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Honorees are the definition of True Grit

May 09, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Not a day goes by that Grace Academy's Tim Carver doesn't worry about his health.

Born with the inability to process proteins, Carver must maintain a strict diet because of his dozens of food allergies - even the slightest stray could be fatal.

While he realizes the seriousness of his disorder, Carver refuses to let it take control.

It is that reason that Carver was one of 14 Washington County student athletes to be awarded the 2007 True Grit Award at Fountain Head Country Club on Tuesday night.

"Every day, I have to worry about getting contaminated," Carver said. "I always have to think about it because, if I do get contaminated, and I don't get an (epinephrine) pad, I could die in 15 minutes."

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Carver pointed to family support as a motivating factor for his resilience, on and off the field.

"I try so much harder because of everyone that's behind me, helping me," he said. "I don't want to let anyone down."

Carver is a three-sport athlete - soccer, basketball and baseball - who was unable to attend school until eighth grade. He has been restricted to eating through a feeding tube and has had more than 11 major surgeries.

"With everything I have to go through, it feels so much better to get this (award)," Carver said. "It feels like everything I went through was actually worth it."

Smithsburg's Matt Shriver received the award for his comeback from pectus excavatum, which he developed during the 2005 cross country season. The condition occurs when cartilage growth in the rib cage causes the ribs and sternum to grow inward toward the heart and lungs.

The condition became so bad that Shriver, a cross country and track specialist, could run no more than a quarter of a mile.

"Last year in indoor track, my dad and coach (Ray Shriver) started me out running two miles," Matt Shriver said. "Then I went down to the (800-meter run), then the 400 and the 200. Eventually I was running hurdles."

Surgery last summer corrected the disorder and Matt Shriver returned to form the following cross country season.

· South Hagerstown's Chris Bell had to cut weight twice to compete in his sport. A first-year wrestler as a junior, Bell trimmed 55 pounds to make the heavyweight class of 275 pounds.

"It was kind of upsetting because I didn't want to (lose the weight)," Bell said. "But once I did it, I found myself wanting to do it, not just to make the team, but to be healthy."

The next year, the weight class increased to 285 pounds and Bell had to drop 10 more pounds to be eligible. He did so and qualified for the Maryland state tournament. He also played for the Rebels' football team.

· Cory Eisenhart was the recipient from Hagerstown Community College. Eisenhard, a catcher for the baseball team, suffered an arm injury last year and needed reconstructive surgery in order to return to the Hawks this year.

· As a child, Broadfording Christian Academy recipient Jordan Anthony was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs. But Anthony never let it hold him back while competing in baseball and golf for the Lions.

· St. James' Zack Buzzell twice injured his collarbone, but each time returned to be an asset for the Saints' lacrosse team. Buzzell broke the bone three months before the season started, but worked hard to come back and posted a two-goal game during the team's spring-break trip to Florida. After returning, he reinjured his collarbone and has since served as more of a coach for the Saints.

· St. Maria Goretti's Crystal Klein bounced around the California foster system for her first 10 years of life before finally finding stability in 1999 with her adoptive mother, Terrie. Klein's experiences gave her maturity beyond that of the usual teenager, which she shares while playing first base for the Gaels' softball team.

· Hancock's Dustin Hull could be better referred to as the student-athlete-worker. Hull manages to balance athletics, a 4.0 grade-point average and a part-time job - all with an inverted sternum, which diminishes his lung capacity.

· Heritage Academy's Samuel Brewer was unable to attend the awards ceremony because he was in Mexico on a mission trip. That alone shows his unselfishness, as does his constant encouragement of his basketball teammates.

· North Hagerstown senior Cara Thompson suffered a tear of her anterior cruciate ligament in the 2005-06 girls basketball season, but returned to lead the Hubs to the Class 2A West region final. She earned All-Area First Team honors and has signed to play for HCC next season.

· Jess Patey could have been just another player to be cut from the Williamsport basketball team, but her hard work and determination landed her a spot on the Wildcats' squad, and she proved to be a valuable asset and leader.

· Amy Rhoderick was the recipient from Boonsboro. Rhoderick lost her mother as an infant, but became a leader for the Warriors' girls basketball team. She also has signed to play for HCC.

· Clear Spring's Carley Snyder suffered a bloody nose in a soccer game, which may seem harmless. But Snyder has a blood-clotting disorder which raised concerns. Undaunted, she insisted on re-entering and finishing the game.

Each recipient was awarded a $500 scholarship, a plaque and a one-year membership to the Hagerstown YMCA.

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