Times Sports Editor
Long bus rides, early morning practices, then often another extended practice after school and very little free time.
Being a high school athlete isn't always as glamorous as it might seem to those on the outside.
When the bright lights are turned off in the gym or the stadium, there's more often than not, a pile of school work that needs to get done before a student/athlete can hit the pillow. Sometimes that task is even more daunting than facing a 6'2 hitter at the net, but those who excel, find a way to get it all done.
Three county athletes were awarded for that exact reason and their diligence, not just on the court or course, but for excellence in the class room as well.
Northview's Lindsay Thomas and Mary Beth Tribble, as well as Clay City's Hanna Moore, all were honored with Academic All-State status in their respective sports this fall.
"It is a great honor," said Thomas of the award. "I have worked very hard on my school work and sports and it's nice to see it pay off."
Moore agreed with how it feels to be recognized by the state.
Northview volleyball coach and guidance counselor, Scott McDonald, is also someone who realizes the hard work that his athletes put in to succeed at both athletics and in the classroom.
"For success in the classroom, the students have to be willing to take a challenge and meet the standards that we want them to meet," said McDonald. "Lindsay has done a tremendous job in balancing school with athletics. The amount of work that goes into the type of classes that she takes is incredible."
"I put in a lot of time doing schoolwork, and during volleyball season, things get really busy," commented Thomas. "I have been juggling both school and sports since I was little, and I know that my performance in both is expected to be good, so I just try my best. I don't have a job during school, but I play club volleyball and softball in the spring."
Tribble and Thomas are 1-2 in their class rankings and are in contention for the Lilly Scholarship that allows a student to attend any school in the state.
The pair haven't stopped at taking just a regular curriculum either.
Thomas for one, has taken Advanced Placement English and Math courses all four years of high school and has added AP Spanish three years and science for two years.
And while she admits that math might be her favorite subject, she also admitted to really enjoying her sewing class as well.
McDonald also pointed to Tribble's challenging course load.
"Mary Beth is ranked first in her class. Mary Beth has taken nearly the same courses as Lindsay with a couple of exceptions. She has a great work ethic in school and on the golf course," said McDonald.
Tribble could often be found reading a novel by the putting green at Forest Park during down time during practice. And that was during the summer before classes started for the fall. That's the dedication that has led her to the top of her class to this point.
As for Moore, the Clay City student/athlete doesn't have much down time.
After completing the volleyball season under head coach Trisha Hall, Moore continues with cheerleading over the winter for the basketball teams and will prepare for spring track and field following basketball.
Hall believes that the academic honor is of benefit to Moore as well as the program itself.
"I think (the award) reflects positively on the program and the ability of our students," she said.
Clay City Athletic Director, Chris Ross, who coached the girls' basketball team before moving into his current post, knows the distinction that goes with receiving Academic All-State status.
"Obviously this is a great honor for Hanna, she's a great kid and a great student," commented Ross. "Academics aren't stressed as much sometimes as they should be, but here at Clay City we try to emphasize them," said Ross of the school's focus on studies. "Hanna has excelled in both the classroom and on the court as well."
"She's dedicated to her class work and to being an athlete too," noted Ross. "The amount of time and work that goes into succeeding at both just shows how well rounded she is. The Academic All-State award is well deserved."
Moore talked about the sometime long hours that must be endured to reach the level of success she has had in the classroom.
"Well, even when we get back from a match, I live about 15 minutes away so I have that extra drive. Sometimes it's pretty hard to finish everything when all you want to do is go to sleep. Sometimes you have to cram in the morning," said Moore with a smile. "I've learned to manage my time quite a bit."
Moore, who plans on attending Indiana University and later go to dental school, did a little bit of everything on the volleyball team, whether it be digs, serving, hitting or whatever was needed at the time. She's also the President of the Clay City National Honor Society chapter and has a GPA over four in a 4.0 scale.
Hall also feels that Moore's intelligence translates well into volleyball as well.
"She gets what I explain in practice pretty quickly," said Hall in her first year as a coach with the Eels. "Sometimes she likes to over analyze things, but she's able to grasp different concepts easily."
McDonald also feels that Thomas' academic work ethic translates well to the volleyball court.
"The work ethic that she possess in the classroom definitely crossed over onto the volleyball court," assessed McDonald. "During the season, she would stay late and work on various sets, she would do extra running on her own, and pushed everyone else to be their be the very best they could be."
"I think that Lindsay being honored for Academic All-State means a lot to this program. Not only was she highly successful on the court, but more importantly in the classroom," noted McDonald, also in his first year coaching volleyball at Northview. "It will be a great benefit for people around the state to recognize Northview volleyball for athletic and academic success."
The award also makes each of these three girls great role models to the younger athletes around them, demonstrating that so much can be achieved with hard work.
In a world where so much attention is showered upon the negative side of athletes and their personal lives, it's time that more notice is given to the athletes who have positive traits to pass on to those around them.
Congratulations to all three girls.