Becker, Sonnefeld Unsung winners

Boys' Latin-Hereford duo rallied teams in hard times

High Schools

May 11, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

The late George Sonnefeld always took pride in the accomplishments of his daughter Kasey. Last night would have surely been one of those occasions.

The Hereford senior was one of two athletes whose perseverance and dedication without acclaim was rewarded at last night's 64th annual McCormick Unsung Heroes Awards Banquet at the Hunt Valley Inn, where each was selected to receive a college scholarship totaling $24,000 ($6,000 per year).

"I know he's so proud of me, and that he's up there looking down on me right now. He's with me in everything I do," said Sonnefeld, who, along with undersized offensive guard Alex Becker of Boys' Latin, was chosen by a five-member panel that had no knowledge of the students' names or school affiliations.

The panel knew only of the stories of the winners, who were picked from 113 football and female basketball players from 74 Baltimore City and Baltimore County public, private, parochial and independent schools.

"I was just happy to be here with my coaches and my family," said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Becker, who also wrestled down at 171 pounds. "I figured I had no chance at all at winning this. I'm stunned."

As Sonnefeld began her junior basketball season, she learned that her father had been diagnosed with cancer. Yet the 5-foot-8 guard handled the news with unusual poise: "I just stayed in practice, and my team helped me go through the bad times."

"Shortly after the season ended, she lost her father," said her coach, David Schreiner. "It was her dedication to team spirit that finally came full circle as her teammates not only had her respect, but also became her strength to help her get through this difficult time."

Sonnefeld organized team dinners, the purchase of team apparel and a secret Santa gift exchange "in order to remind our team that being together in good times and trying times is the most important part of any successful team," Schreiner said.

A student with a 3.5 grade point average, Sonnefeld is headed for Clemson University, where she said she likely will play club basketball. She is undecided on a major, but said the money will "more than come in handy."

A three-sport athlete with a 3.4 GPA, Becker's personality and unselfishness not only helped the Lakers win their second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference football title, but also won the respect of his teammates.

Slated to be the starting defensive end for the second straight year, Becker unselfishly moved to the offensive line when asked by coach Richie Schell. He became a crucial part of an offensive line behind which Shane Walterhoefer excelled as a record-breaking All-Metro running back.

Headed for McDaniel College, Becker's selection brought tears to the eyes of his coach, who said Becker exemplified the team motto "one heartbeat."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.