Sandkuhler, Han win Grosh Awards
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Those are a few of the words that coaches used to describe Warwick High School seniors Bethany Han and Chris Sandkuhler.
Now you can add a few more.
Dr. Joseph W. Grosh Scholarship Award winners.
Han and Sandkuhler received the Warriors’ top athletics honor at the annual Warwick Scholar-Athlete Recognition and Awards Dessert Social on Monday night.
The Grosh Scholarship Award is a $500 one-time stipend, honoring one male and one female student-athlete for outstanding achievement on the athletic field and in the classroom, in addition to leadership abilities. To win the award, the student-athletes must be going on for post-secondary education, they need a gpa of 2.7 or higher, and they must have lettered at least one time in a varsity sport as a junior and twice as a senior.
Han, who earned a field hockey scholarship to continue her career at Ball State University, won six varsity letters — three in hockey, one in swimming and two in track and field. Overall, she competed in all 12 seasons of her high school career.
Sandkuhler, meanwhile, plans to walk-on with Clemson University’s track and field following a Warwick career in which he took home five varsity letters — two in soccer and three in track.
"I’m just surprised," Han said of winning the Grosh Award. "I think a lot of my friends deserve it too. I wish I could share it."
"It’s a big honor," Sandkuhler added. "I didn’t really think I was going to win. I was kinda surprised too, but it’s a big honor."
Han was a midfielder for the Lady Warriors’ field hockey team which won the L-L League crown last fall and advanced to the PIAA State Triple-A championship game.
On top of her talents between the white lines, Warwick coach Bob Derr said that Han’s big heart is one of her best attributes.
"She really cares about her teammates and other people," Derr said of Han, who also was a Second-Team L-L selection last fall. "She’s a very giving individual. She’s a very caring and giving young lady, which makes her a total package as she goes on to college and stuff, where she’s going to do a lot more for her team than just the athletic part."
Make no mistake, the Ball State Lady Cardinals will certainly benefit from her athleticism — and energy — over the next four years. In her time wearing Warwick’s red and black colors, Derr never had to worry about Han not hustling. It was that drive which led Han to scoring the game-winning goal in Warwick’s 1-0 win over Donegal in the L-L League playoff semi-finals in 2011.
"She will give you everything she’s got. Sometimes you have to grab ahold of her and tell her, ‘You can’t do everything,’" Derr said. "You’ve got to love that in a person that they’re going to put forth every effort to win."
Han, though, is not only a leader by example. She is also a vocal leader.
"She’ll speak up," Derr said. "She will speak her mind and you’ve got to love that in a player because they’re going to communicate, not only on the field during game time, but they’re going to communicate to their teammates when they’re away from the field too and try to be a part and help out in their teammates lives and stuff. She’s just such a very giving individual. That’s the part I always loved about her, that she gave a lot to the team. It just m ade things a lot easier coaching that way. She’s definitely a very deserving young lady. I’m happy for her."
So, too, were distance coach Ed Nixdorf and head coach Katie Vann with the Warwick track and field team. Han competed in the 400 and 800, and although her spring season as a senior was curtailed by illness, she remained a leader for the Lady Warriors.
"(Bethany) still brought a great attitude," Nixdorf said. "Her competitiveness stayed with the team and with the girls just by being there. She didn’t have the senior year she wanted, but she was a great leader to have."
"She’s tough," Vann added.
She also proved to be a versatile member of the Warwick girls swim team over the winter. While Han competed mostly in the backstroke and butterfly events in the pool, she helped out in the sprint freestyle, along with the 200 free and medley relays.
"She was willing to do anything," Warwick swim coach Mark Daum said.
Just as she did with the field hockey and track squads, she connected well with her teammates on the swimming team.
"Bethany is the kind of kid who always had a smile on her face, she is very mature for her years," Daum said. "She always took things in stride, the effort was always there, and other team members gravitate to that."
While Han is naturally excited to start her career at Ball State, she is also going to miss friends and coaches that she got to know from playing three sports at Warwick.
"It’s bittersweet," Han said. "We’ve had a lot of good memories here. I think I’ve been lucky to have awesome coaches … I couldn’t have asked for any better."
Sandkuhler definitely created a lot of good memories competing for the Warwick boys soccer and track teams. One of those, of course, was helping the Warriors capture their first-ever L-L boys soccer championship last fall, defeating Section One rival Hempfield 1-0 in the finals at Manheim Central.
Sandkuhler scored two goals to help lead the Warwick boys in a 6-0 rout of Garden Spot in the L-L quarter-finals, as the Warriors started the post-season on a positive note.
Sandkuhler’s contributions went way beyond just that one game, however.
"Chris was a very quiet leader who led by example," Warwick coach Dale Stoltzfus said. "I enjoyed his leadership over the years of playing for me at Warwick. He was able to read the game very well and developed into a great winger his senior year."
With the Warwick track and field team, Sandkuhler was a key part of the distance crew while scoring points in a number of events, including the 1600, 3200, 800 and 400.
"The first thing that comes to mind with Chris is his leadership qualities," Nixdorf said. "It’s kinda like having another assistant coach. You could depend on him to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. You didn’t have to talk to him about what the routines were at practice and in meets. And he’d always see that things would be completed to the fullest. And of course his competitiveness after that, but his leadership qualities and the respect that his teammates showed for him (were huge)."
That competitiveness helped Sankuhler and his teammates on the 4×800 relay — Phil Headland, Ben Mueller and Michael Urban — capture a fourth-place medal at the L-L League Championships in 8:06.23 this spring. Sandkuhler then went on to compete at Districts, where he finished 11th in 4:25.89.
With Sandkuhler and others in a distance crew coached by Nixdorf, it allowed Vann time to spend in other areas of the team.
"(Chris) is like an extra assistant coach," she said. "They had great captains and a great coach (in distance). I wish I would have had 10 of him to spread out because he’s great, and like I told his dad, I would have been surprised if it wasn’t him who got (the Grosh Award). He deserved it."
Like Han, Sandkuhler is experiencing mixed emotions as he prepares for graduation.
"It’s kinda surreal now walking through the hallways. You know that in a couple of days, you’re not going to be back in here," he said. "I made a lot of good friends through (soccer and track). It’s going to be weird at Clemson next year during track practice not having my friends from (Warwick) with me." More GROSH AWARD, page B-5