York County athletes provide inspiring stories of resilience, openness and maturity

York Dispatch editorial board
Kennard-Dale High School graduate Chance Marsteller has bounced back from some trying times to excel on the wrestling mat.
  • Chance Marsteller has overcome some troubles to again excel on the wrestling mat.
  • Courtney Coppersmith shines in softball while openly discussing her mental health issues.
  • Brayden Heaps is a standout baseball player who likes being a role model and mentoring youngsters.

There is a shrewd old maxim that says sports don’t build character; they reveal it.

It’s an adage that has stood the test of time for good reason — it’s true and it’s astute.

The past week has featured three inspiring local sports stories that speak volumes about the character of the athletes involved.

These character-revealing stories should not go overlooked, especially during these uncertain times.

We could all use a little inspiration right about now, and fortunately, Chance Marsteller, Courtney Coppersmith and Brayden Heaps have supplied plenty of it recently with their stories of resilience, openness and maturity.

Marsteller's resilience: Marsteller’s story is well known in these parts.

He was a legendary wrestler at Kennard-Dale High School who earned four state titles and finished his prep career at 166-0. His senior season with the Rams, he was regarded as the top college recruit in the nation. He appeared destined for NCAA championships, and maybe even Olympic gold.

Then, drug issues and a well-publicized arrest stalled his college hopes. He never won any NCAA titles, but he did resurrect his career to the point where he became a two-time NCAA Division I All-American at Lock Haven.

More:Kennard-Dale grad Chance Marsteller enjoys one of his best-ever wrestling performances

Then, this past weekend, Marsteller may have enjoyed the best performance of his illustrious wrestling career during the World Team Trials Challenge in Iowa. He won the freestyle 79-kilogram (174-pound) crown, beating an elite field featuring some the top wrestlers in the nation.

Now he moves on to the Final X in June against Jordan Burroughs, one of the most decorated athletes in U.S. wrestling history. A win there will earn Marsteller a berth on the U.S. senior national team.

If Marsteller can earn a national team berth, after overcoming his earlier issues, it would be a remarkable tale of resilience.

Central York High School graduate Courtney Coppersmith, a standout softball player, has been open about her bouts with depression.

Coppersmith's openness: Coppersmith, meanwhile, has long been open about her struggles with depression.

The Central York High School graduate even admitted to thoughts of suicide.

Despite that, Coppersmith has managed to become one of the best college pitchers in the nation for the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

More:Central York grad excels on softball mound while talking openly about bouts with depression

The standout senior left-hander led the Retrievers to a 31-12 record this spring and an NCAA Division I Tournament berth. She finished the season with the lowest single-season ERA (0.78) in program history,

Still, her performance on the mound is not her greatest achievement. Her willingness to discuss her mental-health issues could help others suffering with the same disease. She is willing to put herself out there so that those battling the same affliction will know they are not alone.

Her openness could potentially help save a life and that would ultimately be her biggest win.

Susquehannock High School baseball player Brayden Heaps enjoys being a role model and mentoring young kids.

Heaps' maturity: Finally, there’s Heaps, a standout junior infielder/pitcher for Susquehannock’s York-Adams baseball championship team.

For a person so young, Heaps is already displaying maturity beyond his years.

He’s become a fixture in the southern York County baseball community, well known for his willingness to mentor young players.

More:Star player on Susquehannock's title team is also honor-roll student, mentor, role model

When time permits, he even umpires youth games.

>>Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

He’s also an honor-roll student who embraces the opportunity to be a role model to the boys he’s helping to guide.

Some folks may argue that these stories are just sports tales and that they don’t really matter all that much in the larger scheme of things.

Marsteller, Coppersmith and Heaps, however, are much more than just athletes.

They are inspirations, as athletes and as people.

Their stories very much matter.