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Student-athletes not only know the meaning of balance, they live it.
Grades, practices, homework, games … they walk that line on a daily basis.
Perhaps it was fitting then Warwick’s signing day on Thursday, Feb. 6 was a picture of, well, balance.
Eight athletes, representing eight different sports, inked their John Hancock on the dotted line in front of family, friends, and coaches.
The following Warriors were honored at the front dais at the high school’s Large Group Instruction (LGI) room:
Tony Deimler will join a West Chester University men’s tennis team which advanced to the PSAC semi-finals last spring. Led by coach Tina Tharp, the Rams also won the regular-season title with a senior-laden lineup.
“I’m really excited,” said Deimler, who went 8-3 for Warwick in the 2013 regular season on his way to an L-L bronze and District fourth-place finish. “I like the team. They had a couple rebuilding years and they’re working up to a higher status in the rankings. It’s a successful team and I like the coach and I like the school.”
The Warwick senior said he was looking at a couple other state schools in Pennsylvania, but that West Chester was easily his number one choice.
“I think I’ll fit right in the middle of the ranks on the team right now, so my goal ultimately by my senior year is to be on top of the team, and just to improve my game,” said Deimler, who play at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row this spring for the Warriors.
Although Brad Zechman played tennis at Rutger’s in the 1980’s, this marked a first for the Warwick boys tennis team to be represented at signing day.
“(Tony) is just a go-getter,” Warwick coach Ron Wanner said. “He knows what he wants to do, he goes after it, he dedicates himself to it, and he’s competitor. Just flat out. That’s his big strength. He’s very strong and he has a lot of power.”
Morgan Haney is following in the footsteps of her older sisters, Ashley and Janelle, who competed in women’s swimming at West Chester University in the early 2000’s.
“I just kinda wanted to continue the family tradition,” Haney said. “(West Chester) is so pretty and the swim team is just so fast and competitive and that’s how I want to continue swimming.”
A two-time State qualifier, Haney is a strong sprint freestyler (50, 100) for the Lady Warriors. She had also looked at Radford University, where former WHS teammate Maddie Schouten is attending, but West Chester was her top choice.
“West Chester was my main school that I looked at,” Haney said. “When I first went there and visited, I was like, ‘This is the school I want to go to and continue my next four years as a swimmer.’”
Austin Myers is looking forward to joining a Kutztown University football team as a receiver in the Golden Bears’ spread offense. Former Warwick star Zach Snyder, who played at KU and is now a graduate assistant coach there, played a role in recruiting Myers to Kutztown.
“They’ll have four or five receivers on the field at all times and they didn’t recruit a lot of outside receivers this year,” said Myers, who plans to study business. “I was one of the few, so I’m happy to be there.”
At 6-foot-3, 191 pounds, Myers earned First-Team Section One honors last fall after hauling in 32 receptions for 553 yards and two TD’s.
“(Kutztown) was in the market for a couple of wideouts,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said. “Austin fits the bill – he runs great patterns, he’s got good speed to go over the top, he’s 6-foot-2!-W, he’s a good target, he’ll be a little bit of a mismatch for some DB’s down the road. I think it’s a great fit for him. They’re looking for a new coach, but I would anticipate them kinda keeping the same base offense considering the pieces they have in place now.”
Myers’ goals are to improve his strength and speed before going to college, but he’s ready for the challenge. Whether he gets redshirted as a freshman remains to be seen, but Myers hopes to get on the field as quickly as possible.
“It’s basically the best player plays which is another reason I wanted to go there,” he remarked. “I’d like to start at least three years and get All-PSAC for a couple of them.”
Warwick baseball star Travis Reapsome has known that his college destination would be Virginia Commonwealth University since the end of his sophomore year, when he gave a verbal commitment to the Rams.
Boston College and St. John’s also expressed interest in the 6-foot-4 lefty fireballer, but VCU was his long-time No. 1 choice.
“I just liked (Virginia Commonwealth) a lot, more than anyone else,” Reapsome said. “I like the area, the campus is really nice, and they share a baseball field with (the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants). I just like the all-around area.”
VCU skipper Shawn Stiffler is friends with Reapsome’s travel team coach, and through that connection, Stiffler saw Reapsome pitch in a tournament a couple years ago and has since continued to follow his development.
“We just built a good relationship,” Reapsome said. “(Stiffler) just works you really hard, he doesn’t let anything go by, so you have to work hard all the time.”
Stiffler’s attention to details have paid off in the form of nine hurlers inking professional contracts since his arrival in Richmond in 2007 as pitching coach.
“I thought about that – it was pretty cool when I saw that,” Reapsome said.
His repertoire consists of three pitches – fastball, curveball, change-up. Reapsome’s fastball has usually been clocked between 87-89 miles an hour, and he’s been working diligently on his change over the winter. That could be bad news for opposing batters, even at VCU, where he is hoping to get some innings in his freshman season.
“(Stiffler) told me I’ll maybe start as a freshman (in) non-conference (games),” Reapsome remarked.
