Avon Grove recognizes top student-athletes
By Steven Hoffman
The highlight of the April 9 Avon Grove School Board meeting was the recognition of the top student-athletes who competed in the winter sports season. Not surprisingly, the swimming and diving team that won the first Ches-Mont League championship in school history and rewrote the Avon Grove record books was well-represented during the presentation.
Vanessa Robtison, Avon Grove High School's director of athletics, started the presentation by commenting on the accomplishments of Devin Rudisill, a senior who also serves as a student representative on the school board.
Rudisill was a standout on the girls' basketball team. She was a three-year varsity player, and Robtison called her a “role model for the younger players.”
Rudisill's teammate, Nina Connor, was also recognized. Connor was a part of the basketball program for four years, and played on varsity the last two years. She, too, was called a positive role model for others.
Six members of Avon Grove's wrestling team—Jeremy Smith, Zach Swank, Ryan Hoffman, Vince Walls, Peyton MacNeill, and Kevin Edwards—were recognized. Robtison called Smith “the embodiment of a success story” as he managed to win 21 matches during his senior year through hard work. He qualified for the District 1 wrestling tournament. Swank persevered through injuries, including a partially torn labrum in his shoulder, to qualify for the District 1 Regional Tournament. Hoffman, a standout on the football field, won 27 matches during his senior season, earning Second Team All-Ches-Mont League status. Walls led the wrestling team with 30 wins this year and, like Hoffman, earned a Second Team All-Ches-Mont League selection. MacNeill was the captain of the wrestling team and placed second at both the Ches-Mont League Tournament and the District 1 Central Tournament. Edwards, a year-round wrestler, won 29 matches this year and placed sixth at the Regional Tournament. He was a Second Team All-Ches-Mont League selection and, like Hoffman, Walls, and MacNeill, qualified for the PA District One All Academic Wrestling Team.
Justin Carey, a junior, was All-District in the 100 Fly and 100 Back and qualified for States. He set the team record in 100 Fly. He was also selected to the All-Area and All-Ches-Mont League teams.
Olivia Paoletti, a freshman, was the district champion in the 100 Breast and 200 IM, earning All-State, All-District, and All-Ches-Mont League honors. She finished third at States in 100 Breast & 200 IM, and also helped lead the team to third place at Districts and eighth at States. New team records were set in all three relays, 200 IM, 100 Breast and 100 Fly.
Serena Derderian, also a freshman, was a district qualifier in 50 and 100 Free. Derderian qualified and competed at States. She broke 50 & 100 Free team records in addition to being on all three record-breaking relay teams.
Clare McGovern, another freshman, was a district qualifier in the 200 and 500 Free. She placed second at Districts in the 500 Free and qualified for States in the same event. She broke the 500 Free team record was on the record-breaking 400 Free relay team.
Sophomore Emma Brinton qualified for districts in the 200 IM & 100 Back. She also qualified for States in the 200 IM. She broke the 100 Back record and was a member on all three record-breaking relay teams.
Senior Carlie Perkins was selected as the Ches-Mont League's Diver of the Year. She placed third in Diving at Districts and fifth at States. She established new Avon Grove diving records this year, topping her own marks.
Robtison also recognized the accomplishments of two indoor track standouts, McKenna Keegan and Molly Jacobs.
Robtison said that Keegan's work ethic sets a good example for the younger athletes on the team. Keegan finished second at the PA State Championship Meet in the 400m with a time of 55.62, which ranked her 15th in the nation. She also placed sixth at States in the 800m with 2:15.16, which ranked her 45th in the nation.
Jacobs, a sophomore, missed most of the cross country season with a stress fracture, but worked very hard once she had medical clearance to start training again. Robtison said that Jacobs works extremely hard and sets personal goals for herself. This year she ran the 4x800 relay, 800m, 1600m and the 3200 meter.
Three members of the Avon Grove cheerleading squad were also honored. Robtison called senior Devon Wilson a quiet leader who sets an example for others by applying herself for every competition. She spent three years on varsity and was a three-time Ches-Mont champion.
Jessica Young, a captain of the squad, was injured most of the season but still never missed a practice, game, or competition. Robtison said that Young has a terrific attitude and others look up to her.
Divya Kuthoore, a senior, was also a captain of the cheerleading team. She was a four-year varsity cheerleader and four-time Ches-Mont champion. Additionally, Kuthoore is the student body co-president and is involved in numerous extracurricular activities.
The student-athletes who were recognized all maintain high grades and are standouts in the classroom.