6 from Juniata Mennonite garner ACAA all-star accolades

Six Juniata Mennonite School athletes were named to Allegheny Christian Athletic Association all-star teams for the 2012-13 schools year.

Sophomore Tony Gehman was named to the boys soccer all-star team while Rachel Allen and Alexis Hahn-Kline were named to the girls soccer team. Seniors Jesse Watts and Luke Showers were selected to the boys basketball all-star squad while Molly Arnold was named to the girls team.

Gehman was huge for Juniata Mennonite in the fall soccer season as he racked up a league-leading 26 goals in just 19 games for the Lions, an accomplishment that was not lost on coach Kurt Wagner.

“Tony is really strong with the ball at his feet,” Wagner said. “He really has a knack for making the last defender miss and finishing for us. He was a key contributor to our offense and was a big reason we had such a successful season.”

With two years of eligibility remaining, Gehman will be a key factor in moving forward and helping the Lions improve upon their 2012 season in which they went 11-5-3 and missed the postseason by one win.

Allen and Hahn-Kline played well enough on the girls soccer pitch to join Gehman in collecting all-star honors. Allen, a senior, drew acclaim from assistant coach Andy Meiser for switching from goalkeeper, a position she had played in previous seasons, to stopper, a crucial position in the Lions’ diamond defensive scheme.

“She was new to playing stopper, but what she lacked in experience she made up for with her speed and aggressiveness,” Meiser said. “She’s extremely fast, probably one of the fastest we’ve ever had at JMS.”

It was the second consecutive all-star selection for sophomore Hahn-Kline, the team leader in goals and the player Meiser said was the “one that every team prepared for before they played us.”

Both Meiser and coach Trisha Hoffman acknowledged the scoring prowess Hahn-Kline’s powerful left foot provided, but her soccer knowledge and selfishness evoked praise as well.

“She’s willing and able to play every position on the field whenever we needed it,” Hoffman said. “She’s a very strong and skilled player.”

The contributions of Showers and Watts on the hardwood this winter earned the pair all-star honors that coach Dennis Zimmerman says are well deserved. Showers eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his senior season and Watts dominated the paint all year en route to leading the Lions in scoring.

“I always say, if I had five guys like Luke on my team we would win a lot of games,” Zimmerman said. “He’s a very hard worker. When he steps on the court to play, he always gives 100 percent. It’s just the way Luke plays the game.”

Zimmerman praised Watts’ ability and willingness to battle in the paint.

“Jesse lived in the paint this season,” he said. “He’s a strong kid. He was our only real true rebounder, and at the same time he had some nice post moves inside. He can hit outside shots but we kept him in the paint because we needed a rebounder and an inside presence.”

With these two seniors graduating from a team that came together and qualified for the ACAA postseason tournament, Zimmerman notes that Showers and Watts will be sorely missed.

“These seniors meant everything to our program,” he said. “They set the bar and showed the younger guys what can happen if you work hard and work through the problems that can arise throughout a season. They never gave up.”

On the girls basketball side, junior Molly Arnold was named an all-star for the second-straight season by leading the Lions in rebounding and dominating the post.

“Molly really came on as the season went on,” said Meiser, who is the girls varsity basketball coach. “She’s a super kid, a really good rebounder. She works so hard and loves the game of basketball. She gives you everything she has every single game, that’s the kind of player she is.”