Jamison And Dow Named Athletes Of The Year

By Billy Wright, Pennsauken High School Athletic Director

Wrestling and football student-athlete David Dow made it relatively easy for the PHS coaching staff to vote for Athlete of the Year honors when he not only won the NJSIAA Region 7 195 lb. wrestling title, but also mowed through the competition a week earlier to win the District 28 title. David’s region gold medal was the first region championship for a PHS grappler since Gerald Smith won the 103 lb. title in 1983. For his region win, the Courier Post named David to the prestigious All South Jersey team, the first Indian athlete named first team since 1968, when Mike Panarella was honored. Ironically, the old meets the new, as Panarella currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach for Code Red. David will be attending Baker University in Kansas on a wrestling scholarship.

The girl’s voting was much closer, as four budding stars were in the running: All South Jersey bowler Jessica Bello, two sport star Olivia Summerville, and track and field stars Olivia Jamison and Amanda Bakley. Olivia Jamison eked out the voting of the coaches and claimed her second consecutive Athlete of the Year honor. Bello led South Jersey in season average; Summerville was first team all conference in volleyball and lacrosse; and Bakley set three school records on the track. For her part, Jamison won the 400 meter dash at both the BCSL and NJSIAA sectional championships and anchored the school record-setting 4×100 meter relay and the super sprint medley. Olivia will be attending Morgan State University on a track and field scholarship.

Zimmerman Coach Of The Year

For his years of service and willingness to go above and beyond in our quest to provide a positive experience for our student-athletes, Phil Zimmerman has been named the 2015 PHS Coach of the Year. Phil serves as the head girls cross country coach, volunteer assistant winter track coach, and head girls spring track and field coach. Coach “Z” helped produce the first state cross country qualifier in school history during the fall with junior stand-out Briana Roberts, and guided the spring team to a second place finish at the BCSL championships. His squad broke eight school records under his tutelage.

Pennsauken High School junior Amanda Bakley finished second overall in the 2000m steeplechase at the New Balance National High School Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, NC. Her time of 6:57.49 is the third fastest ever by a girl in New Jersey.

Pennsauken High School junior Amanda Bakley finished second overall in the 2000m steeplechase at the New Balance National High School Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, NC. Her time of 6:57.49 is the third fastest ever by a girl in New Jersey.

Taylor Recognized As Scholar Athlete

Athletics and academics: sometimes the line is blurred for a PHS student-athlete, as they motivate themselves to achieve in either one of the two disciplines, or better yet, in both. Approximately 50 percent of PHS athletes are listed on the honor roll.

Of the 525 or so PHS athletes, Taylor Ursino handled the two disciplines best and was named PHS Scholar Athlete of the Year. Taylor was also named the NJSIAA scholar-athlete and was awarded a $1,000 Star Ledger scholarship for that honor.

Six Receive Tri-Sports Award

The typical freshman student-athlete reports to PHS as a wide-eyed, 14 year old, somewhat underdeveloped physically and lacking in direction and emotional strength. After several years of being molded by the coaching staff and by athletic trainer Tom Connors in the weight-room, that same freshman has blossomed into a more mature, faster, stronger, and confident athlete. Six PHS athletes rose to the top of the heap as three-sport varsity letter winners, never taking a moment off from training and competing during their senior campaign. Tri-Sport Award honorees are Jerry Babilonia, Jessica Bello, Brandon Harley, Olivia Jamison, Jevante Parris, and Tenille Stewart. Five of the six also earned Honor Roll recognition.

Boys Volleyball Has Top Scholars

The third annual Team Highest GPA Award was presented to boys volleyball coach Jack Killion Jr. at the end-of-year Athletic Awards Night. Seventy-five percent of the boys volleyball team were recognized as scholar athletes on the Honor Roll. Coach Killion recognized assistant coach Kevin Jeffers for his management of the team’s after school homework sessions.

The annual academic competition was won by the girls soccer team in 2014, with 72 percent of team members named to the Honor Roll. The rotating trophy will be placed in the trophy case identifying the team and their academic accolades.

Unsung Hero Award Goes To Babilonia

All athletes aspire to achieve great things and dream that they might someday be the hero of a winning contest. Few are fortunate to be the star of the team; many are fortunate to be a starter on their high school team. Most suffice to be just a member of the team, biding their time, hoping to get in the game.

Jerry Babilonia was named the winner of the PHS Unsung Hero Award. His many wins during the highly successful wrestling season and support of Region 7 wrestling champion David Dow in his achievements earned Jerry the honors.

Two Receive Tom Roan Award

Many individuals work in and around an athletic department to ensure the success of the many events that are conducted. To recognize those for their unselfish assistance to the department, the Tom Roan Service Award was created. Tom taught Spanish at PHS for 35 years and served for many years as the cross country and track and field coach. Two individuals were recognized this year: All Sports Booster Club treasurer Jay Jones and PHS athletic trainer Tom Connors. Jay has been instrumental in maintaining the club’s finances and in assisting with concessions set-up and fund-raising efforts. Connors has been the ATC at PHS for 26 years; he is a master at injury prescription and rehabilitation and also serves as the department’s strength trainer.

All Sport Booster Club Awards Marie Giebel Scholarships

Named for former club vice president Marie Giebel, the annual $5,500 in scholarships awarded to outstanding student-athletes by the All Sports Booster Club is one of the highlights of the annual awards night presentations.

Taylor Ursino and Justin Weaver each received $1,000 scholarships. Dominique DeSesso, Austin Gillis, Brandon Harley, Jevante Parris, Jessica Bello, Michael Stafford, and Rachel Ingram each earned a $500 scholarship.

Twenty Named All Conference

In voting by league coaches, 11 Indian athletes were named all conference; another nine were named second team. First team honorees were Taylor Ursino and Lisa Hershey for softball; Anthony Dadson for boys volleyball; Ariel Gonzalez, baseball; girls track members Asia Davis, Ajani McEady, Indigo Pascall, Olivia Jamison and Briana Roberts; and boys track and field members Marquan Jones and Justin Weaver.

Second team recognition went to Luis Arevelo in baseball; Amanda Bakley and Brianna Bryan for girls track and field; Martin Booker for boys track; Jessica Bello and Cieani Copes for softball; and boys volleyball player Tuan Nguyen.

Free Physicals

The Pennsauken Board of Education provides free sports physicals each August. The summer date is Monday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m. The physicals are conducted in the nurse’s office at Pennsauken High School. A signed permission form and pre-participation health history and physical form are required. All forms can be picked up at the school office, at the nurse’s office, or can be downloaded from the school website at Pennsauken.net.

If you want to keep up with all of the athletic happenings, the school district website, sports button is the place to be. Contest schedules for the fall, winter and spring 2014-15 seasons can be found at Pennsauken.net. The website also contains information about summer training information, the Varsity Club, the All Sports Booster Club, college recruiting, and a wealth of other athletic related information

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