Knights ready to tackle next level

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TOWAMENCIN- Five North Penn Knights will be transitioning from playing under the Crawford Stadium lights to playing under the lights of Lock Haven University, Millersville University, West Virginia University, the Virginia Military Institute, and Kutztown University.

During the Knight’s season this fall, they had many big wins, but for Athletic Director William Bartle, the biggest win for them wasn’t a game.

“The biggest win for these guys was the way they presented themselves from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. That really has to do with the gentlemen here today because they were the leaders of the team, and they led the team extremely well,” said Bartle.

Student athletes Damon Berry and Nicholas Dillon sitting at table

Photo by Anissa Gardizy

Nick Dillon- Lock Haven University (Athletic Training)

Nick Dillon will be continuing his football career at Lock Haven University. During his senior year he was the starting running back for the Knights and earned First Team All League.

In college, Dillon will be studying Athletic Training so that he can continue his passion for sports throughout his life. If football taught him one thing, it was a mindset that will help him be successful in anything he wants to accomplish.

“Football has taught me that you have to work for everything you want in life; things are not going to be handed to you,” said Dillon.

Photo by Anissa Gardizy

Jake Hubler- Millersville University (Chemistry)

Usually, when students are flooded with general emails from colleges, they either ignore or delete them. However, when Jake Hubler received an email from Millersville, it was the first time he started to seriously consider attending the school. After meeting with the coaches and seeing the campus, Hubler ended up committing to the school.

Much to his coach’s surprise, Hubler improved immensely during his time at North Penn, which really helped seal the deal for him playing in college.

“Last year, I said he would be a JV player, but three games into his junior year we put him in the varsity lineup, and he never left it,” said Coach Dick Beck.

Photo by Anissa Gardizy

Ricky Johns- West Virginia University (Athletic Training)

Ricky Johns will be attending West Virginia University this coming fall. When talking about his reasons for choosing WVU, Johns couldn’t have said it better.

“West Virginia is a big time school, and I want to play big time competition,” he stated.

When Coach Beck told Johns during his sophomore year that he could be a big time player in a Division l school, it gave Johns the motivation to make that conversation a reality.

After coaching Johns throughout his North Penn career, Beck sees him as a multi-use player who will fit well almost anywhere in a Division l program.

“[West Virginia] sees Ricky as a defensive player, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got moved to wide receiver; he’s a very talented and versatile player,” said Beck.

Photo by Anissa Gardizy

Reece Udinski- Virginia Military Institute (Economics and Business)

North Penn’s quarterback Reece Udinski is not only changing schools next year, but also lifestyles. Udinski will be attending the Virginia Military Institute, which will offer a unique post high school experience compared to the typical college life.

Cutting his hair, wearing a uniform, and having strict sleep schedules are just a few of the many adjustments he will need to make in the coming year.

“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, but the first year is known to be notoriously tough,” said Udinski.

Despite the number of changes, Udinski sees the transition as a manageable one that will allow him to form strong bonds on the football team.

“I think it is really important to make friendships with your teammates, because I don’t think you can get through the year by yourself. I’m looking forward to [making those bonds] at the next level,” said Udinski.

Photo by Anissa Gardizy

Nick Vasger- Kutztown University (Undecided)

Nick Vasger will be attending Kutztown University next year to play collegiate football; a scenario that he has been looking forward to for quite a while.

“I just love the game and want to continue playing as long as I possibly can,” said Vasger. “I choose Kutztown because of the coaches; they seem like really dependable people.”

Vasger hopes to take the skills he developed in youth and high school football to the collegiate level as well.

“I learned in high school that football only gets more serious the farther you go, so discipline and technique are really going to help me in college,” said Vasger.

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