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Fitzpatrick, Lopez examples of stellar student-athletes: Editorial

Posted 2/19/20

We often laud our high school sports athletes. Each edition of the Press & Journal dedicates a page or two to their exploits.

Youth sports, even at the high school level, should be about …

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Fitzpatrick, Lopez examples of stellar student-athletes: Editorial

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We often laud our high school sports athletes. Each edition of the Press & Journal dedicates a page or two to their exploits.

Youth sports, even at the high school level, should be about teamwork and life lessons. Young people need to learn about working together and working hard, and about what it takes to achieve goals, along with many other important ideals.

Coaches stress the team concept above individual achievements, and for the most part we agree.

But there are two athletes right now at Middletown Area High School who have earned a bit of extra praise. They are two of the best in their sports to ever be Blue Raiders.

Seniors Jose Lopez and Kate Fitzpatrick are record-setters, and are using their skills in the classroom and as athletes to further their academic careers.

Lopez is the all-time leading rusher in Middletown football history. In fact, it’s not close. He broke the record as a junior. He spent his career rushing through, around and past defenders to the tune of 6,197 yards on 750 carries. He tacked on 75 rushing touchdowns for good measure.

Just how good was Lopez as a Raider? The second-leading rusher is Brady Fox, who had 4,372 yards. Lopez’s mark might not ever be broken.

Lopez chose the University of Albany over Dartmouth, Slippery Rock, Villanova and Georgetown. That goes to show you just how much he excelled in the classroom as well. He regularly achieved a spot on the honor roll.

Fitzpatrick recently became the all-time leading scorer in Middletown girls basketball history.

In the first quarter at Milton Hershey on Feb. 4, Fitzpatrick made a free throw to register her 1,587th point, passing 2016 graduate Ja’Lynn Burton-Jones. Fitzpatrick finished her career with 1,614 points. She will play softball for the Blue Raiders this spring before heading to Millersville University, to play both sports.

She, too, is a regular on the Distinguished Honor Roll at Middletown Area High School.

It is very unlikely they will ever play professional sports. For as talented and hard-working as they are, to reach the peak of their respective sports is nearly impossible.

That is not a reflection on them, their skills, their family support or their work ethic. We wish them the absolute best as they move ahead into their college careers, and of course we would love to see them play past college. But fewer than 2 percent of NCAA student-athletes go on to be professional athletes.

We want them to live their dreams, but it is likely they realize that they can use their athletic prowess to further their academics. They can take advantage of the opportunities given to them to attend college to learn and become a success in society, if not a success on the field.

Several other Middletown athletes also announced their college choices on Feb. 5, and while they aren’t as heralded as Lopez and Fitzpatrick, they too will take advantage of an opportunity to play college sports.

Jordyn Dupes will play women’s soccer at West Chester University. Zach Malay will run cross country at Penn State Harrisburg. Arthur Dash will play football at Millersville University.

They, along with all of our area high school athletes, deserve our praise for the hard work it takes to achieve what they have.

Education is a precious commodity that lasts a lifetime. We wish all these student-athletes the best on the field and in the classroom.