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SportsMX/NDIAA March 2017 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate Austin Blair, Lily DeSimone, Candace Fleming, and Jacob Weiss on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for March 2017.

Austin BlairAustin Blair
Michigan School for the Deaf

Grade: Senior
Sport: Track & Field
Events: Sprints, Relays, Shot Put

Austin is known among his teammates as a humble athlete who lets his performance speak for him. His main event is the shot put but Austin also competes in the 100m dash and 4x100 relay. Over the course of his high school career, Austin has improved his shot put distance by three feet and he has plenty of time to improve on his personal best this season with seven more meets on slate. Much of Austin’s improvement can be attributed to his ability to put his mind to achieve a certain goal and putting in the necessary work ethic to achieve that along with being receptive to coaching.

"Austin has been an excellent example to the athletes on his team and his coaches. He has been one of the most dedicated athletes who demonstrate enthusiasm and pride on and off the track. He performs well in competition and always throws further each time." - Michigan Track & Field Head Coach Michael Davis

Lily DeSimoneLily DeSimone
California School for the Deaf, Riverside
Grade: Sophomore
Sport: Softball
Position: Shortstop

Lily’s growth as a complete player comes from her devotion to the game of softball. When practicing on the finer points of the game, Lily is often her own worst critic as she get frustrated when things don’t work out for her but her positive attitude as a competitor has rubbed off on her teammates. Lily is currently batting with a .545 average and has an on base/slugging percentage of 1.333. Lily leads the defense at the shortstop position and her youth is a bright spot for the team. Lily is also thriving as an excellent student and serves as an ambassador for ASBG.

“We admire her enthusiasm and passion for softball and she is a joy to coach. We are proud of her performance in practices and games.“ - Riverside Softball Coaches Tyler Bayarsky and Traci Price

Candace FlemingCandace Fleming
Michigan School for the Deaf
Grade: Junior
Sport: Track & Field
Events: Sprints, Relays, Long Jump

Candace is a latecomer to Michigan’s track & field program as this season marks the first time she has been part of the squad. Candace’s contribution to the team was immediate as it was nothing short of positive with her being more than willing to put the team first ahead of her individual goals. Candace competes in the 100m, 200m, 4x100 relay, and long jump events. Candace’s commitment to the program is evident with her continually showing up to practice prepared to work on getting better. Candace’s dedication has paid off, as she has become a big part of the team.

"Candace is a tough competitor and exceeds to the best of her abilities. She shows great effort and intensity with solid effort. She has a wonderful radiant personality with integrity and I am truly proud to have her on our track team." - Michigan Track & Field Head Coach Janette Lyon

Jacob WeissJacob Weiss
California School for the Deaf, Riverside
Grade: Junior
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher & Infielder

Playing in his first year of baseball, there was no learning curve for Jacob as he has made an immediate impact on the team. As a leadoff hitter, Jacob has an on base percentage of .590 along with being a terror on the base path with 21 stolen bases. Jacob usually anchors the infield at shortstop and is one of the pitchers. The team is taking advantage of Jacob’s versatility to fill in other position when needed. He has pulled the team together with his leadership and dedication in honing his skills. Jacob’s leadership traits do carry off the field as he holds the ASBG Vice President position.

“What impresses me the most is his leadership and without Jacob, the team will not maximize their potential.” - Riverside Baseball Head Coach John Lawson

SportsMX/NDIAA February 2017 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate Jessica H., Dawson Moder, Anjel Perez, and Carlos Vega on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for February 2017.

Jessica HJessica H.
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

Grade: Senior
Sport: Cheerleading

Jessica was recognized as the Most Valuable Cheerleader and was also selected to the All-Star team at the 40th Annual Eastern Schools for the Deaf Athletic Association (ESDAA) cheerleading tournament held at American School for the Deaf. As a member of the cheerleading team for four years, Jessica has displayed commitment to the program by knowing all of the cheers and chants with confidence. Jessica’s teammates look to her for encouragement and leadership. When not actively showing her school spirit, Jessica is very much involved with Jr. NAD and was a member of the NDIAA Division 2 national championship volleyball team.

“I am extremely proud of Jessica and her achievement and confidence she has developed through the dedication and commitment she shows to this sport!“ - Western Pennsylvania Cheerleading Coach Linda Langer

Dawson ModerDawson Moder
Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

Dawson is known to be a hard-nosed competitor as he gives it all every time he dresses up for practice or game. During the season, Dawson averaged 10 points and four steals a game and was named to the All-Tournament team at GPSD basketball tournament. His team was predicted to finish last in league tournament and Dawson played a big part in preventing this from happening by scoring 23 points and snagging five steals in a consolations semifinal victory against Community Peace Academy. Dawson’s appetite for competition extends off the basketball court as he is involved with the Academic Bowl and is also a member of the Jr. NAD.

