Athletes of the Week Nov. 13

November 13, 2020
Nataleigh Hunter

Nataleigh, a Sussex Tech senior, has been the Athlete of the Moment since fifth grade. She is usually the fittest and most athletic person in the room and gets after it during competition. Win or lose, she will smile afterward and talk about the game and her future. The point is, this is a balanced person. During the Nov. 6 match against Cape, Nataleigh had four kills, seven digs and two aces in a 3-0 loss. “We played the best we have all year,” she said after the match. Her name is on the track record boards four times at Mariner from sprints to the hurdles. “We lost one meet during a 96-1 steak at Beacon,” said track coach Tim Bamforth. “And the two names I’ll never forget are Nataleigh Hunter and Reagan Ciabattoni. They absolutely killed us.” Nataliegh has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Wilmington University next year, but first she is looking forward to a great spring season with her Sussex Tech teammates.

Maurki James

No. 28 for the Cape junior varsity football team, Maurki scored two touchdowns and had several long runs Nov. 9 against Milford. He was also making plays on defense. Scatbacks can get around the end and power runners can bowl over people, but the rare back can follow blockers, disappear into space, slow down, then speed up; Maurki James has those instincts. And it may be in his genes. Williams Lewis, state leading scorer in 1988 and 600-pound bench presser, is his great uncle on his mom’s side. Deshon James, who carried the mail for coach Brian Donahue, is an uncle on dad’s side. One thing is certain, when the Friday night football world opens up to include all fans, Mauriki James will have more uncles and aunts in the house than Joe Coveleski. Maurki is an absolutely great kid as well the total package.  

Kali Lawson

Kali is a sophomore on a talent-laden Cape volleyball team coached by energetic Tyler Coupe, who doesn’t issue any free passes. Kali was part of a summer crew that travelled to Wilmington’s 76ers Fieldhouse three days a week to play and practice. In a 3-0 win over Sussex Tech Nov. 6, she didn’t get on the floor. The next day, she was at the SoDel Cares 5K as part of a team activity to help support the race. And Nov. 10 at Sussex Central, she was back in the primetime rotation serving aces, winning points and digging out kill shots. Five days in the life of a 15-year-old athlete calls for perseverance and toughness. She also has four brothers. “Kali’s ability to bounce back this week is a testament to her,” Coupe said. “We had a brief chat on Friday about refocusing on our purpose and intentions and she did an excellent job. It’s been fun to see these ladies take on different challenges and attack them.”

Matthew Panyko

Matthew is a senior soccer goalie who transferred to Cape from New Jersey. He’s been playing very well for the Vikings early this season, including a 3-0 shutout against Sussex Central Nov. 10. “I know first hand moving to a new area, let alone a new state, can be a hard transition,” said coach Patrick Kilby. “On top of that, you enter a new high school as a senior and have to try out for a team that is/has been established. With all of that, Matt came out and earned the trust of his new friends and teammates.” The Cape soccer program is full of hard-working kids, but Matt is among the top. In order to be technically sound goalkeeper, you have to have a mental block and a disregard for you own body and safety. “Matt definitely brings these characteristics to the table,” Kilby said. “He lays it all on the line for his team.” 


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