Munro keeps 'Cats ahead in numbers game

March 04, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Austin Munro found his niche on the Williamsport basketball team.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Austin Munro is an important part of the Williamsport boys basketball team.

He just doesn’t wear a uniform.

The 18-year-old senior was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a neuromuscular disease, at birth. He has been in a wheelchair since he was 2, but that has only kept him from being physically active in sports.

“I really haven’t thought of the disease as a big deal,” Munro said. “It’s never held me back.”

It won’t hold him back from taking a trip to College Park, Md., next week for the state tournament — if the Wildcats can punch their ticket today against Southern Garrett in the Class 1A West final at Frederick Community College.

Munro doesn’t run the Wildcats’ fastbreak or grab offensive rebounds, but he takes his position as a team statistician seriously, tracking the numbers in games and in practices.

“He’s like another set of eyes,” said Williamsport coach Scott Mowbray. “He keeps our statistics during the games and even in practice. He understands the game and the kids really love him.”

The players consider him a teammate, especially fellow senior Brad Miller.

“We’ve known each other since I was 5 or 6 years old,” said Munro. “He’s been my best friend. But the whole team, we’re close. It’s like a family. I’ve learned a lot about the game being around all of them, the important little things on how to win.”

Munro is the middle son of parents Ed and Darcy and his brothers are Derek and Jack. Ed left the Navy after eight years of service so he and his family could settle in the community.

“It is what it is,” said Ed Munro. “I got out so we wouldn’t have to go around to different places.”

Wherever Austin is headed, you’ll see his father unlock the back door of their van and Austin come backing down the angled lift, ready to engage with his buddies.

“Austin has grown up around sports,” said Ed Munro. “He loves the Terps, Ravens and Orioles and in fact we just got a Suns package so he can watch (Bryce) Harper.”

Austin plans on attending Hagerstown Community College — focusing on social studies and English — before transferring to a four-year school where he can eventually work on getting a law degree.

“It’s something that is appealing to me because I can help people out,” Austin said.

For now, he’ll continue to help out the Williamsport boys basketball team in its quest to play at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center.

“Comcast has always been a dream, but we need the region first to get that shot,” said Austin.

“If the players, or anyone else, takes the game for granted, all they have to do is take a look at Austin,” Mowbray said.

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