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Pennridge’s Scott, Stillings sign letters of intent


EAST ROCKHILL >> Morgan Scott is at peace in the water.
“It’s just something I can connect to. A lot of people can say they love their sport. I truly believe that swimming was something that was made for me,” the Pennridge senior said. “I’ve always loved the water, and it’s just my release.
“When I’m upset, I just take it out in the water. I sprint a 50 and then I’m good to go.”
Josh Stillings, meanwhile, is at home on the mat.
“I think it’s a lot different than other sports in a sense that it’s just you,” the Ram senior said. “You don’t have to rely on somebody else. I like the fact that I can dictate what happens.”
Scott and Stillings, each an artist of their craft, signed their college letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon. Headed to Division 1 programs, Stillings will compete at Drexel University while Scott heads to Indiana University.
Scott originally had either the ACC or SEC on her mind — North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee some of her top choices.
But then came July, and a visit to Indiana for World Championship trials.
“I honestly fell in love with it. The campus is gorgeous,” said Scott, who plans to major in biology. “It’s just everything I could ask for, academically and swimming-wise.”
The Big 10 Championships and NCAA’s await Scott, who made the PIAA Championships her annual showcase — last year she swam to state gold in both the 200 and 100 freestyles.
“I don’t know how I’ll be able to let that go,” she said with a smile, speaking of PIAA’s. “States is probably the most exciting meet I’ve ever been to. Even though it’s only been two events, individually, it’s competitive and really challenging.”
Once Scott hits the water, a rare competitive drive fuels her, from start to finish.
“To be a great athlete, you have to have the physical tools and attributes, and I’ve had many athletes who have the physical tools and attributes, but what sets (Morgan) apart is her closing,” said Stu Kukla, Scott’s coach with the Central Bucks Swim Team. “She won’t let anyone beat her.
“She won’t lose. And she has the heart and the drive to be able to go the extra mile. That goes into a meet setting but also practice.”
Said Kukla, who started working with Scott when she was just 10 years old: “Even then, she had a feel for the water. And by sixth and seventh grade, she not only had that feel, but then mentally, she was not going to be put down. She was going to excel.”
Right around the same time, Stillings was working his way around the wrestling mats. He started competing at age five and by age eight, knew he wanted to compete for the rest of his life.
Stillings earned State Runner-Up honors at 160 pounds this past year and just two weeks ago rose to second place at the Super 32 Challenge, a performance that has him surging to the No. 12 ranking in the country.
“We’ve had a lot of talented wrestlers come through the program and people always ask, ‘who is the best wrestler you’ve had?’ And there are a lot of factors that go into that,” Rams coach R.P. Norley said. “It’s been occurring to me that Josh is probably the best wrestler we’ve had come through this program.
“On the technical level, he’s probably teaching me moves at this point. And academically, he’s right there. And he certainly leads by example off the mat.”
Stillings, who had also been considering Campbell University, American University and Old Dominion, found the perfect fit with both academics and the coaches at Drexel. He plans to major in sports management, wanting to coach on the college level.
Stillings’ offseason work ethic has helped pave the way. For starters, twice a week he trains with 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay, making a one-hour commute each way.
“Josh has gone above and beyond with what we ask him to do,” Norley said. “(With Josh), I see a National Champion. I see someone that’s gonna compete and win a spot on the World team. I think that’s his goal.”



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