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Star Athletes: March, 2010

by Editorial Staff--Suburban Family
Jen Metzger (pictured) has tasted success in the past and is hoping that this year’s softball season is no different. The standout pitcher for Overbrook High School is looking to build on her stellar 2009 season, which culminated with the Rams finishing with a record of 13-1 and taking home the South Jersey Group 2 softball title. Making sure she did her part, Metzger was lights out with 186 strikeouts and an astounding 0.00 ERA. The virtually unhittable Metzger is already geared up for the season ahead and hopes to power her team to another unforgettable run. Kyle Goodwin knows how to push past difficulties to succeed. The 7th grader from Winslow Township plays baseball for his township’s little league team and for the AAU (amateur athletic union) Bulldogs. Goodwin, 12, has joined the Bulldog’s team of 13 year olds, after averaging the second-most homeruns for his AAU in 2009. That’s quite the accomplishment for an athlete who once struggled just walking to the plate. Goodwin was born flat-footed, and by age 10 he could barely walk, let alone play baseball. Goodwin underwent two surgeries, having titanium screws inserted into his ankles to build his arches. “He’s fighting off all this adversity,” says his father, Kevin. “But he takes it all in stride and keeps on playing through the pain.” When it comes to sports, 11-year-old Evan Powell is a triple threat. Powell is constantly training at the Marlton Recreation Center where he excels in a number of different sports and positions. Powell plays center for the Center’s street hockey team, and earned his spot as the youngest player on the winning squad at the last national tournament. Football is no different for the 6th grader, who also plays on the Center’s all-star team as a running back and linebacker. In baseball Powell takes his place at first base, and also as catcher for the team. Haddonfield High School senior Jon “Boo” Vitez has had a lot to celebrate recently. The Princeton-bound student can add “track star” to his list of accomplishments after he finished first in the NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions 3,200-meter race. The annual meet in Toms River is one of the highlights of winter’s indoor track season, and Vitez very much ran away with the competition. His record 8:58:81 time in the race was not only the fastest in New Jersey, but also in all of the United States for the 2010 winter season. With speed like that, it will be hard for those lining up alongside Vitez to keep pace. Ryan Gold will be taking on a lot of responsibility as the spring baseball season approaches. Gold, from Moorestown, is the starting catcher as well as the captain of the 12 year-olds Tri-State Arsenal AAU (amateur athletic union) travel team. Last year Gold led his team in homeruns, helping the Tri-State Arsenal team become one of the top 10 teams for athletes 12 and under in the country. Gold and his team have high hopes for the United States Specialty Sports Association Elite World Series in August. The new team will also be defending the Tri-State Arsenal’s 12 year-olds national championship title at the Tournament of Champions in Cooperstown, New York. Jillian Keller has a striking presence when it comes to bowling. That’s because the star senior from Pennsbury High School has a record that most bowlers can only dream about. For the second year running, the captain of the girl’s bowling team has taken the lead in the Suburban One League National Conference with an impressive 190 average score. The skilled roller has helped lead her team to a near-perfect 43-1 season record. Outside the conference, Keller maintains a seasonal average of 195 while also competing in the first-team all-conference league for her high school. Sometimes a little sibling rivalry can be a good thing. For the Atkin sisters from Cherry Hill, that may just be the case. Lauren, 10, and Erica, 13, are two of the top youth gymnasts in the area, with both receiving state champion honors in their respective levels. Lauren, a fourth grader at Bret Harte Elementary School, not only broke a four-year-old state record in the uneven bars, but is also an “A” student and excels as a key member of the Woodcrest Swim and Dive team. Erica has seen the ups and downs that come with competition. After fracturing her leg in five places and spending a year in a wheelchair, the resilient youth came back to once again rise to championship level on the uneven bars. Erica recently qualified for the March 15th state championship in her level after recovering from a broken arm. The eighth grader at Rosa International Middle School, who also is a champion diver, is setting a fine example for her younger sister. The siblings seem poised for big things for many years to come. Bishop Eustace’s Maureen McCotter is a wonderful student, heading off to the Princeton campus this fall. But the senior swim captain also knows how to make a splash in the pool. The two-time New Jersey state champion in the 500-meter freestyle leads her squad, which is ranked third in the region and ninth overall in the state. While she excels at the 200- and 500-meter freestyle, McCotter also swims the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke. “She has led the team well,” her coach Mike Parker says proudly. With the Ivy League in her future, she’s in the swim both in and out of the pool. Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family, March 2010.
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