CR’s Zoe Scott wins DSBA’s Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award

WILMINGTON — Whether you consider Zoe Scott lucky or unlucky depends on your perspective.

Certainly the Caesar Rodney High multi-sport athlete faced a tough break last winter when doctors discovered a tumor on her spine.

On the other hand, during her rehabilitation at A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital, Scott got to see some kids who were dealing with even more difficult situations.

“Don’t take anything in life for granted,” she said. “Especially up at A.I., there’s kids going through chemo, who have cancer. They live through that every day of their life and you’re just here for a certain amount of time, trying to get better.”

Scott’s positive outlook and determination while dealing with her life-changing medical ordeal earned the CR junior the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award from the Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association.

Zoe Scott and her mother Casey pose with the late Buddy Hurlock’s parents after she received the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award at Monday’s 2017 Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association Banquet at the South Wilmington Sheraton. (Caesar Rodney School District/Dave Chambers)

Scott was presented with the award at the DSBA’s annual luncheon on Monday at the South Wilmington Sheraton.

Also honored were Delaware’s NCAA Division I national championship field hockey squad (Team of the Year), Sanford boys’ basketball coach Stan Waterman (Tubby Raymond Coach of the Year Award) and Charma Bell (Herm Reitzes Community Service Award).

The DSBA’s oldest award, the John J. Brady Award for the state Athlete of the Year, went to Katelyn Falgowski. The St. Mark’s High grad helped the U.S. women’s field hockey team to a strong showing at last year’s Rio Summer Olympics.

Zoe Scott gets a big hug from her grandmother Mary Hovington after she received her award.

The 28-year-old Falgowski has been part of the national team since she was 15, playing in three Olympics. She couldn’t be at Monday’s luncheon because she was in California training with the U.S. squad,

Falgowski’s father, Ken, read a message from Katelyn on Monday. She said she was “beyond humbled” to win the award.

“This recognition is special to me because the experiences I gained as a student-athlete growing up in Delaware shaped me into the player and the person I am today,” Falgowski said in her message. “I’ve been beyond fortunate to have a long, successful career in field hockey. It’s allowed me to travel around the world.

“Ironically, what I have learned, is there’s no place like home and there’s no better place than Delaware.”

It was also a big year for the UD field hockey team, which capped off a memorable 23-2 season by winning the program’s first national title.

The Blue Hens finished the year with a 19-game winning streak, rallied from a two-goal deficit to knock off No. 1 Duke in the quarterfinals and won the crown by pulling out a 3-2 victory over North Carolina in the title game.

Zoe Scott at the podium smiling as she gives her acceptance speech.

“It doesn’t matter if you win a national championship or a conference championship, I think that group will always have special memories about that particular year,” said Delaware coach Rolf Van de Kerkhof. “But, if you win the big one, you have the last word of the conversation. The experiences that we gained were amazing. It’s a unique experience, a dream come true.”

Sanford’s Waterman has led the Warriors to six state championships — the most of any boys’ basketball coach in state history. In his 25 seasons as head coach, Sanford has won close to 500 games.

Waterman said he first really thought about becoming a coach when he was a backup point guard at Delaware.

“I started to look at the game from a little bit different perspective, kind of thinking ike a coach,” he said. “The reason I continue to do it is because of some of the relationships I’ve been able to develop and maintain, and impacting the lives of young people.

“For basketball, the point guard. … kind of understands where everybody is supposed to be and tries to get everybody to buy into their roles. I think (going from) point guard is a natural transition to being a coach.”

There’s some things from 2016 that CR’s Scott would rather not remember.

Having the tumor removed from her neck left the 6-foot basketball/volleyball player temporarily paralyzed. It took months of rehab for Scott to be able to return to the basketball court last summer.

Even now, Scott — who also won a high jump state title as a freshman — still has dexterity issues in her hands. But she was excited to return to help the Riders win the Henlopen Conference Northern Division title this winter.

“It’s just a blessing to be with my team throughout this season,” said Scott. “How good we’re doing is really neat.”

CR coach Bill Victory said Scott’s biggest accomplishments are still ahead of her.

“She’s going to do great things in her life,” said Victory. “Seeing her scratch and claw and learn how to walk again, and being so weak she couldn’t even pick the ball up, and knowing she’s about ready to break through, I am so proud of her. But I am not half as proud as I’m going to be when she finally reaches the other side of this thing and does great things after basketball.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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