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Decatur athletes recognized for performance

(Nov. 28, 2014) Several members of Stephen Decatur’s volleyball, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer and football teams have been recognized for their performance during the fall sports season. Those Seahawks have been presented with Bayside Conference accolades and/or team awards.

• Volleyball:

Senior captain Hannah Adkins received All-Bayside First Team recognition.

“Killer arm is all I have to say,” said Decatur Coach Sarah Purnell. “It’s been fun to watch her improve over the last four years. She definitely intimidated other teams with her arm strength.”

Purnell presented Adkins, who had 63 kills, four blocks and five digs this season, with the team Offense MVP award.

Junior Ellen Bargar was also named to the First Team.

“She had to move positions after an injury on the team and she really stepped up,” Purnell said. “She was always pushing herself and trying to keep the team positive. She was not afraid to throw her body on the ground to make a play.”

The team MVP award went to Bargar, who tallied 34 digs, 26 kills and 23 aces.

Senior setter Haley Trice (eight digs, three kills, 38 aces, 83 assists) scored a spot on the Second Team.

“She also had to move positions after a team injury. She was a great asset in getting our hitters some kills,” Purnell said.

Seniors Victoria Williams (29 kills, 22 aces, two blocks) and setter Kayla Heinz (25 digs, 36 aces, 54 assists) earned Honorable Mention commendations.

“She definitely came out of her shell more this season,” Purnell said of Williams. “She seemed to enjoy playing the game, and she was always working at improving her blocking and hitting.”

Purnell said Heinz was a consistent server this season.

“She was always our first server and we could depend on her,” Purnell said. “She worked hard at the setter position and even had a decent amount of digs through the season.”

Other team awards went to senior Morgan Jones (Sportsmanship) and juniors Lauren Laque (Most Improved) and Marley Parsons (Coaches Award).

• Boys’ soccer:

Coach Jamie Greenwood chose senior captain, midfielder Chris Poole as the squad’s MVP this season. He was selected to the All-Conference Second Team.

“Chris was an all-around player. He was willing to play any position at any time,” Greenwood said. “He wanted what was best for the team. His hard work and determination was the example you want a captain to set.”

Junior forward Lupe Garcia also received Second Team distinction.

“Lupe was a great addition to the team this season. He was the leading goals scorer with seven goals,” Greenwood said.

Senior Graham Hall (defense) was named to the Second Team, as well. Greenwood presented Hall with the team’s Unsung Hero award.

“Graham was part of a defense that had four shutouts. He was the anchor of a very strong defense,” Greenwood said.

Senior captain Evan Heim (forward/midfield) earned the team’s Most Improved award as well as All-Conference Honorable Mention.

“Evan has grown tremendously since he began with the program his freshman year and has become one of the premier players on the team,” Greenwood said.

Senior Calvin Pinto (defense) also won Honorable Mention acclaim.

Greenwood gave Pinto and junior Coale Davidson (defense) Coaches Awards.

“Both are very hard workers and willing to do anything at practice and games,” Greenwood said.

Captains Corey Gwin, a senior, and midfielder Alton Walker, a sophomore, also represented Decatur on the Honorable Mention list.

“Corey was a solid defender throughout the season,” Greenwood said. “Alton Walker was a solid contributor and was one of our key set up players all season.”

The team’s Rookie of the Year award went to freshman Tristan McDonough.

“Tristan came in as a forward, but was transformed into a defender,” Greenwood said. “He did an outstanding job as the lone consistently starting freshman.”

Greenwood presented the team Sportsmanship Award to senior Dalton Warren.

“Dalton was the epitome of a sportsman,” he said. “He was always willing to help his teammates and treated his opponents with great respect as well.”

• Girls’ soccer:

Senior captain Jillian Petito, a forward, led the Lady Seahawks with 26 goals and 12 assists.

Coach Maggie Berke said Petito is someone players can look to for guidance and motivation, which is one reason she received the team MVP award. Petito was also selected to the All-Conference First Team.

“She finds a way to be positive no matter the circumstances and that has helped her to lead her team to the Bayside championship this season,” Berke said. “She never walks away from a game saying ‘you should have done this,’ she always says, ‘what could I have done better?’ That is what has made her into such a great all-around athlete and also such an incredible captain and leader.”

Junior goalie Lexi Gausepohl was also named to the First Team.

“Lexi had a ridiculous 99 saves this season and only allowed in 13,” Berke said.

Junior Alexis McDonough was focused this season, Berke said, as the midfielder tallied three goals and four assists. She scored a place on the First Team roster.

Senior captain Ally Beck (defense) was selected to the First Team, as well. Berke gave her the team Sportsmanship Award.

“Defender is a bad way to describe her since she was all over the field helping in every aspect of the game including her leadership and positive motivation,” Berke said.

