Lewis, Morgan Earn Ecker, Plantz Awards
Each year, Mercersburg’s Department of Athletics chooses two graduating seniors—one female athlete and one male athlete—to receive the Darrell Ecker Award and Leonard Plantz Award, respectively. The 2020 recipients are Grace Lewis ’20 (Ecker Award) and Diego Morgan ’20 (Plantz Award). The awards are presented for dedication, hard work, sense of fair play, outstanding achievement, and sterling leadership, both on the athletic field and in the school.
Lewis, of Greencastle, PA, was a varsity athlete in all 12 of her academic terms at Mercersburg, and was a captain of the girls’ indoor track & field and cross country teams. She also competed in swimming and soccer earlier in her Mercersburg career. Lewis holds Mercersburg’s indoor school record in the triple jump (34’ 3”), which came when she lowered her own school mark at the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Prep League Indoor Championships. She received Mercersburg’s Athletic Leadership Award in fall 2019. Lewis will attend Boston University.
“Being an athlete at Mercersburg never felt like a burden to me because I was always surrounded by amazing teammates and coaches, both of which contributed tremendously to my success and passion for athletics,” Lewis says. “My teammates embodied the concept of ‘work hard, play hard,’ making even the hardest days worth it, and my coaches pushed me to be better while serving as excellent role models that I tried to emulate as a leader. I am eternally grateful for these people and my experience.”
Morgan, of Charles Town, WV, was a three-sport varsity captain (boys’ soccer, wrestling, lacrosse), and a varsity athlete in all nine academic terms at the school. He earned the school’s Athletic Leadership Award for the winter 2020 season, as well as the Schweizer Soccer Cup in fall 2019. Morgan was an All-MAPL soccer selection in 2019. He will attend the University of Wisconsin.
“My time in Mercersburg athletics has truly been life changing,” says Morgan. “While perfectly different each season, I learned to adapt to different coaching techniques, persevere through athletic hardships, and develop important life skills. I’d like to especially thank Coach [Carl] Stensland, Coach [Nate] Jacklin, and Coach [Mike] Conklin for everything.”
Both Lewis and Morgan have Mercersburg siblings. Lewis’ sister, Isabel ’21, is a member of the rising senior class, while Morgan’s older brother, Sam ’19, plays soccer at West Virginia University; his younger brother, Will ’22, attended the school for two years.
Ecker first arrived at Mercersburg in 1971 to work as the supervisor of Nolde Gymnasium. He was one of the first coaches of female athletic teams at Mercersburg, serving as head coach of the school's girls' basketball and softball teams for several years in the 1970s and 1980s. He retired in 1997.
Plantz was a faculty member (teaching English, history, and economics) at Mercersburg from 1943 to 1984 and was the school's longtime director of athletics and head boys' basketball coach. The Plantz Courts on campus, which host basketball, volleyball, and wrestling matches, are named in his honor.