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Editorial: County athletes earn well-deserved honors

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Each spring, the athletics directors at the 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 nominees were Justin Veteto, Center Grove; Dakota Sneed, Edinburgh; D.J. Smith, Franklin; David Dalton, Greenwood; Brenden Smith, Indian Creek; and Jesse Street, Whiteland.

This year’s Female Athlete of the Year nominees were Sarah Thompson, Center Grove; Brianna Schooler, Edinburgh; Hannah Hook, Franklin; Brittany Gray, Greenwood; Tori Caudill, Indian Creek; and Bailey Glover, Whiteland.

This year’s Male Outstanding Sportsmanship winners were Chapman Johnson, Center Grove; Christian Quillen, Edinburgh; Skyler Lykins, Franklin; Austin Montgomery, Greenwood; Brett DeHart, Indian Creek; and Jacob Scott, Whiteland.

This year’s Female Outstanding Sportsmanship winners were Lauren Beaumont, Center Grove; Marissa Whitis, Edinburgh; Hannah White, Franklin; Makenzie Estrem, Greenwood; Jessica Knight, Indian Creek; and Emily Zietlow, Whiteland.

All of them were honored at a banquet last week at Franklin College.

The top female athlete was Gray. She was a two-sport athlete, earning four varsity letters in softball and two in basketball. In softball, she was a four-time member of the Daily Journal’s All-County Team and was twice selected Player of the Year. She also was twice named to the All-State first team.

She plans to attend the University of Georgia, where she will major in education and play softball. Her career goal is to become a teacher and coach.

But for all the honors she accrued, Gray said that time with her teammates is what she will remember most. “Definitely the memories are the best part. Just the little things. Inside jokes and the friends that I’ve made.”

The top male athlete was Veteto. He set a school record in winning the 300-meter hurdles at this year’s state track meet. He also finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles and ran the anchor leg of Center Grove’s fourth-place 1,600 relay team. During his fall seasons, he played football.

On top of their athletic achievements, all of the nominees are good students and active in organizations outside the classroom. All plan to attend college, including a pair headed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. In terms of careers, the majority plan to enter some aspect of the health field, followed by education, business and engineering.

Even though two of these young people walked off with the top trophies, all are winners and people the county can be proud of and younger students clearly can look up to and emulate.

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