Ashby and Coverdale exude academic and athletic excellence

May 8, 2020

Airborne Ashby - Jack was a soccer guy at Cape, a dirty-work midfielder with relentless on-ball skills and athletic upside – there was no ladder he could not climb. And buried beneath the surface was the “Ashby Attitude” passed down from his dad Jay and Uncle Chris, who were sudden-impact players of the Cape summer soccer league. My twin sons Tom and Jack modeled their soccer game after the Ashby brothers, which is why by sophomore year they switched to football and more collisions. Jack Ashby was a four-year starter and two-year captain of Lynchburg soccer, an All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference/All-Academic player who was accepted into the Virginia Commonwealth University Doctor of Dental Surgery program. Jack was also a two-time Seashore Striders All-American in cross country. Little sister Lily Ashby was a sophomore starter during the 2020 season. She's a guts-and-glory type of player who loves to score. Hopefully she’ll be appearing on the field hockey pitch this fall.

Erin Coverdale - Erin, straight out of Mariner Middle, won the Karvasales Outstanding Senior Athlete Award for Franklin and Marshall athletics at the annual awards ceremony May 4. The award goes to the top male and female athletes who displayed cumulative outstanding achievements over a four-year period. Erin was a Division III All-American field hockey player the last three seasons and the 2017 and 2018 Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the 2017 Regional Player of the Year. She finished her F & M career with 18 career game-winning goals and holds the record for career goals (56) and points (136). Erin was an outstanding member of Cape’s field hockey team in her 2014 junior and 2015 senior seasons. The Vikings were state champs in 2014 and 2015, finishing a combined 38-0. Older sister Alex Coverdale was on Cape’s 2011 and 2012 state championship teams and went on to graduate from Virginia Tech. Cape’s Cover Girls are Coverdale Girls for the sport of field hockey.  

Efficient intelligence - Erin Coverdale is one of those top-of-the-line game day players who wouldn’t pop at a recruiting combine. Not big or weight room strong, speed not blinding, so what is up? Erin found a home inside the sport of field hockey. Coaches understand athletic intelligence. Some athletes can just feel it, they know where they are in space and they know where their teammates are even when they’re someplace they ain’t supposed to be. I saw Erin do it time and again while she played at Cape and thankfully Franklin and Marshall saw it too because sometimes the stealthy and unselfish, smart player hides in plain sight on the wrong side of out of bounds or out of position as the hard-working defender who can light up the scoreboard if given the chance. The best two minutes in Cape hockey goes back to November 2014, the Vikings trailing Sussex Tech 2-1 in the state tournament after a goal by Sydney Ostroski at 43:33 tightened the game. Coverdale struck at 58:07, then Tess Bernheimer at 59:56, and Cape won the game 3-2. Let me stop but simply say there are times coaches miss the player in front of them. Thankfully, Cape and Franklin and Marshall didn’t miss Erin Coverdale. 

Essentials - I work every day writing and tracking down stories, but I am in no way in the league of essential personnel who work the front lines like hospitals and grocery stores. I once knew a track manager in Pennsylvania, a burly, fuzzy-headed boy who went by the nickname, “Bear,” but that somehow transitioned to “Essentials,” short for “Bare Essentials.” If I’m honest with myself, if there is a category “so not necessary,” I may be a group leader.  

Snippets - Joakim Noah played 11 years for the Chicago Bulls (2007-16). He is 7 feet tall and holds triple citizenship, including USA, Sweden and France. His dad, Yannick Noah, was the No. 3-ranked tennis player in the world in 1983. His mom, Cecelia Rodhe, is a former Miss Sweden. His grandfather, Zacharie Noah, was a Cameroonian professional football (soccer) player. Noah was the center on an NCAA championship team at Florida. He and his mother started Noah’s Arc Foundation in 2010 to help at-risk youth in Chicago use positive self-expression through arts and sports. And yet Dennis Rodman gets more play in the press and in Chicago than Joakim Noah, which I find perplexing. Rodman is also the only person on the planet who is friends with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. That and other life mysteries will be explained in the next realm of reality when some saint with too much time on his hands says, “Fredman, let me shake you down,” but that might take a few light years. Go on now, git!


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