by Derek Toney
(VIDEO INTERVIEWS HERE!!)
Notre Dame Prep basketball player Claire Ford and Eastern Tech football player Matt Stambaugh were the recipients of the 2014 Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship. They were chosen from a field of 115 student athletes from 73 area high schools. Each received a four-year college scholarship worth $36,000 to continue their education.
The pair along with the other athletes all received the McCormick Unsung Heroes awards for their good sportsmanship, dedication, integrity and positive attitude as players and teammates.
A shooting guard her first two years on varsity, Ford moved into the point guard role for the Blazers this past season. Notre Dame Prep coach Katie Marks said Ford grew into a quiet leader.
"She just did everything we needed her to do to make everyone better," said Marks. “The girls really respected her. She doesn't say much, but she when does, they listened."
Last season, Marks asked each player to have an individual goal and free throw shooting was Ford's. Marks said she remembered leaving school after a practice and Ford was still in the gym.
"I knew I had to be one of the leaders," said Ford. "It's a lot of work, but it paid off."
Ford is the first C.P. McCormick Scholarship recipient from the Towson school since Erin Workmeister in 2008. Ford now attends the University of Maryland and majors in Biology.
At just 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Stambaugh was the top linemen for the Mavericks during the fall season. Considered small for his position, Stambaugh compensated with technique and determination.
"He has the heart of a champion and plays like that on every play," said Eastern Tech coach Marc Mesaros.
Stambaugh is the fourth Maverick football player to win the prestigious award since 2005.
Stambaugh attends the Community College of Baltimore County at Dundalk with plans to move on to a four-year college or university.
"You have to come in every practice knowing everyone is going to be bigger than you. You have to feel it in your heart that you're going to do it," said Stambaugh.
"You can achieve anything."
That was the message delivered by Kyle Maynard, the banquet’s keynote speaker. Born with a rare condition known as congenital amputation in which fibrous bands prevent the development of fetal limbs, Maynard’s arms end at the elbow and his legs stop near his knees.
That hasn’t stopped him from having successfully wrestled, fought in mixed martial arts matches and set weightlifting records. In January 2012, Maynard became the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without assistance, crawling all 19,340 feet in just 10 days.
Despite his physical limitations, Maynard told the Unsung Heroes winners that there's no separation in their ability to have an impact.
"It's pretty simple, either you're making the planet better than you found it or you're not,” Maynard said. “There's not much in between. There's no greater charge or responsibility. Sometimes, it's really scary but if we don't take those risks, we don't get anywhere."