“Dawson has contributed so much to our basketball program. He is a workaholic and trying to get better every day. He sacrificed his sweat, blood, and even a broken finger to play as much as he could.” - Minnesota Boys Basketball Head Coach Lee Jones

Anjel PerezAnjel Perez
New York School for the Deaf
Grade: Junior
Sport: Basketball/Cheerleading
Position: Forward/Center

Anjel pulled off a difficult feat by excelling both in basketball and cheerleading. As a basketball player, Anjel is an energetic defender and has a nose for the ball averaging 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 2.4 steals, and 1.2 assists per game. Her efforts as a basketball player are contagious as her teammates feed off on her energy. As a cheerleader, Anjel turned to her dancing and gymnastics skills to help her team win third place at the ESDAA cheerleading tournament as well as the Spirit award. Anjel is also a standout student possessing a 3.6 GPA and serves as the Vice President for the Student Body Government.

“Anjel is an all-around cheerleader. Her dedication, spirit, and leadership contributed greatly to our cheerleading squad. I am truly proud to have her on our cheerleading squad.” – New York Cheerleading Coach Isabella Kogan

Carlos VegaCarlos Vega
New York School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard/Forward

As a vocal captain for his team, Carlos led his team this year with passion and by example. He battles it out until the very end in all games and averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3.5 steals in February. Carlos’ best game was against Western Pennsylvania where he had 23 points, eight rebounds, eight steals, and seven assists. At the ESDAA tournament, Carlos led his team to the consolation championship. In two games, he had 34 points, 12 rebounds, 10 steals, and seven assists which earned him a spot on the All-Tournament team. Carlos is also an excellent student and is an active member of the Student Body Government.

“Carlos demonstrates strong leadership and work ethic. He hardly misses practices or games. He gives 110% on every play. He is truly an athletic character: sacrifice and dedication.” – New York Athletic Director Nicolas Tegni

SportsMX/NDIAA January 2017 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate Emelia Beldon, Demi Bingham, Dylan Sicoli, and Jared Spinale on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for January 2017.

Emelia BeldonEmelia Beldon
Maryland School for the Deaf

Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

Emelia picked up MVP honors when she led Maryland to the Oriole Classic championship and an unprecedented fourth straight Clerc Classic championship. Possessing exceptional skills on both ends of the floor, Emelia continues to push herself to be a more complete player. She is currently averaging 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.6 steals, and 6.2 assists per game. In a home game against Model, Emelia tied the school record for most three-pointers in a game with five and she also leads the Frederick area with her assists per game average. Emelia is a member of the National Honors Society possessing a 4.0 GPA and is actively involved in leadership roles at school.

“Emelia does everything that is asked of her to the best of her ability and expects her teammates to do the same. Her athleticism and basketball IQ is rivaled by very few.” - Maryland Girls Basketball Head Coach Amy Mowl

Demi BinghamDemi Bingham
Indiana School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

Demi’s Senior Night and homecoming will be always extra special as this was the night that she scored her 1,000th point. But that was not all as Demi had a 27-point outing and made the final shot with a few seconds remaining to lead Indiana to a one-point victory against Indianapolis Trailblazers Homeschool. Demi was named the Allie Jean Hale Classic MVP with a 56% field goal average scoring 24 points as she led Indiana to the tournament championship. Demi was also was selected to the All-Tournament team at the Clerc Classic. For the season, Demi averaged 15.3 points, 3.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game.

“I can't describe the how much I am proud of Demi for everything that she has done for the team and coaches. Demi’s determination and work hard has paid off.” - Indiana Girls Basketball Head Coach Amanda Huser

Dylan SicoliDylan Sicoli
Texas School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

Dylan often visits the gym early in the morning before school starts to work on the finer points of his game. His commitment has paid dividends as Dylan is averaging 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 2.8 assists per game. Dylan’s on-court leadership is credited as one of the main factors for the team’s success this year. Dylan scored 40 points against San Juan Diego and set a new school record for most three-pointers in a game with 10. He also joined an exclusive club becoming the 11th boys basketball player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys learning about other cultures as a member of the International Studies group.

