Journal & Courier’s Sports Department is proud to present the 21st Annual Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
The selections were based on a student-athlete’s athletic and academic accomplishments, as well as community activities. The winners were asked to write about what high school athletics meant to them. The male recipient for 2021 is Lewis Dellinger of Twin Lakes.
Dellinger had a cumulative GPA of 11.926. He participated in football, basketball and golf for Indians.
Dellinger was named to the Region 4 All-Star and All-Hoosier conference as the quarterback of the football team, while helping the basketball and golf teams to win sectional championships. He was a team captain in all three sports.
Dellinger has served as president of the National Honor Society and the Business Professionals of America, as well as the board of directors of Alliance Bank Jr. and a member of the Student Athletics Leadership Conference of the Indiana High School Athletic Association. He plans to attend Wabash College and continue his career as a footballer and golfer.
My biggest pet peeve is when someone says, “This is just a game.”
This is simply not true. Sports in high school aren’t just games. They are much more important than that to so many people, and they have completely shaped who I am as a person.
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They taught me discipline, gave me lifelong friends, and showed me how to overcome adversity to achieve my goals. These are courses that come at a price. They come by working hard before most people are up. It forces you to see the end goal when it doesn’t exactly make sense. This is what I did and it made me a much stronger person because of it.
Sport has made me the kind of person I always wanted to be.
Planning summers around practices, scrums, and movies helped me realize the importance of good time management.
This is how I was able to be president of the National Honor Society and of Business Professionals of America. I also graduated second in my class, which I was very proud of.
As an athlete of three sports, it seemed impossible to keep up with my homework and the extra work it took to be an effective player. It took me a lot of late nights to come home tired after training, have dinner while having my computer open next to me working at school.
I had to stay up much later than I wanted just to be better prepared than anyone for class the next day. This dedication does not come from just anywhere. Like most of my values, it came from my coaches and brothers pushing me as hard as possible in sports in high school.
It’s like those long, hard basketball practices. All I could think of was come home and lay down just so I could finally rest my legs. Instead, the coach put us on the line and made us run sprints.
I hated doing this until my senior year when I realized what it did to us. It made us more prepared than our opponents. When we were tired, we kept pushing. We relied on each other on the basketball court to help us out. Everyone is screaming to keep pushing, to keep running as hard as possible to save time.
Suddenly these sprints become a competition with each other and they become easier to go through. After a while you start to see results when you can outrun a team at the end of the game.
Next thing you know, you hold a Section Championship trophy with the same brothers you were racing to beat. These are the types of things that I will forever take from sports.
No matter what I end up doing with my life, the only way to stand out or make a better life is to outdo everyone else.
Count on your family to help you through tough times and to push you to be a better person.
I cannot thank my coaches and teammates for showing me these ways, and I can never reward them for the successes I know they will have helped me achieve.
Losing sports in high school forever made me grateful for every moment, even the tough times, and I will never take anything athletic for granted again. Fortunately, with the help of my coaches, I was fortunate enough to play sports at Wabash College, and I know college athletics will continue to make me an even better and stronger person overall.
Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.
J&C STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
2001 – Josh Smith of Attica and Jessica Bragg of Twin Lakes
2002 – Blake Schoen from Benton Central and Jessica Gall from West Lafayette
2003 – Clayton Richard of McCutcheon and Liz Honegger of Lafayette Jeff
2004 – Clif Cobb of Twin Lakes and Alison Steele of Harrison
2005 – Thomas Haan from Central Catholic and Lanae Stovall from Lafayette Jeff
2006 – Greg Tao from Lafayette Jeff and Olivia Ghiselli from West Lafayette
2007 – Jake German from North Montgomery and Monika Freiser from West Lafayette
2008 – Ben Welsh of South Newton and Mary Mattern of Attica
2009 – Matt Lancaster of West Lafayette and Skyler Gick of Benton Central
2010 – Daniel Wodicka of West Lafayette and Natalie Newton of Harrison
2011 – Kyle Patton of West Lafayette and Kelly Kyle of North Montgomery
2012 – Luke Welsh of South Newton and Taylor VanArsdel of Harrison
2013 – Jake Zurawski from Crawfordsville and Erin West from Lafayette Jeff
2014 – Kolby Myer from Delphi and Shelby Mann from West Lafayette
2015 – Tanner Watkins of Harrison and Rebecca Haussin of Seeger
2016 – Cooper Williams of West Lafayette and Cameron Onken of Central Catholic
2017 – Jake Quasebarth of North White and Emma Gerrety of Central Catholic
2018 – August Schott from West Lafayette and Sami Royer from Central Catholic
2019 – Dawson Jacoby from Rossville and Kc Clapper from Frontier
2020 – Ayden Ayres of Carroll and Bailey Burton of McCutcheon
2021 – Lewis Dellinger of Twin Lakes and Megan Wagner of Carroll