Near the end of each school year, the athletics directors at Johnson County’s public high schools nominate students for the annual athlete-of-the-year and sportsmanship awards.
Choosing the award recipients from among the nominees is difficult. Each one is an accomplished athlete, talented student in the classroom and a good example for their peers. So the award truly is a best-of-the-best situation.
This year’s male Athlete of the Year winners are Devon Hensley of Center Grove, Elijah Parmer of Edinburgh, Jake Stevenson of Franklin, Joe Sheryak of Greenwood, Braxton Zachery of Indian Creek and Brandon Benson of Whiteland.
This year’s female Athlete of the Year winners are Ali Line of Center Grove, Courtney Woodall of Edinburgh, Jess Admire of Franklin, Morgan Dangelo of Greenwood, Emma Russell of Indian Creek and Monica Collins of Whiteland.
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This year’s male Outstanding Sportsmanship honorees are Zach Hart, Center Grove; Eric Cravens, Edinburgh; Clayton Culp, Franklin; Paul Proctor, Greenwood; Dokken Egenolf, Indian Creek; and Landry Long, Whiteland.
This year’s female Outstanding Sportsmanship honorees are Tori Long, Center Grove; Mariah Brown, Edinburgh; Lexi Elliott, Franklin; Madeline Wolf, Greenwood; Kaitlin Smith, Indian Creek; and Kaylee McCracken, Whiteland.
All of them were honored at a banquet last week at Franklin College.
The top female athlete was Line. A three-sport athlete, she earned 10 varsity letters — four each in volleyball and basketball and two in softball. In volleyball, she first-team All-State, Academic All-State, all-conference, an Indiana All-Star and the Daily Journal’s player of the year. In basketball, she was an all-state honorable mention and the team’s mental attitude winner.
On top of that, she was an honors student and ranked 16th in a class of 569 with a GPA of 4.4.
She will attend Illinois State University on a volleyball scholarship. She plans to major in nursing, with a goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.
The top male athlete was Stevenson. He, too, was a three-sport athlete, earning four letters in wrestling, three in football and one in track. In wrestling, he was a four-time conference champion, four-time sectional champion, three-time state qualifier, a two-time state placer and ultimately a state champion. He twice earned all-state academic honors in wrestling and football.
He graduated in the top 25 of his class of 419 with a 3.8 GPA.
He will attend Purdue University on academic scholarships and plans to study civil engineering.
Even though two of these young athletes walked off with the top trophies, all are winners and are people, not just athletes, that the county can be proud of and younger students clearly can look up to and emulate.
Congratulations to all the students. We are confident further success is in all of your futures.
Choosing the county’s top male and female athletes is a challenging task.
All of the nominees are talented athletes, good students and role models for peers and younger students.