CANTON, Ohio – The U.S. Army and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the ten high school athlete finalists for the U.S. Army – Pro Football Hall of Fame – Award for Excellence. The program, announced by Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe at the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country. The program which was open to all United States sophomore and junior level high school athletes focused on not only athletic achievement, but excellence in academics and community engagement.
“Athletes and Army Strong Soldiers possess a unique and similar set of strengths,” said John Myers, Director of Marketing U.S. Army Marketing and Research Group. “We are excited to partner with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to recognize these outstanding student-athletes; athletes who excel in their area of sport and who also excel academically. The most important attribute is that they are upstanding members of their communities. We look forward to joining with the ten finalists in San Antonio in January and celebrating their achievements.”
Of the ten finalists for the Award for Excellence is St. Rita junior, Nick Goldsmith. Goldsmith is a three sport athlete starring in football, soccer, and baseball. Nick was recognized with a formal ceremony on Tuesday, November 27th in the St. Rita gymnasium. Members of the U.S. Army and Hall of Famer, Richard Dent, were in attendance to present the award.
Nick’s has been a success story from the moment he walked through the doors at St. Rita High School and has been impressing his coaches ever since. “Nick brings true meaning to the term "student athlete", stated Head Football coach Todd Kuska. “To be able to balance three varsity sports--two of which occur during the same season along with a heavy class load speaks volumes about Nick's work ethic and his desire to be the best.”
The two sports that Kuska refers to are football and soccer which both are played in the fall. Nick is the punter and place kicker for the football team and goalie for the soccer team. His soccer coach Bob Kellam, believes he is one of the best players he has ever coached. “Nick’s work ethic is what makes him such an exceptional student athlete,” Kellam stated. “He's the complete package on and off the field. He's hands down the best goalie St. Rita has ever seen.”
While Nick has seen his share of successes on the playing field, he has found similar success in the classroom taking honors courses and being ranked near the top of the class. His hardwork in athletics transfers to the classroom as well. “I have been impressed by Nick's willingness to take responsibilty for his success in the classroom,” stated Matt Wilsey, Nick’s Physics professor. “Nick greatly contributes to a positive learning environment in class by coming prepared, making relevant connections between the material and real life applications, and staying upbeat - even when the material is challenging.
Head Baseball Coach and St. Rita Athletic Director, Mike Zunica, knows the importance of education first and is proud that student-athletes such as Nick get the recognition he deserves. “It is always rewarding to see a great kid get top level recognition for always doing the right thing, being a great teammate, and working hard.
Each of the 10 finalists will travel to the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and participate in various activities. The winner of the Award for Excellence will be announced during the Bowl’s formal Awards Dinner on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.
"The Pro Football Hall of Fame is proud to continue its mission to educate and promote the excellence that comes with America's favorite game, football, and combine it with the U.S. Army's mission of excellence in school, community service and through athletics,” said George Veras, President and CEO, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises. “We are excited to recognize these ten student-athletes for their outstanding achievements and hard work.”
Finalists include (in alphabetical order):
Peyton Aldridge, LaBrae High School, Leavittsburg, Ohio
Benjamin Carpenter, C.Leon King High School, Tampa, Florida
Robert Dixon, Big Beaver Falls Area High School, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Nicholas Goldsmith, St. Rita of Cascia High School, Chicago, Illinois
Andrew Henbest, Cassville High School, Cassville, Missouri
Brendon Jonassaint, Okeechobee High School, Okeechobee, Florida
Nathaniel Lowis, Sacred-Heart Griffin High School, Springfield, Illinois
Melissa Macon, East Bladen High School, Elizabethtown, North Carolina
Hunter Morrow, Central High School, Keller, Texas
Alexis Murry, Henry E. Lackey School, Indian Head, Maryland