Catholic schools will be represented by two award-winners at the 65th annual banquet of the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association, which will be held Monday at noon at the Sheraton Wilmington South hotel.
Padua Academy senior Erin Wendelburg is a co-winner of the inaugural Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes an athlete who has overcome obstacles to contribute to an athletic team and inspire others. Wendelburg’s mother died from cancer when Erin was 8, her father four years later. Wendelburg then was diagnosed with a brain tumor and missed several months of her junior year. She returned to the dance team this season and is close to finishing her chemotherapy.
I profiled Wendelburg in December.
She will share the award with Mike DeStasio, a Lewes resident who has become a nationally recognized all-wheel bowler despite battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, since 2008.
The Team of the Year is the Salesianum School soccer team, which finished the season with its 10th state championship in 12 years, a No. 2 national ranking, and a win over St. Benedict’s (N.J.), then the top-ranked team in the country.
Other honorees are Lynn Richardson, field hockey and girls lacrosse coach at Polytech High School, the Tubby Raymond Coach of the Year. Richardson led the lacrosse team to its first state tournament in the spring, then took the Panthers to the field hockey semifinals in the fall. She was the coach of the year in both sports and did all this while being treated for cancer.
Tony Defazio is the winner of the Herm Reitzes Award, given to someone for his or her service to the community. Defazio officiates several YMCA sports, and is a baseball and softball umpire. He runs the clock for Cape Henlopen girls basketball games and announces the school’s football games.
The John J. Brady Athlete of the Year will be announced at the banquet.
The Sheraton Wilmington South is located at 365 Airport Road, New Castle. Tickets are $30 and available at www.delasports.org.