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Lehigh South Side Boosters salute three local products at their annual spring banquet

The South Side Boosters support all Lehigh University athletes.

It doesn't matter if they're from Scottsdale, Ariz., like Patriot League men's basketball rookie of the year Tim Kempton, or from Charlottesville, Va., like football standout Tyler Ward.

Their mission is simple: To follow, support and encourage Lehigh University athletic endeavors and in so doing, develop bonds of friendship between the university and public.

But because all of the South Side Boosters live in the Lehigh Valley and in most cases don't have any connection to Lehigh other than just as a fan, they love to honor local student-athletes who stay close to home to attend Lehigh.

When the Boosters held their 34th annual spring awards banquet on Thursday night at the Se-Wy-Co Fire Company in Lower Saucon Township, three Lehigh Valley natives were among the Mountain Hawks honored.

Former Central Catholic star Kerry Kinek was saluted as the women's basketball award winner, while Ty Souders (Emmaus) was the men's lacrosse recipient and Joe Abeln (Parkland) was saluted in baseball.

"We love the university and we love all the kids," said South Side vice president and master of ceremonies Dennis Greenzweig. "But because we're made up of people who just live here in the Lehigh Valley, it's nice when we see local kids do well because we know them … we've read about them over the years and we know their names."

Kinek had a solid sophomore season, averaging 16 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, good for third and fifth-best in the league, respectively.

She scored in double-digits in 27 of the season's 29 games, including nine 20-plus point efforts, while making a league-best 194 field goals.

"The first time I saw Kerry Kinek play, she was in fifth grade," LU coach Sue Troyan said. "She was playing in a CYO game against my daughter. She went to Central Catholic as did my daughter and they spent four years as basketball and volleyball teammates. So I've seen a lot of Kerry.

"The great thing about Kerry at Central Catholic was that her best two her years were her last two years. She has been an all-league performer as a freshman and a sophomore here at Lehigh, but I'm telling you now, the best two years of her Lehigh career are still ahead of her."

Souders, a senior, leads the defense for the nationally ranked lacrosse team.

"For the last 21/2 years, Ty has been asked to cover the other team's best offensive player," said coach Kevin Cassese. "This year, we asked him to take on a different role in the center of our defense and become the signal caller, the quarterback of our defense. With that comes less stats and less accolades because he's not on the ball all the time.

"It takes a big person to make that decision for the betterment of the team. Ty didn't bat an eye. He said 'Whatever I can do to help.' His individual stats have suffered, but we have the No. 2 defense and that's due in large part to the leadership he provides in the center of our defense. He's what we want our program to be about … he just wants the team to be great."

Abeln, a senior who has started all 35 games for the 18-17 baseball team, is hitting .309 with 24 runs, eight doubles and 16 RBIs.

"We've continually moved him around to different positions and he just does whatever it takes to help the team," coach Sean Leary said. "He's a team-first guy. In fact, he leads our team in hit-by-pitches [with 10]. Sometimes it hurts, but all he cares about is getting on base and helping the team. He's always out there for us … sometimes it's hard to find him because we move him around … but he's out there because we need him."

In addition to the Lehigh Valley kids who were saluted, the other South Side award winners were: Joey Napoli (wrestling); Kempton (men's basketball); Quigley (softball); Mark Goldberg (men's tennis); Rachael Charles (women's volleyball); Tyler Mueller (men's track); Brooke Astor (women's track); Murphee Greeley (women's soccer) and Lee Kurfis, Ward, Tim Divers and Keith Sherman (football).

Divers won the Chuck Zebrowski Special Team Award in memory of a longtime South Side Booster who died in 2005 and was one of the most loyal Lehigh football fans.

Blue Hen special

Senior Courtney Sniscak (Parkland) has helped the University of Delaware women's track team finish first the past two weekends in the Delaware Open and the James Madison Invitational.

In the Delaware Open, Sniscak finished second in both the discus (39.69 meters) and hammer (46.72 meters). At the James Madison Invitational, she was fourth in the hammer (46.77 meters) and fifth in the discus (41.59 meters).

Delaware will compete at the annual Penn Relays this week and will host the Delaware Classic on Saturday.

Bloomsburg Help 5K coming to Lehigh

The Bloomsburg University Huskies' Help 5K/Walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 17 at Lehigh's Goodman Campus. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Bethlehem Area School District and Easton Area School District PTAs.

Longtime area football, basketball and baseball official, Dr. Frank D'Angelo, is coordinating the event.

"This is the ninth year of this event and it's the first time we're trying to raise funds for the local PTAs with a 5K," D'Angelo said. "In the past, we've tried various fundraisers, including rummage sales. But in conjunction with Lehigh University and their facilities, we're trying to get a nice crowd of students and community members to raise funds for the PTAs who are in desperate need of funds.

"For the PTAs, just like anyone else, any dollar is a helpful dollar to provide materials and activities for their students."

D'Angelo said Bloomsburg University and the Bethlehem and Easton school districts have a positive and productive relationship. Many Huskies graduates have had job opportunities in those districts.

"We've been in the Bethlehem and Easton areas for nine years, but this is the first time we're trying to see what we can raise this way," D'Angelo said. "We're encouraging families to come out and do the fun walk. We want this to be a family-bonding experience as well."

Bloomsburg has had 375 students involved in the program.

"We want our students to learn as future teachers and we want to help the communities that are helping us," D'Angelo said. "Our student population as a whole features a lot of Lehigh Valley kids and it's a popular university for many student-athletes. Bloomsburg is very well known in this area."

For more information, contact D'Angelo by calling 570-389-4812 or e-mailing to fdangelo@bloomu.edu.

Race forms are also available online at the Bethlehem Area and Easton Area school district websites.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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