This week's Middle Township Middle School Student Athlete of the Week for cross country is Matt Barcus. Coaches said it would be easy to choose Barcus because he is the fastest male runner on the team, but that's not why he was chosen. Coaches said that without being asked, Barcus routinely gets the entire team stretched before daily runs. After finishing first in training runs Barcus can be seen encouraging team members who are still completing runs several minutes after he is finished, school officials said.

The Middle Township Middle School Boys Soccer Athlete of the Week is Xander Hardin. In recent games, Hardin played strong in central midfield, coaches said. His ability to read the game and put the ball in the back of the net is impressive, they said. Hardin, a captain, is expected to continue to make an impact this season and in years to come.

Keira Phillips is Middle Township Middle School Field Hockey Athlete of the week. A three year team member, Keira plays starting left inner for this year's team. Phillips recently scored her first goal of the season against Ocean City. She has been a member of the team since sixth grade and coaches said she is a highly motivated player. Phillips was sidelined in sixth and seventh grades due to injuries, yet she has not missed a step and never gives up when on the field. Coaches said Phillips is a much deserving athlete of the week.

The Middle Township Middle School Girls Soccer Athlete of the Week is Abby Ridgway. Coaches said Ridgway is a captain who is has strengthened her leadership skills this year. Ridgway is a solid center back who reads the game well and understands her role, they said. Coaches said Ridgway will continue to control the back line and shut down the attacks. They expect her to have an outstanding high school career.

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Middle Township Gazette reporter. Call me anytime you have news for the paper or the website. 609-365-6176