By Kevin Eickman
Trying to pick out a single athlete to be recognized above all others can be difficult. In the inaugural season of the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Athlete of The Year Award, presented by MilfordLIVE.com, the choice was incredibly tough. The multitude of high quality individuals to choose from was overwhelming. From Alexis Groce, who continued to get faster and faster with every race she ran, to Myleiris Vazquez who was a force on the Basketball court, the task was daunting.
Taking a long hard look at the season however, revealed an athlete who was able to separate herself from the rest. Staring in two sports, and being a force in both of them has earned Yanacek the honor of being named “Female Athlete of The Year.”
Playing goalkeeper during field hockey season, Yanacek was often times spectacular in net. When the moment grew larger, it appeared so too did her resolve. Playing Caravel the final game of the regular season, and with a tournament birth on the line, Yanacek was spectacular. Turning in seven saves on the day, she was a pillar of strength, even with Milford down a player in overtime. “My favorite memory was the 3-2 victory over Caravel, that got us into the tournament,” Yanacek stated. “That was the result of so much hard work on the part of everyone, it was great.”
Yanacek was equally impressive in soccer, where she netted over 50 career goals. Creating a constant challenge for opposing defenses, Yanacek also provided leadership to the team. “Bekah is a born leader, it was a pleasure to coach her,” coach Keith Short stated. In addition to making the tournament in field hockey this season, Yanacek took great pride in being part of the soccer team that made it to the State tournament in 2011. “Making the tournament in soccer was great, our team worked so hard, and we really came a long way.”
Now a graduate of Milford High, Yanacek has had time to reflect on her time at the school. “There were so many people that helped me, not only in sports, but growing as a person as well,” stated Yanacek. Talking about her coaches, Rebekah had great praise for field hockey coach Andrea Fleming. “Even before she was head coach, coach Fleming made an extra effort to bring out the talent in me.” Talking about coach Short, Yanacek was thankful for having the chance to work with him. “I have known coach Short since I was five, he has always been there for me.”
In the fall Yanacek will be attending Kutztown University, were she will continue her athletic career playing field hockey. Yanacek will be studying biology and would like to eventually become a doctor. While she looks forward to college, she also will miss Milford. “Milford is such a great town, it’s going to be tough to leave it,” said Rebekah. “My friends and I have been playing sports together since we were very young, that is going to be something that I miss.”