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Worth the pain

Eastern Tech’s Bates and Makall from Mervo claim McCormick Unsung Hero Scholarship

As an undersize center in football and tenacious defender in basketball, Mervo’s Jamar Makall and Eastern Tech’s Natalie Batestook had more than their fair share of bumps and bruises.

The pain, in addition to their off the field contributions were recognized Monday. The seniors each won a $40,000 Charles Perry McCormick College Scholarship at the 2017-18 Unsung Hero ceremony at Valley Mansion in Cockeysville.

Bates and Makall stood out among 113 nominees representing 69 Baltimore area public, private, parochial and independent schools.

Makall, a three-sport athlete, was the Mustangs’ starting center in football, despite standing just 5-foot-3. He said he fractured every finger on his right hand during his two seasons as a starter.

That didn’t stop Makell, who serves as a student mentor to 10 freshman at the Baltimore City school, and is a peer tutor for the Mustang athletes.

Makell, who wrestled and played tennis to help his footwork in football, didn’t mind sacrificing for his teammates.

“When you spend that much time, they become your family,” said Makall. “You’re my brother and I’ll do everything I can for you as long as you do everything for me.”

Makall, who plans to attend McDaniel College and major in Computer Science, is the first recipient of the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship from the Hillen Road school.

Mervo football coach Patrick Nixon said Makall was an inspiration with his toughness and positive attitude.

“He’s a rare breed. He’s coach’s dream,” said Nixon.

Also a three-sport athlete, Bates was tireless on the basketball court for the Mavericks, especially drawing offensive charges. When not on the floor, she cheered her teammates and mentored several varsity freshmen.

Bates also teaches basketball and assist with preschoolers at her church.

“Don’t be centered on yourself because there’s a whole world out there,” said Bates, who will attend UMBC in the fall and plans to major in Media Communications. “You need to be caring for each other. Our coaches are always encouraging teamwork.”

She was the perfect building block for first-year Maverick basketball coach Alexis Washington.

“She made sure our freshman stayed in line and helped them become contributors as the season went,” said Washington. “She excelled in her role and couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Bates is the fifth winner from the Baltimore County school, and third in the last five years.

Four additional scholarship were awarded Monday as Dulaney’s Lydia Naughton and Jordan Johnson from Milford Mill Academy each received a $7,500 scholarship. A’janay Nicholson of City College and Western Tech’s Cameron O’Grady each received $5,000 scholarships. In all, $105,000 in scholarships were awarded Monday night.

The McCormick Unsung Heroes Awards is opened to all sports. Begun as a football only award in 1940, the event began honoring girls basketball players in 1987. There are Unsung Hero honorees from boys basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball, in addition to football and girls basketball.

Baltimore basketball legend Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues was the keynote speaker Monday. Standing only 5-foot-3, Bogues was arguably the dominant figure on the legendary Dunbar Poet basketball teams of the early 1980s.

After a record-setting career at Wake Forest University, Bogues became a NBA first round draft pick as well as the shortest player in the play in the NBA.

Despite his critics, Bogues used his ball handing skills, court vision, tenacious defensive ability and a 44-inch vertical leap to play 14 seasons in the NBA, ranking in the Top 25 all-time in assists.

Bogues, who was mocked about his size from his youth growing up in East Baltimore into the professional ranks, told the Unsung nominees don’t let anything distract them from their goals.

“You never let anyone tell you who you should be in life, you can be whatever you want,” said Bogues. “They will always try to discount you and put you down, but no one can be an expert on our life.

No one know your capability, no one know your potential, they definitely don’t know your heart. Don’t give them any ammunition…make sure you continue to believe in yourself. You must look in the mirror and love that person that you see. Confidence is the key to success.”

The late Charles Perry McCormick Sr. founded the McCormick Unsung Heroes program in 1940 to recognize athletes for unselfish team play and highlight the efforts of those who contribute to the success of their teams without acclaim. In 1969, the scholarship was added to the program in his honor.

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