Anthony Bouselli and Raeann Ehrhardt have been named Athletes of the Year at Paupack

Amidst the annual athletic accolades announced last week, which we will cover in more depth next issue, three top seniors were honored for their outstanding achievements.

Anthony Bouselli and Raeann Ehrhardt were named as Wallenpaupack Area’s District 2 PIAA male and female Scholar/Athletes and Nickole Mann received a special award for earning twelve varsity letters during her four year career with the Lady Buckhorns.

For those of you who are Lake Region sports junkies, these three are well known, and even if you only pay a passing glance to Paupack athletics, Bouselli’s, Ehrhardt’s, and Mann’s name should ring a bell.

As Nicki once pointed out to me: I see these kids more in one week than I sometimes do my own toddler.

So, rather than go through a long litany of the things all three have accomplished in their past four years, I’m going share some of my observations and the impressions each of them have made on me in my two seasons of covering Wallenpaupack sports.

Rae of Light

I had admired Rae’s work on the soccer field and basketball court for several months before I actually spoke to her after a game.

That opportunity came following the first round of state basketball playoffs during in 2013.

My usual post-match go-to’s that season were the seniors and Rae was a junior, but progressively getting more court time as the season progressed.

Good on defense and an apt 3-point shooter, Rae was being groomed out to take on these roles full-time come the following year, helping the Lady Bucks continue to reign as basketball champions.

I should have broken the ice earlier as Rae went on to become one of my favorite kids to chat with.

Always friendly and typically forthcoming with more than I needed, she was often analytical with her responses, very much like how she plays.

Rae didn’t net the most soccer goals, nor land the most baskets, nor lead the softball team in slugging, she has a defensive mind.

What might be mistaken as a demure attitude or a lack of aggressiveness on her part on the pitch or hardwood needs further examination.

Rae’s ability to tie up an attacker allowed her teammates to get set up for their own strike.

On the diamond, infield grounders hit her way have no chance passing her and her ability to quickly tag a runner or cover the bag meant a lot of opposing runners had a hard time getting past second base.

College sports aren’t in her future. Bound for Bloomsburg to be buried in Biology books, Rae walks away from the Paupack playing fields with 10 varsity letters; three District Gold Medals, and three District Silver Medals.

Bouselli Factor

Regrettably, I wasn’t around to see Boos on the gridiron.

After injuries prevented him from further football action, one might expect he’d turn up the next season running cross-country, or possibly taking to the links as a fall sport.

No, instead the first time I met Boos he was surrounded by the lovely ladies and taking a swing at a ball with a field hockey stick.

In the US, field hockey has been relegated to being primarily a women’s sport, but in most countries it’s a men’s sport, so I didn’t find it shocking to see a guy playing.

Shocking? No.

Curious? Yes.

He alluded to his injury but when we spoke he focused more on the fact that he wanted to try something different and this seemed fun. Obviously so because he came back for a second year.

I always have to give athletes a second look when I see them off the field and not in uniform. Boos is the epitome of that and undoubtedly the person I almost always have to second guess myself on.

I’d see him in church with his hair combed and looking rather lanky in a dress shirt and I’d wonder if it was the same giant of a kid I just saw three days ago covered in sweat making a nuisance of himself under the hoop.

A few weeks later he goes and confuses me again by getting shaggy up top and letting the whiskers come in as if an allegory for his growing dominance with the javelin, discus, and shot-put.

A dominance that would earn him a district gold medal in each. Coupled with his 10 varsity letters in four sports, Boos heads south in the fall and will be throwing for the University of Virginia while taking up the study alternative and renewable energy resources.

Used to packing his lunch, I hope the blue-collar Boos takes a liking to Cavalier dorm food.

Mann for All Seasons

Every writer has his muse, and admittedly, for the past two years, Nicki has been mine.

She was one of the very first Paupack athletes I interviewed.

Already a skilled soccer player when I met her as a junior, she was excitable and enthusiastic the first time we spoke.

Always in the center of the action, whether on the pitch or the hardwood, Nicki found her way into frame on many of my photos and quickly became one of my go-to athletes for a comment.

On the softball field, there she was again, either diving for a catch or swinging for the bleachers.

Wherever the action was, so was Nicki, and that’s why she earned four varsity letters in each sport she played.

She is arguably one of the most driven student athletes, male or female, I have encountered. That’s saying a lot too because I’ve met some pretty determined kids throughout the area over the past couple of years.

Given that, she’s also a bit of a goofball.

Off the field she doesn’t take herself too seriously and is friendly and easy going.

I attribute the competitive nature as well as the clowning around to the fact that she’s a middle child, a middle child flanked by athletically talented sisters as well. Her family roots are strong and not only have helped form who she is athletically and personally, but are also the inspiration for her future plans.

In addition to playing softball for Kutztown University, Nicki will be studying special education, focusing on teaching the visually impaired.

She one day hopes to help kids like her younger cousin AJ, who attends classes at Kutztown’s clinical school in the Visual Education program.