College Sports Spotlight: One year later, Abington Heights grad has major improvement on Liberty University’s men’s basketball team

By Bill Arsenault - Contributing Columnist | January 25th, 2016 2:43 pm

What a difference a year has made for Evan Maxwell.

Maxwell (Abington Heights) is a 6-foot-10, 245-pound sophomore center with the Liberty University men’s basketball team. He played in 29 games off the bench as a freshman and averaged 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds.

This season, Maxwell is second on the team in scoring (10.9) and leads in rebounding (5.6). He’s had three double-doubles including a college career high 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 56-52 loss to Radford and 21 points and a career high 13 rebounds in an 86-50 triumph over Central Penn.

“Evan has had a terrific start to the season and is very instrumental in our progress as a team and as a program,” coach Eric Brown said. “I think he really just took advantage of the opportunity (to start) with a fresh start and a year’s worth of maturity on and off the court.”

The coach feels that as Maxwell continues to develop his strength, it will lead to more confidence.

“Evan has been slowed of late by some injuries,” Brown said. “However, we are looking forward to him returning to form – and beyond.”

The Flames are 6-15 overall and 3-5 in Big South Conference play.

New home for Ellsworth

Lauren Ellsworth was a standout sprinter for the Shippensburg women’s track team. She graduated and looked for a place to get her master’s degree. She found it in Ashland, Ohio with the Ashland University Eagles.

Ellsworth (Lackawanna Trail) opened the second half of the season with a standout effort at the Northwest Ohio Invitational Jan. 15 in Findlay. She won the 60 meter dash in 7.62 which improved her previous Division II provisional qualifying time. It was also the second best time in team history. She was also a member of the winning 4x400 relay (3:57.53). Last weekend, she took the 60 (7.64) and the 200 meter dash (25.29) and ran a leg on the winning 4x400 relay (4:02.03) at the Dragon Open in Tiffin, Ohio.

“Lauren graduated early and was looking elsewhere to get her master’s,” coach Jud Logan said. “We fit the need for her – a successful track program and a sports management course.”

Ellsworth has one year of eligibility remaining.

“Lauren knows her time here is one and done so she is maximizing every opportunity afforded her with vigor and passion that is allowing her to reach new heights,” Logan said.

The coach feels that Ellsworth is a blessing to him and his staff.

“She had been here only five weeks and immediately took up a leadership role that was really crucial to the development of are young sprint crew,” Logan said. “We can’t wait to see where this journey takes her.”

Hot start for Burke

Senior Sean Burke made his indoor debut with the Lehigh men’s track team at the Angry Birds Invitational in Bethlehem Jan. 16 and came away a winner.

Burke (Abington Heights) captured the 5,000 meter run with a time of 15:34.56 to help the Mountain Hawks finish third out of five teams.

Burke is working toward the Patriot League Indoor Championships Feb. 19-21 in Boston where he hopes to better his performance from last season – ninth in the 3,000 meters and 10th in the 5,000 meters.

Lesneski qualifies

Alvernia junior distance runner Alicia Lesneski finished 11th in the mile at the Seahawk Shootout prior to the holiday break at the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island, New York. She was the second Division III finisher and her time (5:56.62) qualified her for the Middle Atlantic Conference Indoor Track Championships.

Lesneski (Abington Heights) kicked off the season by finishing 20th in the 1000 meter run (3:26.87) and helping the 4x800 relay finish 10th (11:03.39) again competing against Division I and II athletes at Lehigh’s Fast Times Before Finals meet in Bethlehem.

Lundin off to good start

Freshman Mary Lundin of Clarks Summit (Scranton Prep) kicked off her career with the Hamilton College women’s indoor track team at the Middlebury Winter Classic Jan. 16 in Middlebury, Vermont. She finished third in the 800 meter run in 2:30.02 and was a member of the 4x400 relay which also finished third in a time of 4:38.27. She came back last weekend to capture the 800 with an improved time of 2:27.57 at the Hamilton Invitational in Clinton, New York.

Smertz contributing

Freshman Rachel Smertz has been scoring points for the Ithaca women’s swim team. Smertz (Abington Heights) competes in the 200, 500 and 1000 freestyle, the 100 and 200 backstroke and with all the free relays for the Bombers who are 9-3 in dual meets thus far. Her best performance was a second place finish in the 500 free (5:37.80) against William Smith in Geneva.

McGinn finishes third

Messiah freshman Alyssa McGinn (Abington Heights) kicked off her college career by finishing third in the shot put at the Dickinson Holiday Indoor track meet on Dec. 12 in Carlisle. She had a 34-9 ¾ effort. McGinn’s twin sister, Abby, is also on the roster but hasn’t competed this spring.

The Liberty University men’s basketball team hosted Lamar University at the Vines Center on Dec. 12, 2015. Liberty University men’s basketball team hosted Lamar University at the Vines Center on Dec. 12, 2015. Kevin Manguiob | Liberty University
Maxwell Kevin Manguiob | Liberty University
One year later, AH grad has major improvement on Liberty’s basketball team

By Bill Arsenault

Contributing Columnist

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