“It is obvious that Dylan has passion for the game, as he is very determined and dedicated to improving as a player each and every day. He has taken the initiative to start taking on a leadership role for this team.” - Texas Boys Basketball Head Coach Chris Hamilton

Jared SpinaleJared Spinale
Indiana School for the Deaf
Grade: Junior
Sport: Wrestling
Weight Class: 113

Jared had a spectacular January winning fifteen straight matches highlighted with an undefeated record in the duals matches and winning the individuals championship at the Willigan Wrestling tournament. Jared stood out at the tournament with ten takedowns and five pins. He also had a fourth place finish in the sectionals and advanced to the regionals. Jared is a role model to his teammates as he has shown that he is someone they can count on. Jared’s 29-5 season record is the result of his efforts in practice where he is known to give it all every single day. Jared is involved in various school activities and is the vice-president of the Junior class.

“Jared’s teammates are inspired by his positive influence. He possesses the type of wrestler that every coach will love to have on the team. He always arrives to practice first and leaves practice last.” - Indiana Wrestling Head Coach Chris Cassel

SportsMX/NDIAA December 2016 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate Kylisha Cathey, Jerome Payne, Yara Vasquez, and Jayman Washington on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for December 2016.

Kylisha CatheyKylisha Cathey
Mississippi School for the Deaf

Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

As a multifaceted player, Kylisha has led Mississippi to a 12-game winning streak. Her passion for the game has rubbed off on her teammates as she plays selflessly and with heart. Kylisha is also able to enhance her game with her willingness to take feedback from her coaches. Being the go to player with ball handling skills, outside shooting, and the ability to drive to the basket, Kylisha has put up impressive stats thus far averaging 26.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.14 steals per game. During the Hackney Classic at Alabama, Kylisha scored her 1,500th point and will leave the school as one of the all-time leading scorers.

“Kylisha’s commitment to the MSD basketball program is remarkable. She is an exemplary team captain and sets an example for her young teammates both on and off the court.” - Mississippi Girls Basketball Head Coach Victorica Monroe

Jerome PayneJerome Payne
Wisconsin School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

Jerome has etched his mark on the Wisconsin basketball program by breaking the school’s all-time scoring record of 1,243 points that had stood for 41 years. As a humble player, Jerome approaches each game with such passion and if necessary is more than capable of playing multiple positions with his excellent all-around game and leadership. Jerome averaged a remarkable 25.5 points, 3.5 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.8 steals per game and leading the team to the Neesam Classic co-championship. While away from the basketball court, Jerome serves as a role model and mentor for the boys in the elementary department.

“Jerome is an unique and best basketball player I have ever coached at WSD. He always displays his hard-working and good leadership on the basketball court.” - Wisconsin Boys Basketball Head Coach Michael Eldred

Yara VasquezYara Vasquez
Phoenix Day School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Point Guard

Yara embodies the meaning of student-athlete excelling both in athletics and in school. While devoting her time to athletics, Yara manages to carry a 3.8 GPA and attend a nursing program at a public school. On the basketball side, Yara is averaging 19.4 points a game while leading her team to a 7-3 record along with earning MVP honors at the Roadrunner Classic at New Mexico. Yara’s devotion has earned respect of her teammates and much of the team’s success can be attributed to her leadership. Yara had the team working out before the season started and often sets up practice on weekends.

“Yara is empowered by her coaches to make decisions on the floor. In return, she empowers her team to run plays, score baskets, and make defensive decisions. I am very fortunate to have been her coach." - Phoenix Girls Basketball Head Coach Megan Tellefson

Jayman WashingtonJayman Washington
Kansas School for the Deaf
Grade: Junior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Forward/Center

Jayman has been a beast on the court this winter leading Kansas to a 5-1 record and a Neesam Classic co-championship at Wisconsin. He is averaging an impressive double-double this season with 21.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game along with a 61% field goal average. Jayman’s success can be attributed to his efforts in practice where he consistently tries to hone his game through hard work and is a role model for his teammates as they look to him for leadership. Jayman is very much involved with school organizations as he is a class president and a member of the Student Body Council.

“Jayman demonstrates leadership and a strong work ethic. His peers and fellow players follow his influence. He contributes a lot to his team's success.” - Kansas Boys Basketball Head Coach William Richard Ward

SportsMX/NDIAA November 2016 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate Calel Aramboles and Isabella Paulone on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for November 2016.

Calel ArambolesCalel Aramboles
California School for the Deaf, Fremont

Grade: Freshman
Sport: Football
Position: Running Back and Defensive End

Calel had a breakout game on ESPN2 that had everyone asking who he was. From there, he had become a force to be reckoned with despite playing with a broken wrist. In the last three games of the year, Calel rushed for 231 yards and had 16 tackles. By then, he had become a “marked” player when the team faced the number one seed, Berean Christian in the North Coast Section playoffs minus four starters, they stacked the box forcing Fremont to revert to their passing game. The future is definitely bright for Calel as he wrapped up a remarkable season with 841 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, and 50 tackles.

