Kenny Elgert was attending a Severna Park girls basketball team dinner when he heard the news that he was going to be inducted into the Severna Park High School Athletics Hall of Fame. They may not know his last name, but the recognition comes as no surprise to the hundreds of athletes, coaches and fans of Falcon athletics who consider Kenny an integral part of every Falcon team. The one person who was surprised? Kenny himself.
“He was surprised when I told him,” said Barbara Elgert, Kenny’s mother. “He wanted me to tell the coaches and the players that he was being inducted into the HOF. Even at the JV girls championship game basketball game on Thursday, he wanted me to tell some of the parents. He is proud to be recognized.”
Though Kenny is non-verbal, his actions always speak louder than words could. Whether he is behind a players’ bench sharing high-fives, enjoying a team dinner, or attending an Orioles or University of Maryland basketball game with Falcon athletes, the joy Kenny has for the Falcons is evident and infectious.
“Kenny is a proud supporter of the Falcons and I appreciate the energy and enthusiasm he shares with our players, coaches, administration and Severna Park community,” said SPHS Director of Athletics Dave Lanham. “I look forward to seeing Kenny at our games as he always brings a smile to my face.”
Severna Park girls basketball head coach Kristopher Dean said “it means the world” for the players and coaches to have the support of Kenny.
“We all look up to him and his accomplishments,” said Dean. “Our coaches look forward to the ‘Kenny fist bump’ before every game. He’s the first one to congratulate us after a win or pick us up after a loss.”
Kenny loves all Severna Park sports. He attends most of the volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, softball, baseball and lacrosse games. His mother said that if two games are played at the same time, Kenny will go between them. Arriving at least 40 minutes before the games, Kenny enjoys watching warm-ups.
“I really believe he is very proud of being selected into the HOF,” said Barbara. “SPHS is the best thing that ever happened to Kenny. He counts down the days until fall sports once school is out for the summer.”
As an athlete, Kenny participates in Special Olympics in duck- and 10-pin bowling, softball and bocce. He works part-time at Giant, but his mother said his absolute pleasure in life is attending the Severna Park games.
“Kenny loves [all sports], but I would say his favorites are basketball, volleyball and softball only because he can sit right behind the players,” said Barbara. “Plus, he has the ability to give the players and coaches a high-five.”
The Falcon Athletic Boosters Club Hall of Fame Class of 2019 also includes Katie Pumphrey, M.D. (SPHS Class of 2004) and Julie Shank Obringer (Class of 1999).
Pumphrey ran indoor track, cross country, and played varsity lacrosse for the Falcons from 2000 to 2004. Named an All-American in her senior year of lacrosse, Pumphrey went on to play the sport at the University of Maryland. While in medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, Pumphrey organized the Richmond Angels, an inner-city lacrosse league for elementary and middle school girls.
Julie Shank Obringer played both field hockey and lacrosse at SPHS and continued as a standout lacrosse player at University of Maryland, where she attended on scholarship and won two national championships and earned the University of Maryland MClub President’s Cup Award for academic achievement.
The trio will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at halftime of the boys varsity lacrosse game versus Annapolis High School on Friday, April 5. The game and ceremony are open to the public.
Mere McAlister, SPHS Varsity Softball Head Coach, SPHS Varsity Girls Basketball Assistant Coach ~ “Kenny being inducted into the Hall of Fame just makes sense. He is quite possibly the biggest supporter of all time for Severna Park athletics. He is the first to bring a smile to your face when you show up to the gym or ball field, and is a fixture at every competitive event we have. We are blessed to have the support of Kenny and the Elgert family. I am just thankful we have a way to honor him for his unwavering support.”
Eric Milton, SPHS Varsity Baseball Head Coach ~ “I look forward to seeing Kenny not only at my games but at all the games. He always takes the time to come and say hello, not only to myself but to my family and so many other people. He’s a very special person. Severna Park sports are lucky to have the support of such a passionate and caring person.”
Leo Latonick, SPHS Girls Basketball Assistant Coach - “We wouldn’t know what to do if we didn’t see Kenny in the stands supporting us. He is literally at everything we do. The girls love him, he’s part of our team, and our seasons wouldn’t be the same without him.”