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Alyssa Rasmussen, Joey Schildwachter named unsung heroes

Alyssa Rasmussen of the Sparrows Point basketball team and Joey Schildwachter from Concordia Prep's football squad both had major influences on their teams in quiet yet important ways.

Rasmussen organized events off the court and helped during games, while Schildwachter undertook the difficult task of playing several positions on both sides of the ball to aid a short-handed squad. Their unselfishness is why both won the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship at the annual Unsung Heroes Awards Banquet on Monday night at the Valley Mansion.

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For Rasmussen, much of her work came off the court. She missed about three weeks with a jammed finger and played off the bench with Sparrows Point this season.

But she also strongly believed in the Pointers doing things away from the gym to try and bring the team closer. That's why Rasmussen helped put together events like team dinners and a holiday gift exchange, and tried to loosen up practice sessions, feeling all of that would improve the mood and dynamic of the team — even when she was battling the finger injury.

"I know it's very important for the team to have a close relationship," Rasmussen said. "It just builds a better team chemistry and maybe helps the team play better. I know that [even with my injury] you have to stay with the team and help out."

Rasmussen came up with many of these convictions after playing on the Class 1A state championship soccer team at Sparrows Point. She'll go to Stevenson in the fall and play soccer there.

Schildwachter helped his team on the field by playing eight positions, something a team that fielded approximately 14 players badly needed.

The senior played wide receiver, safety, cornerback, middle and outside linebacker, running back, and tight end, as well as pitching in on the offensive line. He knew the team would need something like this, and Schildwachter told his coach early on to move him whenever necessary.

"I just did anything the coach needed," Schildwachter said. "I'm glad that I could help the team in any way I could."

Concordia Prep canceled the final two games of its season due to the low numbers, but Schildwachter did all he could. He'll be going to SUNY-Brockport next year but won't be playing football.

The scholarship has a four-year value of $40,000 for each. Rasmussen and Schildwachter were the 78th and 79th winners of the honor as a female basketball player and a male football player are the ones recognized each year.

They were chosen from among a pool of 108 senior athletes from 69 Baltimore-area public, private, parochial and independent schools.

Maryland women's basketball coach Brenda Frese spoke to the crowd, talking about her career and the way she worked her way up the coaching ladder, eventually making it to College Park and winning a national title.

Frese also gave the athletes a simple and direct message: Set goals and push to get what you want.

"Everybody wants to be successful — that's normal," Frese said. "You have to work hard. You have to put in the time. It's not going to get done if you're just sitting there waiting for luck to happen."

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