Senior captain Jenna Leitgeb was this year’s team Defensive MVP. She also earned First Team honors.

“Jenna may have only seen eight games on the field this year [knee injury], but her real talent showed through during her seven games as a captain and coach to her teammates,” Berke said. “Her positive outlook on life not only helped to teach and motivate her teammates, but it helped us as coaches to remember what this season was all about.”

The VanKirk sisters, Lexie, a sophomore, and Payton, a senior captain, were named to the All-Conference Second Team.

Lexie, a midfielder, finished the season with four goals and 10 assists.

“She had great skill at finding the open player earning her so many assists,” Berke said. “Her skill and intensity earned her Bayside Conference Second Team.”

Payton scored 11 goals and logged six assists “including some huge ones against Parkside both times. Payton had a way of getting things done in those major games,” Berke said.

The forward received the team Offense MVP award.

Junior Erin Smith (defense) was also chosen as a Second Team recipient.

“Erin came to me one practice and said ‘coach my goal is to score off a header’ and the next day against Kent Island that is exactly what she did,” Berke said. “Her hard work and focus earned her that goal and [Bayside Second Team].”

Berke said senior Rachel Bourne (five goals, seven assists) was never afraid to give it her all and play with everything she had. Her hard work and determination earned her Bayside Conference Honorable Mention, Berke said, and the team Midfield MVP award.

No matter the circumstances or the task at hand, Berke said junior midfielder Peyton Townsend was always ready and gave her all. She won the team Best Attitude award and Bayside Honorable Mention accolades.

Berke said sophomore Mallory Vara was a big part of both the squad’s midfield and offense. She had four goals and three assists and earned Bayside Honorable Mention.

Sophomore Claire Porter (defense) never let her size stop her, Berke said. She gave Porter the team Most Improved award and she scored Honorable Mention distinction.

Sophomore midfielder Brigitte Ardis scored three goals for the Seahawks this year. Sophomore Victoria Kerkovich (defense) had some big shoes to fill, and filled them well, Berke said. Both scored Honorable Mention accolades. Kerkovich was also named team Rookie of the Year.

Berke gave the Coaches Award to team manager Barbara Taylor, a junior. Senior midfielder Emily Markowski was presented with the team Most Spirited award.

Berke was chosen Bayside Coach of the Year.

“I am honored to receive the award and I owe it all to my players,” she said. This was her first year coaching the Decatur varsity team.

“Without them being so motivated and driven to learn, our season would not have been so successful and this award would not have been possible,” she said.

• Football:

Senior quarterback Justin Meekins racked up 779 yards rushing on 94 attempts and ran in six touchdowns. He had 76 completions out of 149 attempts for 1,170 yards and 18 touchdowns.

He earned All-Conference First Team honors and Decatur’s Offense MVP award.

“Justin was the heartbeat of our offense whether on the ground or in the air. His 18 touchdown passes are second in school history,” said Decatur Coach Bob Knox. Tim Donnelly (2009 graduate) holds the record with 25. “Justin Meekins led the team in rushing and passing, the only time this has happened.”

Senior wide receiver R.J. Hayman tallied 39 catches for 594 yards and 12 touchdowns. He played on offense, defense and all special teams. He was named Decatur’s MVP and also chosen as a First Team member.

“R.J. was the most sure-handed receiver in the Bayside, catching anything he could reach,” Knox said. “His 12 touchdown receptions ties the school record [with 2009 graduate Paul Stortini].”

Second Team recognition went to junior inside linebacker Ernest Shockley. He recorded 87 first contact hits and 55 assists for a total of 142 tackles. He was the team’s Defense MVP.

“Earnest led our defense from the inside out and led the conference in tackles, despite missing the last game,” Knox said.

Honorable Mention merit went to seniors Brandon Wooten, a two-year starter at center who made all of the line calls; Brandon McKenzie, a first-year starter at outside linebacker who was third on the team in tackles (70) and first in fumble recoveries (three); Sam Coates, starter at running back and safety, rushed for 328 yards (seven-yard average) and was fourth on team in tackles (64); and Matt LeCompte, the first-year player started off the season at defensive back and moved to wide receiver for the second half. LeCompte made 42 tackles (eighth), was second in pass receptions (26-for-361 yards) and had four touchdowns. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

Juniors presented with Honorable Mention awards were: Dryden Brous (linebacker), second on the team in both rushing yards (428, 5.2-yard average) and tackles (80); Gus Esham, starter on offensive and defensive lines, tied for team lead in quarterback sacks; and Andre Jordan, a first-year starter on defensive line who Knox said excelled at stopping inside runs.

The AM Jackson Sportsmanship Award went to senior Tripp Ortega. The Atlantic Physical Therapy Tough Guy of the Year award went to Coates.

Ellen Bargar
Lupe Garcia
Dryden Brous


Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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