“Calel is a student of the game and despite being a freshmen, he is already one of the hardest worker in the classroom with a GPA of 3.75 and in the weight room.” - Fremont Athletic Director and Football Head Coach Warren Keller

Isabella PauloneIsabella Paulone
Indiana School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Basketball
Position: Guard

With unquestioned skills as a basketball player, Isabella has grown into the role of being the vocal leader of the team this year as well. Isabella is the “X” factor for Indiana’s 5-0 start in November averaging an impressive double-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals per game. Isabella reached a significant milestone breaking the school’s all-time scoring record, which stood for 26 years when she scored her 1,315th point against Lutheran. Isabella does not limit her activities to sports as she is a member of the National Honor Society, Academic Bowl team, and is a class treasurer.

“Isabella is quite clearly the best basketball player I’ve ever coached at ISD. She is every basketball coach's dream player as she is always so passionate about the game of basketball.” - Indiana Girls Basketball Head Coach Amanda Huser

SportsMX/NDIAA October 2016 Athletes of the Month

SportsMX and National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) present the monthly "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" awards. This award recognizes High School athletes across the country that has made significant impact on their teams not just on the field but in academics, leadership, and character as well.

SportsMX and NDIAA congratulate John Fetcher IV, Kathleen Lopez, Tabitha Spurling, and Mia Upchurch on their selection as "SportsMX/NDIAA Athletes of the Month" for October 2016.

John FetcherJohn Fetcher IV
Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf

Grade: Senior
Sport: Football
Position: Quarterback

The football team of Minnesota had a rocky start and the team regrouped under John’s leadership and poise to reel off five wins in the last six games. During the October stretch, John passed for 680 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 176 yards and eight touchdowns. Despite not matching up size-wise against one of their toughest opponents in McGregor, John put in his best performance of the season making snap decisions to keep the offense moving and the game very close. Off the football field, John is actively involved with Academic Bowl, Jr. NAD, and Student Body Government.

"MSAD has been known as a rushing team for years, but John has changed that. I really enjoyed watching him play quarterback and I think he took the reins on offense because his teammates trusted him to lead them." - Minnesota Athletic Director Lee Jones

Kathleen LopezKathleen Lopez
California School for the Deaf, Riverside
Grade: Senior
Sport: Volleyball
Position: Middle Hitter

As a four-year varsity player, Kathleen has blossomed into an all-around student-athlete through patience and hard work. She also pushes her teammates to challenge themselves as well. Kathleen made her final season a memorable one with season totals of 209 kills, 64 aces, and 17 blocks. She also was recognized as the Player of the Game three times. Kathleen stepped up her game at the SpikeOut tournament earning All-Tournament honors. When not honing her skills on the court, Kathleen is involved with various campus organizations and is the school news anchor on “ASL Today”.

“I've always believed that if Kathleen put in the work, the results will come. She doesn’t do things half-heartedly because she has 100% heart no matter what happens at the game.” - Riverside Volleyball Head Coach Michelle Skowzgird

Tabitha SpurlingTabitha Spurling
Alabama School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Volleyball
Position: Setter

Recognizing that her setting game needed some work, Tabitha eagerly put in extra time in the gym and eventually emerged into one of the key players for Alabama. With the team playing 13 games in October that included the Mason Dixon tournament and area playoffs, Tabitha put an impressive 89% serving average going for 141 out of 158 serves. She served up 15 aces and averaged 3.0 assists per set. Even though Tabitha’s team lost to Mississippi in the thrilling Mason Dixon championship match, she was named the tournament MVP and also was named to Talladega All-County Volleyball first-team.

"Tabitha was such a constant leader. She was the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. She made sure they were all in the gym. She took care of her teammates." – Alabama Volleyball Head Coach Becky Ripley

Mia UpchurchMia Upchurch
Texas School for the Deaf
Grade: Senior
Sport: Volleyball
Position: Libero

Mia has made her mark as an invaluable asset for the Texas volleyball program as a libero along with exceptional defense passing skills, which allowed the team to run a more complex offense. Mia set a school single game record of 45 digs against Hill Country Christian of San Marcos and had two other games with 37 and 38 digs. For the month of October, Mia had 171 digs and finished the season with 395 digs in 32 games. She also holds the school’s career record for digs with 1,252. Mia was pivotal in bringing home the SpikeOut championship. She was named to SpikeOut All-Tournament team and first-team All-District.

"Mia is a type of player that every coach will love to have on the team, very coachable, plays hard every time whether it's practice or game, follows her instincts very well.” - Texas Volleyball Head Coach RJ Kaufman

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