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Student athletes show True Grit by overcoming hardships

Ceremony honors 14 award recipients, from Washington County high schools and Hagerstown Community College

May 08, 2012|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Community College women's basketball coach Vicky Bullett, left, poses for photos with Smithsburg High School True Grit award winner Logan Bachtell, right, during the 31st True Grit Awards Tuesday at Fountain Head County Club in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

Sometimes, circumstances make putting your best foot forward extremely difficult.

Very few people know that quite as well as Boonsboro senior Britton Beard.

Before Beard became a football standout for the Warriors — helping lead them to a 10-2 record and their first playoff victory in a decade — he had to overcome being born with two severe clubfeet.

“I remember the second surgery,” Beard said Tuesday at the 31st True Grit Awards at Fountain Head County Club in Hagerstown. “I was 7 1/2, and my feet started bowing back in, so they had to readjust the plates. I had eight pins in my feet, and they realigned everything. I was in a cast eight months, a wheelchair for six months, and it took me a while to learn to walk again.”

Once he walked, Beard didn’t look back. He made Boonsboro’s varsity team as a sophomore, and also played baseball and participated in track and field.

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As a senior, he earned  Herald-Mail  All-Washington County First Team honors as a defensive lineman and Coaches’ All-County Second Team honors as an offensive lineman.

Beard was one of 14 True Grit Award recipients Tuesday. The award is presented to a senior student athlete who has demonstrated the ability to overcome hardship to become or remain a member of an athletic team at each of Washington County’s 13 public or private high schools, as well as a sophomore at Hagerstown Community College.

Warriors football coach Clayton Anders said in an interview that as a sophomore and a junior, Beard would sit out drills at practice because of foot or ankle pain. The summer before his senior season, Anders said Beard showed more toughness and resilience.

“He missed very few summer practices and had a great summer,” Anders said. “We hoped we could get one side of the ball out of him, but he surprised us and was a full-time kid. He was our second-leading tackler on the (defensive) line and also was our starting center. He was one of the main reasons we achieved what we did.”

“I am proud of myself,” Beard said. “I wanted to prove to myself I could perform with the best of my teammates and the best in the county.”

Slowing it down

North Hagerstown High School’s Connor McHose proved to be the best 182-pound wrestler in Washington County this season — despite grappling with vocal cord dysfunction, which affected his breathing and cardiovascular shape.

“I owe a lot of my success to Coach (Greg) Slick ... and my training partner, Kenneth Burrs,” McHose said.

“I had to slow my style down. I had wrestled a fast-paced style with a lot of attacking. It was more playing with the rules, learning to cut time off the clock and conserve energy for when I needed it.”

After missing the first match of the Hubs’ season, McHose convinced his doctor and coaches to let him have an opportunity — and he didn’t miss another match.

He finished 32-7, won the Washington County Tournament title in his weight class, finished third at the Maryland Class 4A/3A West region meet and wrestled at the Maryland State Championships. The Hubs went 19-5 in dual meets and won the Class 4A/3A West team title.

“The season was very difficult. I was more focused on leading the team than my own wrestling,” McHose said. “I’m very satisfied with how I performed.”

Hagerstown Community College women’s basketball coach Vicky Bullett — a Martinsburg High graduate and two-time Olympian who played in the WNBA after earning All-America honors at the University of Maryland — was the keynote speaker Tuesday.

“My message is just about growth and getting to the next level — whatever it may be,” Bullett said. “Any words of wisdom I can give to kids is a good thing.”

Other winners

Also recognized for their True Grit on Tuesday night were:

  • Logan Bachtell, Smithsburg High, volleyball and basketball
  • Kyle Baker, Williamsport High, Unified tennis, bocce, and track and field
  • Bethany Bowers, Clear Spring High, soccer and basketball
  • Callie Butts, Heritage Academy, basketball and soccer
  • Jerel Carter, HCC, men’s basketball
  • Kristina Cronise, St. Maria Goretti, basketball and softball
  • Kelsey Koontz, Grace Academy, basketball
  • Danielle Langley, South Hagerstown High, soccer
  • Jordan Leach, Hancock High, football, Unified bocce and baseball
  • Emmett Orfan, Saint James, cross country, basketball and tennis
  • Karen Tejeda, Highland View Academy, volleyball and soccer
  • Zach Wolfe, Broadfording Christian, basketball

The True Grit Awards are sponsored by the Hagerstown YMCA,The Herald-Mail, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, and Washington County Public Schools.

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