Lipscomb vaulter Matt Deery dies in car crash

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Lipscomb vaulter Matt Deery dies in car crash

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:51 pm

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bruce-b ... bered.html

Matt Deery will be remembered as a natural athlete who let his achievements speak for themselves

Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 11:49 AM Updated: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 11:49 AM
By Bruce Buratti | The Express-Times

It was shock and sadness that hit me when I first heard the news Wednesday that Matt Deery died in an automobile accident.
Deery was a football and track and field star at Phillipsburg High School and it was through the latter sport where I got to know him best.

Matt was a natural athlete who picked things up in a hurry; the pole vault being a perfect example. He was exclusively a hurdler and sprinter for the Stateliners his first two years in the program, then became one of the top vaulters in the region with only a month or two of training at Mike Lawryk's Vertical Assault Club in East Allen Township.

He eventually became one of the best in the state of New Jersey.

When you deal with athletes on a longtime basis like I have, certain snapshots stick out in your mind. For me, one of those was an interview I did with what was then "The Big Three" of the Stateliner track program -- Eric Opitz, Jon Harper and Deery -- in late May 2011.

Opitz dominated the throws for P'burg while Harper, The Express-Times Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year this past spring, starred in the distance races. Both were outgoing young men -- particularly Opitz -- while Deery was much more reserved. I remember him occasionally glancing sideways at Opitz and Harper with a bemused grin on his face.

There was one other occasion that sticks out in my memory about Deery -- and this situation I'll never forget. He was one of four pole vaulters remaining in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions competition in early June in Old Bridge, N.J., when a thunderstorm forced officials to suspend the meet, which was almost over, until four days later.

When the vaulters returned to finish the meet, the bar was set at 15 feet. Deery had already missed twice and returned to the competition with just one chance left to clear the height and stay alive in the competition. After a brief warmup, he stood at the end of the runway, vaulting pole in hand, staring up a bar set at a height he had never cleared.

He took a deep breath, set sail down the runway and made it over cleanly, extending his Warren County pole vault record by six inches and eventually finishing second for the second year in a row. Deery, who had won the Group 4 state title a week earlier, is one of just eight pole vaulters in region history to clear 15 feet or higher. In view of the circumstances, it remains one of the greatest feats I've witnessed by a high school athlete.

Yet, as good a pole vaulter as he was, Matt was just as adept as a hurdler. Good enough, in fact, to make The Express-Times All-Area first-team track and field squad as an intermediate hurdler in 2011.

Deery was just a few weeks away from entering his sophomore year at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., an NCAA Division I school in track and field. There on a track scholarship, he experienced a highly successful freshman year where he was already one of the top athletes on the team.

His future appeared bright on a lot of different levels. At least I can say I was honored to have known and covered him.

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Re: Lipscomb vaulter Matt Deery dies in car crash

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:53 pm

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/nazaret ... azare.html


Matt Deery, standout Phillipsburg athlete, dies in crash - UPDATE
Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 9:35 PM Updated: Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 11:33 PM
By Express-Times staff


Former Phillipsburg High School standout athlete Matt Deery died today after crashing head-on into a truck in Upper Nazareth Township, police said.

Police outside the home of Deery's mother in Alpha confirmed the football player and pole vaulter died in the crash.

Deery, 19, graduated from Phillipsburg High School last year and attended Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., on a track scholarship.

“It’s a tragedy beyond proportion,” Phillipsburg Superintendent George Chando said Wednesday night. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family having to deal with this tragedy.”

Deery was driving in a Jeep about 4 p.m. west along Newburg Road, then swerved into the eastbound lane to avoid striking a Nissan Altima turning onto Werner Road, according to Upper Nazareth Township Police Chief Alan Siegfried. The Jeep then struck a truck cab driving on Newburg Road, Siegfried said.

“It’s pretty clear what happened,” Siegfried said after interviewing witnesses.

Deery was a two-sport athlete at Phillipsburg High School -- a wide receiver and cornerback on the football team, and a hurdler and pole vaulter on the track and field team. He was All-Area first-team selection by The Express-Times in both sports his senior year.

The Northampton County coroner was called to a car crash Wednesday at Newburg and Werner roads in Upper Nazareth Township, according to emergency radio reports.

Former Phillipsburg football coach Bob Stem felt sick to his stomach when he heard the news.

“What a shame,” Stem said. “What a sweetheart of a kid he is. I don’t think he ever said anything bad about anyone.”

Deery missed the final five games of the football season with a knee injury but still managed to catch 17 passes for 448 yards and six touchdowns. A versatile athlete, he also returned punts to help the Stateliners to a 9-2 record.

Rather than feel sorry for himself, Deery went to all the Stateliner practices and games after his injury, Stem said. He said his wife is cousins with Deery’s grandfather.

Teammate Mike Diamond slipped into Deery’s starting role when he was hurt. The Class of 2012 ‘Liner said Deery was a great mentor and supporter.

