The Severna Park High School Falcon Athletic Boosters Club inducted three new members to the Hall of Fame on April 5 during an emotional ceremony in the gymnasium followed by an on-field recognition at halftime of the boys varsity lacrosse game.
Katie Pumphrey, M.D., Julie Shank Obringer and Kenny Elgert are the inductees for 2019. Pumphrey, Obringer, and Chip and Barbara Elgert, who accepted the award on behalf of their late son, were presented with the coveted award by Falcon Athletic Boosters Club president Patrick Killpatrick, The new members join approximately 120 HOF members inducted since 2003.
Pumphrey, Severna Park Class of 2004, was a four-year varsity member of the cross country, indoor track and lacrosse teams as a Falcon. She was a two-year captain of both the cross country and indoor track teams and as a varsity lacrosse player was a First Team All-American who helped lead the Falcons to a state championship in 2001. She was a team captain at Maryland, where she played lacrosse collegiately. She received the Virginia Commonwealth University Outstanding Community Service Award during her time at the VCU School of Medicine for organizing the Richmond Angels, an inner-city lacrosse league for elementary and middle school girls in collaboration with the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.
“It was very exciting to learn that I would be awarded this honor; however, overall this was a humbling experience as I am so impressed by my fellow inductees and the current members of the Hall of Fame,” said Pumphrey who lives in New York City and works as a physician. “I absolutely loved being a SPHS athlete, and many of my fondest high school memories involve the cross country, indoor track, or lacrosse teams. I don’t think a day passes that I don’t apply a lesson that I learned as part of a team and I can’t imagine that I would be the person that I am today if it weren’t for the many good and bad experiences that I had as an athlete,” she added.
Pumphrey said her favorite high school coaches were Carin Peterson (girls lacrosse) and Ed Purpura (cross country, indoor track), and they had a huge impact on her high school experience.
“Coach Peterson focused on teamwork and resilience, which are principles that I rely on every day in the hospital,” said Pumphrey. “Coach Purpura taught me that approaching problems in life isn’t too different than approaching a difficult run and that the team is only as strong as the weakest member.”
Pumphrey also added some advice for current and future Falcon athletes.
“Every role on a team is important and each person should be empowered to do their best regardless if they are the leading scorer or the team manager,” added Pumphrey. “When I look back, I can’t remember who the starting players were, but I can remember my teammates who showed up every day, did their best and supported the team no matter what.”
Julie Shank Obringer, Severna Park Class of 1999, was a three-time state champion for the varsity field hockey team, on which she earned three All-Metro selections and one All-State selection. As a four-year member of the lacrosse team, she was All-County all four years and was an Honorable Mention All-American. She earned a scholarship to play at Maryland, where she was a two-time national champion and a captain as a senior. She received the MClub President’s Cup Award for academic achievement, was named Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Scholar Athlete of the Year, was a Third Team All-American and was named the 2003 NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics Maryland Woman of the Year.
“Receiving the acceptance letter in the mail was such a welcome surprise,” said Obringer. “SPHS has such a deep history of athletic excellence. To be part of the Hall of Fame is such an extreme honor.”
Obringer graduated 20 years ago, so “receiving this honor is very special and brings back so many wonderful memories of my days in high school both on and off the athletic fields. To be welcomed into this group of elite athletes, and all-around amazing humans is an honor I am so proud to have for myself but also for my children to see that hard work, passion and perseverance can get you very far in life.”
Obringer carries with her friendships that are decades old and as strong today as they were 20 years ago. “All these years later, though, the friendships are truly the best. My best girl friends to this day are ones I made because of SP athletics,” she said.
Obringer also remembers how important her coaches were in her life, then and now. Lil Shelton taught her that “excellence is an expectation that requires consistent hard work to achieve with the mindset of a champion.” Sue Beringer taught Obringer she didn’t “need a title to be a leader; you just have to lead,” after she was not selected as captain for her senior year. Carin Peterson taught her that “one of the most important lessons of sports and life is the delicate line between cocky and confidence. She gave me the gift of teaching me humility.”
Obringer has her own advice for Falcon athletes: “Be present in the moment. Whether in class, with friends, at practice and games, we are each only blessed with the day at hand to give it our all.”
Kenny Elgert, Severna Park Class of 2005, was known as Severna Park’s biggest fan by thousands of people on both the Falcon home and visitor’s benches. Just days after learning he was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside some of his favorite Falcon athletes, Kenny passed away suddenly on March 6.
Kenny was a team manager for football, boys basketball and lacrosse during his time at Severna Park, and he competed in the Special Olympics in softball, bowling, bocce and soccer.
“We were so excited for Kenny on the night we received the letter in the mail from the Booster’s Club,” said Barbara Elgert. “Kenny was attending a girls varsity basketball team dinner at Kelsey Power’s house. I told Kenny about it in front of the team. He was so happy and so were the coaches and players. The coaches were teasing him, and he was full of laughs!”
Barbara said Kenny had attended SP games since 1999, and SP had been a big part of Kenny’s life ever since. Kenny planned his life around the sports seasons, and even took vacation time around holiday tournaments throughout Maryland.
“We are so thankful for the students treating Kenny like one of them all these years,” Barbara added. “It’s like Kenny never left the school even after he graduated.”
Chris Myers, Hall of Fame committee member and coordinator of the HOF event, said, “The event was a wonderful community celebration. It was great to welcome the inductees, their families and Hall of Fame members back to the school and have them reconnect with one another and the school community, particularly involving current students.”
Myers was quick to note that the return of the Hall of Fame inductions after a six-year hiatus could not have been accomplished if not for the enthusiastic students who were instrumental in bringing the recognition back after the completion of the new high school.
“Students were part of the planning and design of the overall program, including bylaws and nomination revisions, the reception, and on-field portion,” she continued. “This is key to properly recognizing past contributions and inspiring the student athletes of today and tomorrow.”