Each year for more than a decade, the Daily Journal has honored the county’s top female and male athletes.
Looking back over the list of past winners, one sees a virtual Johnson County athletic hall of fame. But more importantly, now that several recipients are long out of high school, one finds young adults continuing to make a mark in their communities.
This year’s recipients are almost certainly destined to join that illustrious post-high school group.
The women’s recipient is Ally Lehman of Indian Creek. Her most notable athletic accomplishments were in basketball. She is a member of the Indiana high school all-star team that will take on the Kentucky stars in a pair of games this weekend.
But Lehman also participated in golf, cross-country and tennis, earning a total of 12 varsity letters. She will attend Northern Illinois University on a basketball scholarship.
The boy’s award recipient is Conner Stapleton of Center Grove. He, too, is a versatile athlete, participating in football and track. And he also capped his career this spring, winning a state championship in the hurdles.
Stapleton graduated with a 3.79 GPA and will attend the University of Notre Dame on a track scholarship.
But these two young people, as accomplished as they were, were only the best of the best; and even then, the choice was an extremely difficult one.
For example, 18 of the athlete-of-the-year and sportsmanship award honorees were honors students at their respective high schools. In addition to sports, they participated in a variety of extracurricular groups in school, such National Honor Society, Harvard Model Congress and Spanish National Honor Society, and church-related activities.
Their career plans are equally impressive, with several hoping to go into the medical field, a few planning to study engineering and several planning to teach.
In other words, shirkers these students are not. It’s clear they all learned how to handle the demands of their respective sports without losing sight of the fact they are in school for an education. All have excelled in both areas.
We salute all of this year’s honorees. There are no winners and losers, even though by tradition we single out one young man and one young woman.
All of their accomplishments are noteworthy, and their dedication to both their studies and their sports is an example younger student athletes would be wise to emulate.