For Warwick softball star Nikole Rottkamp, Millersville University contacted her late in the recruiting process, but it turned out to be a great fit. She had also been looking at Haverford, Lycoming and Dickinson – and she spent an overnight at the latter of those three – but the proximity was a big factor in her deciding to go to MU.
“Millersville contacted me out of nowhere. I was really surprised,” Rottkamp said. “The team was so friendly, the coach (Kathy Cummings) was so nice. She has her door open to the office the whole time and all the girls are in there. It’s just a nice environment. It’s so close to home so that my dad (Kevin) can come see my games, which is really important to me because he’s been my coach the whole time.”
Rottkamp expects to play first base at MU, but she also has the versatility to help out at the catcher and third base positions.
“It’s really whichever one of those three that they need help in, I can step in there,” Rottkamp said.
In the Lady Warriors’ run to the District quarter-finals in 2013, she hit .324 with 16 RBI’s in the middle of the lineup.
“Hitting is my favorite part,” Rottkamp said. “I hit, like, fourth in the lineup, so that’s my favorite part.”
Gavin Schaffer was being recruited in earnest by the men’s volleyball teams at Juniata College, Nazareth College (Rochester, N.Y.), Stevenson University (Md.) and Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.). Ultimately, he picked Belmont Abbey over Stevenson in large part because of the school’s sports management program.
“I really fell in love with that,” Schaffer said. “They just got this new dean of sports management and he really has a lot of connections with the sports and entertainment marketing field and that kind of stuff. Being right next to the city of Charlotte, there’s a lot of connections with, like, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Carolina Panthers, there’s an AHL team that plays there, so it’s a great area.”
Schaffer, a 6-foot-5 left-handed outside hitter, is a great addition to a Crusader program which had its inaugural season in 2013 competing in the Conference Carolinas.
“I fell in love with the idea that it’s a new program and just having a lot of opportunities and being able to make traditions,” Schaffer said.
The team is coached by Mary DeJute, one of only two female coaches in the nation to lead a men’s volleyball program. She has 13 years of coaching experience at the Division One and Three levels.
“She is a character. I really liked her,” Schaffer said. “She knows the game, she loves the game, she has a passion for it that I love and I love that in a coach.”
Warwick volleyball coach Nate Gajecki certainly loves having Schaffer at the right side of the net for one more season.
“He’s going to be able to compete for a spot right away,” Gajecki said. “Gavin’s size (is a strength). He’s big, he’s a lefty, so he’ll play on the right-hand side. It’s a more natural swing than anywhere else on the court. In the recruiting battle, he was one of the biggest right sides out there, so it’s a nice find for Belmont Abbey. (The school) is a great fit for him. It’s a wonderful school, it had his program.”
Courtney Weaver is excited to join a Millersville University field hockey team which advanced to the NCAA Division-Two semi-finals last fall before finishing the season with a 19-3 record. Her class will have a strong L-L connection, with Manheim Central’s Erin Jury and Donegal’s Kylee Bair also headed to the Lady Marauders.
“It just seemed like the right fit,” said Weaver, who capped her high school career last fall by earning First-Team Section One and All L-L League accolades at center back. “The coach (Shelly Behrens) is a great coach, she reminds me a lot of coach (Bob) Derr. A lot of the girls respect her. The team was awesome – I got along with a lot of the girls and I’m excited for my class coming up.”
West Chester won back-to-back NCAA crowns in 2011-12 and Shippensburg took the title in 2013. Did the recent national success of the PSAC play a role in Weaver’s decision?
“I guess it played a small role in it,” said Weaver, who will enter college undecided on her major. “It was just kind of a bonus because Millersville is a good school. Hopefully we can take it all the way next year, maybe.”
Weaver was also looking at Messiah College, but it didn’t take her long to commit to MU after visiting the campus.
“I only did my one official visit at Millersville, but that was enough for me that I didn’t have to visit any others,” Weaver said.
Like Weaver, Liz Wenger was a standout field hockey player for Warwick, twice being named First-Team All-State and also earning NFHCA All-Region Team selection last fall.
Soccer, though, has always been her first love and she signed with Georgetown University to continue her career in that sport.
“It took a little deciding (between soccer and field hockey), but it didn’t take too long,” Wenger said.
She plans to study international business at Georgetown.
“I took an academic tour and I loved what they had to say about their programs and just being on their campus felt like I was home,” Wenger said. “It felt comfortable. Then I contacted their coach (Dave Nolan) and he’s awesome. He recruits a certain type of player and all the girls are fantastic. They’re all really, really nice. It’s just an atmosphere of where I wanted to be playing.”
Wenger, a center back, joins a Hoyas squad that will lose its entire back line to graduation this year.
“It’s good news for me, bad news for the team,” she said.
Wenger, who plays for the PA Classics club team, is one of several defenders who were recruited to help fill those positions.
“Depending how we play, that will decide who’s on the field,” she said. “There aren’t too many of us that I don’t think he will redshirt anyone. But we’ll see.”
The system that Georgetown plays could depend on different factors, but Wenger knows she has a few areas in which she still needs to improve.
“Mainly, a lot of the individual foot skills,” she said. “I have the whole team game idea, all that strategy. It just comes to me naturally. It’s the individual foot skills and all that stuff.”
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.