I’ve said it before and will say it again. The ability of high school students to excel both on the athletic field and in the classroom never ceases to amaze.
The release of the names of this year’s Greater Spokane League scholar-athletes is an annual reminder that those who discount the value of high school sports are missing the correlation between academics and athletics and the importance of both.
These are special youngsters who not only take care of academic business but willingly put themselves in the arena where their successes and failures are put on public display. That makes them worth every bit of extra recognition.
Some names jump out. Ferris’ Aaron Roberts had a spectacular all-state football season and is having a spectacular baseball season. He’s been spectacular in the classroom as well, earning straight A’s.
Brad Whitley at Central Valley is a state-title-caliber track runner who also starred in football and started in basketball yet found the time and personal discipline to compile a 3.98 GPA.
East Valley’s Morgan Manchester led the team in basketball and soccer scoring and is a talented softball player. She, too, has straight A’s.
Travis Long, headed from Gonzaga Prep to WSU in football and starter on the state fourth-place finishing basketball team? He’s a 3.88 student.
Lewis and Clark’s Emily Travis and Taylor Eglet backed mental toughness on the basketball and football fields with similar toughness in the classroom, scoring high grades.
Mead’s Chance Johnstone, a 4.0 student with eyes on the Air Force Academy, started four years in soccer, wrestles and is also the ASB president. Tori Dezellem at Shadle was point guard for the state runner-up basketball team and played soccer on a state qualifier while earning a 3.8 GPA. North Central state and national championship team runner Leon Dean last week earned a Spokane Scholar’s Foundation English grant worth $4,000.
It’s just a sampling of mental and physical toughness. How they manage it all is mind-boggling. That’s why I have always argued about the importance of athletics and how it sets these youngsters apart.
They are the future leaders who understand that success in life means hard work and teamwork. They are the cornerstones this country sorely needs to endure.
The GSL recognizes a top senior female and male chosen from each member school. They gathered to be honored last week at the Spokane Club:
Central Valley – Tristina Krakenberg, 3.65 GPA, cross country, basketball, track and field; Brad Whitley, 3.98, football, basketball, track and field.
East Valley – Morgan Manchester, 4.0, soccer, basketball, softball; James Dorr, 4.0, basketball, track and field.
Ferris – Blythe Butler, 4.0, soccer, basketball, tennis; Aaron Roberts, 4.0, football, baseball.
Gonzaga Prep – Ann Morgan, 4.0, cross country, track and field; Travis Long, 3.88, football, basketball, baseball.
Lewis and Clark – Emily Travis, 3.7, basketball, golf; Taylor Eglet, 3.73, football, basketball.
Mead – Alyson Donahoo, 4.0, basketball, track and field; Chance Johnstone, 4.0, soccer, wrestling.
Mt. Spokane – Michelle Mollison, 4.0, soccer, track and field; Zach Wilkes, 3.88, wrestling.
North Central – Katie Emoto, 4.0, soccer, track and field; Leon Dean, 3.6, cross country, track and field.
Rogers – Jesica Carpenter, 3.53, volleyball, basketball, softball; Travis Erickson, 3.95, football.
Shadle Park – Tori Dezellem, 3.8, soccer, basketball, track and field; Luke Jordan, 3.6, basketball, baseball, track and cross country.
University – Madeline Fuchs, 4.0, cross country and track; Billy Moon, 3.93, football and baseball.
GSL league secretary Randy Ryan sent out the list of next fall’s non-league football games. Ferris is scheduled to play Esperanza High at Bradford Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 2.