugural fall Academic All-Conference teams. The award is a new one aimed at special recognition for the top scholar-athletes in each fall sport. There are three local selections: LVC sophomore cross country runner (and conference Runner of the Year) Kelsey Patrick of Tamaqua, Misericordia sophomore men’s cross country runner Mikael Hause of Mount Carmel and King’s junior quarterback Tyler Hartranft of Blue Mountain.
In addition, the MAC has announced its fall All-Academic Honor Roll. Local student-athletes named to the team, in addition to Patrick, Hause and Hartranft, are Albright senior volleyball player Christa Mantz of Panther Valley; Arcadia sophomore women’s soccer player Caitlin Liscinski of Jim Thorpe; from Delaware Valley, sophomore women’s soccer player Gabrielle Montone of Blue Mountain, sophomore women’s cross country runner Emmarose Boyle of Marian and sophomore volleyball player Emily Gerhard of Schuylkill Haven.
Also, from DeSales, senior volleyball player Emilie Baker of Nativity, LVC women’s cross country runner senior Alyssa Miller of Schuylkill Haven, and several football players – senior Dylan Smith of Williams Valley and juniors Tyler Laudeman of North Schuylkill and Adam Soltys of Pine Grove.
Also, Lycoming senior football player Matt McGinley of Tri-Valley and juniors Jude Bubeck of Blue Mountain (football) and Laura Cinicola of Marian (volleyball); from Misericordia, senior football player Joseph Winter of Nativity and sophomore men’s soccer player Jon Grybos of Shamokin; Stevenson sophomore men’s cross country runner Grier Melick of Lourdes; Widener sophomore women’s cross country runners Brianna and Taylor Englert of Pottsville; and Wilkes sophomore volleyball player Megan Powers of Pottsville.
An academic HEY also goes to Chestnut Hill College senior women’s cross country runner Allison Eberly of Blue Mountain. Eberly, who is also captain and right side setter of the Chestnut Hill volleyball team, was selected to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Women’s Cross Country team.
Not only does Eberly play two fall sports simultaneously, she carries a 3.85 grade-point average with a dual chemistry and molecular biology major, is active in college activities and honor societies and practically lives on the Dean’s List.
She competed in three cross country events and 29 volleyball matches, in which she recorded 188 assists, 14 service aces and 29 digs.
Penn State Schuylkill sophomore men’s soccer player Tom Orwig of Blue Mountain has been named to the USCAA Academic All-America team and was an honorable mention on the PSUAC All-Conference team. Orwig is a midfielder and goalkeeper for PSU Schuylkill.
Rolling on the water
I’d venture a guess that Schuylkill County has never been the site of a collegiate rowing – also known as crew – competition.
It’s certainly not a sport found in any county high schools. But that has not stopped Pine Grove graduate John Deibler from earning a seat on one of Division I Drexel’s varsity eight sculls as a sophomore.
Deibler, who wrestled, played football (he was a lineman and the Cardinals’ football scholar-athlete) and was a track and field thrower at Pine Grove, had never had any relationship with the sport of crew before matriculating at Drexel. But he was grabbed by Drexel’s rowing coach at freshman orientation and recruited for the team.
Perhaps the fact Deibler goes about 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and is into extreme physical fitness activities may have had something to do with it.
The chemical engineering major couldn’t fit crew in his freshman year due to his study schedule, but he’s gung ho now and rowing regularly for the Dragons.
There will be more to come on Deibler and D-I rowing in a future column.
– Temple University junior track and field runner Kaitlyn McSurdy of North Schuylkill was fourth in the 500-meter run and ran a leg on the winning 1,600 relay team at the Jack Pyrah Invitational.
– Meanwhile, Keystone College freshman Dan McSurdy (North Schuylkill) was 12th in the 60-meter dash and ran a leg on the school record-breaking 800 relay team which finished third at the Bow-Tie Classic.
– A third North Schuylkill grad, Shippensburg women’s basketball player sophomore Caitlyn Deeter, tallied a career-high 18 points and had five steals in a win over Pitt-Johnstown.
– Philadelphia University junior guard Nick Schlitzer of Pottsville scored a season-high 24 points in a win over Goldey-Beacom. He’s averaging 16.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
– California University of Pennsylvania sophomore forward Josh Dombrosky of Shenandoah Valley scored five points and pulled down two boards in 10 minutes of play to help the Vulcans to a 50-49 win over Cheyney. Dombrosky has made two starts for the Vulcans (4-6).
(MacLaughlin’s college notebook appears biweekly during the collegiate calendar. Send items to him in care of Sports Editor Leroy Boyer at [email protected])