“He was without a doubt, one of the best people I ever met, not only on the sports field but in general,” Diamond said.
Diamond kept in touch with Deery at pickup basketball games. He saw him in recent weeks and is shocked he’ll never see him again.

“He always encouraged me,” Diamond said. “He was just a great person.”

Deery excelled in both the hurdles and pole vault in track and field. He is the Warren County record holder in the pole vault at 14 feet, 6 inches and finished second at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions with a vault of 15-0.

His older brother, Eric, is a senior running back at East Stroudsburg University.

The crash left the Jeep’s rear wheels high off the ground at a utility pole. A blue tarp was draped over the Jeep, then removed by officials photographing the scene.

Deery was pronounced dead at the scene by Northampton County Deputy Coroner Kristen Shuman, Siegfried said. County Coroner Zachary Lysek said Deery died due to multiple blunt force trauma. The manner of death was accident.

The male driver of the truck, age 53, was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem Township, Pa., as a precaution, he said. The female driver of the Nissan was not injured. Neither the truck driver nor the Nissan driver were identified by police.
Siegfried said he expects a toxicology report to be performed.

Police closed off a portion of Newburg Road at Gun Club Road. About a dozen residents lost power during the crash due to downed wires.

Among them is resident Elwood Lehr. He lives about a block away, and said neighbors also lost power.

Wires are down at the home next door to the crash and chunks of debris are strewn over the area.

Neighbors gathered near the crash site, recalling the crash last year where a school van and an RV collided on Newburg Road, killing the van's driver.

"I don't know what happens when people drive through here," Elwood Lehr said, musing about the prevalence of serious accidents in the area.

Lehr said his wife, Joann, heard a bang, then went to the scene and saw smoke coming from the crashed Jeep.
Siegfried said an investigation is ongoing.

Stem said he’ll always remember Deery as an extraordinarily humble young man, considering his athletic talents.

“If you had a son, you’d want him to be like him,” Stem said. “I mean that.”

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Re: Lipscomb vaulter Matt Deery dies in car crash

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:08 am

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillip ... pay_t.html


Friends, family gather to pay tribute to Phillipsburg's 'Sweet Superstar' Matt Deery
Published: Friday, August 03, 2012, 11:08 PM Updated: Friday, August 03, 2012, 11:34 PM
By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann | The Express-Times

More than 200 people gathered Friday at the Phillipsburg High School field house for a candlelight vigil remembering a man many described as the school's "superman."

Matt Deery was killed Wednesday after the Jeep he was driving collided with a truck cab in Upper Nazareth Township. The 19-year-old graduated from Phillipsburg last year and attended Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., on a track scholarship.

More than 200 students and alumni signed a petition asking the school's athletic director, Tom Fisher, to retire Deery's No. 13. Cards were passed out with the Superman logo on it and a quote once said by Deery, "Never be willing to give up your principles to fit in with the crowd. You weren't born the same person so live your life the way you want."

Deery's brother, Eric, a senior running back at East Stroudsburg University, told the crowd, "As handsome as my brother was, he was even more beautiful on the inside."

Kayla Mercado said she knew how special Deery was the moment she met him. She was his girlfriend for the past five years.

She told the crowd when you love someone, that person gives you strength and courage -- attributes Deery was giving her to speak at the vigil.

"He was the closest to perfect I've ever seen in a person," said Nick Mengucci, who described himself as one of Deery's best friends. "He was a great athlete. He cared for everyone. He was so genuine. He put himself second. I could go on all day."

Deery was a two-sport athlete at Phillipsburg High School -- a wide receiver and cornerback on the football team, and a hurdler and pole vaulter on the track and field team. He was All-Area first-team selection by The Express-Times in both sports his senior year.

Phillipsburg football coach Ryan Ditze said the team will honor Deery next season but isn’t sure how yet. “It’s too soon," he said. "We’re dealing with the tragedy right now.”

Ditze coached Deery as assistant coach at Phillipsburg.

“He was a top notch kid on the field, in the classroom and away from school,” he said. “When you lose one of your own, it’s very tough.”

Ditze said the family plans to start a scholarship in Deery’s name to help future Phillipsburg students.

Under a canopy tent were photos of Deery with classmates, teammates, family members and friends. There were flowers, sports jerseys and signs reading "Home of the Liners #13 Matt Deery" and "Sweet, Sweet Superstar."

Alex O'Leary, who played football with Deery and graduated with him, said he was the kind of person who excelled in everything and was always working to better himself.

"He would help anyone who wanted or needed help," O'Leary said. "Even if he was beyond tired, he would still push himself and others to finish because failure was not part of his vocabulary."

Scott McDowell, Lipscomb University's vice president of student development, described Deery as humble despite his many achievements.

"A real leader is someone you follow and don't have to. They have your heart," McDowell said. "That's what this man had."


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