Two Jupiter High athletes receive top honors in the county

Ethan Espenship, senior, bowls a strike at Bowlero in Jupiter during a Nov. 11 match.

Jupiter High student athletes, Amanda DeWitt and Ethan Espenship, were recognized for their athletic achievements by the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper on Jan. 16.

DeWitt was awarded Palm Beach 7A-6A girls volleyball player of the year and was recognized by the Palm Beach Post as a top athlete in the county on Jan. 31.

“I was at a tournament with my club team and one of the parents congratulated me, but I had no idea what for. One of my friends texted me the article and I was so surprised. The first thing I did was text Coach Betz and Mrs. Jalm to thank them for making this season possible,” DeWitt said. 

DeWitt, an outside hitter for the girls volleyball team, made the winning point at the tri-county championship on Dec. 16. Winning the last game for the team was a special moment, as it also concluded her senior season. 

“Having the winning play felt like a dream. There was no better feeling. It was such a hard five set game, I literally fell to the floor. Even though it wasn’t a crazy play, the tip over the block was so satisfying,” DeWitt said. 

DeWitt and her teammates fought through five sets to obtain the championship title. A leader in the team, she encouraged her teammates all throughout the tough match to come out on top.

“Amanda loved to be loud and cheer for her team on and off the bench. She set the example of working hard in practice and in match play, and her teammates have a lot of respect for her in and out of the gym,” Blane Betz, Jupiter High’s girls volleyball coach, said.

Betz coached DeWitt for two years after she moved to Jupiter from New York. She is now committed to play volleyball at the collegiate level at the University of South Florida.

“I hope she finds an amazing volleyball family, like her Warrior Family, waiting to take her in, make her feel special and have a home away from home,” Betz said. “I hope she sets high goals athletically and academically and achieves every one of them. USF is lucky to be getting such an amazing player and person [like] Amanda DeWitt.”

Along with DeWitt, senior bowler Espenship was also honored as a top athlete in the county. He was recognized as the Palm Beach County Boys Bowler of the Year. 

“I was eating dinner. When I got the call, I didn’t even know what to say. I asked him if he was sure it was me that was selected and he said ‘yes,’” Espenship said. 

Espenship, who joined the bowling team for fun two years ago grew to truly love the sport, admiring the quiet intensity of the bowling alley.

“When I first started, I did not know it was that quiet. You get a strike, and there’s a round of applause after it being so quiet. You turn around and everyone is there and you just think ‘wow,’” Espenship said. 

In an unconventional season because of COVID-19, Espenship led the team to first place in the county championship as one of the top scorers in their final game. 

“Our team was undefeated in the regular season, and then we won the county championship,” Richard Emery, boys bowling coach, said. “All the boys contributed to our success, but Ethan bowled his best at the county championship and deserved the Bowler of the Year Award. I don’t think we would have won without him.”  

Along with Emery, the team admired Espenship for his sportsmanship and work ethic. Bowling is considered a team sport, so Espenship was truly honored to win an individual award. 

“He is a team player and always wanted what was best for the team. He was the most improved from last year and a big reason why we had such a successful year,” Emery said. 

Although Espenship is headed to college next year, he is confident the team will continue to dominate. He also hopes to continue bowling at the collegiate level.

“I wish them the best of luck. There are phenomenal bowlers that are only going to keep getting better. All I have to say to them is to keep working hard,” Espenship said. “Jupiter has a good future going ahead in bowling.”