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Catching Up With ...
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-12-16

Teresa Duka DeBias
 

            At an early practice in her high school softball career, a coach threw a catcher's

Teresa Duka DeBias

mitt at Teresa Duka DeBias. The thought of playing a new position caught her by surprise.
            "I never would have picked it," said DeBias, who played shortstop in middle school. "But catcher is a really exciting position. You're involved in every play."

            The 1977 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School excelled behind the plate and with the bat. She was named First-team All Bux-Mont as a junior and a senior. 

"I was a pretty good hitter," said DeBias, who currently lives in Collegeville.

            She also played four years of field hockey and basketball for the Indians. On the field, she played left defensive halfback and point and shooting guard on the court. Her favorite sport was whatever she was playing. She earned Second-team All Bux-Mont honors in field hockey.

            "I lived and breathed sports throughout my whole childhood and high school," said DeBias, who was also elected Homecoming Queen. "It was my passion. Team sports were the best."
            DeBias said her father, Mike, taught her how to play just about everything. She thanked Mrs. Kathy Utz for teaching her field hockey.

            "Playing on those teams helped me learn to function," DeBias said. "Team sports are so important. I'm glad I got to play all three. Nowadays, everything is so specialized."
            Growing up, DeBias and her older brother, Mike, played sandlot sports throughout Pennsburg. She said the competition toughened her up.

            "It made competing in high school so much easier," said DeBias, who played a few seasons of recreational slow pitch softball. "There was no mercy for girls, so I believe it made me a better player."

            After graduation she tried out for, and made, the field hockey team at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell. However, she decided not to play in order to focus on her studies. 

             "I decided to concentrate on what I needed to do next with my life," DeBias said.
            She has worked as the medical staff coordinator at the Fox Chase Cancer Center for 6 1/2 years. Her responsibilities include verifying the training, education and credentials of applying physicians and making sure the hospital complies with all regulatory bodies.

            "It's an important job," said DeBias, who described the position as the gatekeeper for patient safety and vital to the compliance of the hospital with all regulatory bodies.

            She has worked in medical staff services for 23 years after earning an associate's degree in applied sciences from MontCo. DeBias has also attained certifications as a CPMSM (Certified Professional Medical Staff Services) and a CPCS (Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist) from the National Association of Medical Staff Services. 

 

Anthony O'Hara 

            During the spring of his junior year, after deciding he was done with baseball,

Anthony O'Hara

Anthony O'Hara and his friends went out for the track and field team. He says they were looking for another option to stay in shape for football.

            O'Hara, who decided he was not a runner, finished 10th in the javelin in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. The following year, O'Hara captured the PIAA championship. A grip adjustment allowed him to record a gold-medal winning throw of 208' 1" which remains a school record.

            "It was pretty incredible," said O'Hara, a 1995 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School who relied on a combination of strength and technique. "I had no idea that my best sport would end up being something I did for fun."

            The event remained his athletic priority at Ursinus College. O'Hara won three Centennial Conference championships. As a senior, he won his second Mid-East Regional Championship and finished ninth at the NCAA Championships. However, multiple injuries robbed the Red Hill native of his flexibility and curtailed his goal of qualifying for the Olympics.

            The Pennsburg resident currently works as a pediatric physical therapist for a company started by his sisters. Since 2005, K & S Therapies, Inc. has been providing early intervention services in Montgomery, Lehigh and Berks counties to children from birth to age three. O'Hara said he enjoys the direct interaction with families.

            "The basics are the same," he said. "If it's weak, strengthen it. If it's tight, loosen it. You've got to them moving in the right way. I never saw myself working with babies."

            Growing up, O'Hara said he never expected to throw the javelin competitively. He played sandlot football and baseball.

            Arriving at high school, he considered football his priority. O'Hara also played baseball for two seasons in the spring and competed in powerlifting during the winter.  "It was a good way to stay in shape," he said.

            During his first season, O'Hara utilized a traditional grip that placed the javelin between the thumb and index finger. He said all of his throws leaked to the right.

            Early in his senior season, a high school coach showed him a forked grip, which places the javelin between his index and middle finger. O'Hara described the grip as similar to throwing a baseball.

            His first throw in practice with the new grip, at just 50 percent effort, went its usual distance. At an early season invitational, O'Hara reached 180 feet and earned a mention in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  "When I saw that, I figured I might be onto something," he said.

            Everything came together at states for O'Hara, who registered the winning throw on his first attempt. He said all his opponents immediately declared the winner. 

"I was small but strong," said O'Hara, who was listed at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds. "Everyone at states was bigger than me. But I had good leg strength."

            On the football field, O'Hara played receiver and outside linebacker for the Indians. He said he enjoyed the freedom to move around on defense. 

"I was a typical PAC-10 football player: small and tough. But not fast," O'Hara said "I enjoyed the hitting."


 

 

 

 

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