Super Centex All-Academic Team: Sacrifices pay off for area's top student-athletes

Midway's Shakiel Randolph (left) and Reicher's Jessica Trippe are this year's Super Centex Student-Athletes of the Year.

Midway football coach Terry Gambill has a saying he uses often.

“You’re either going to sacrifice now, or you’re going to sacrifice later.”

This Midway’s Shakiel Randolph and Reicher’s Jessica Trippe, this year’s boy and girl Super Centex Student-Athlete of the Year, respectively, clearly decided it was best to sacrifice now.

Both finished with GPAs of better than 100 while playing three sports and being involved in numerous other activities through their respective schools.

This is the second year the Tribune-Herald has selected a boy and girl as Student-Athletes of the Year. Randolph follows Crawford’s Jake Talbert, while Trippe takes the award after Emily Neubert of Midway.

Senior boys and girls who lettered in at one varsity sport and maintained a grade-point average of 90 or above were eligible.

Randolph is best known for his prowess on the football field and will continue his career in that sport at SMU this fall. He was a first-team Super Centex defensive back on the gridiron and also competed in basketball and track and field.

True student-athlete

“I’ve been coaching for 27 years, and Shakiel is by far the best student-athlete I’ve ever been around,” Gambill said. “I’ve been around some good once, but he is by far what you would hope every young person becomes.”

Trippe was a standout on the track, running relays at the state meet in each of her four years of high school and a key member of Reicher’s 2009 state cross-country championship team. She also was a starter on the basketball team as well as being a cheerleader. She’ll attend the University of Arkansas on an academic scholarship.

“She’s heavily involved in every activity at school,” Reicher athletic director Mark Waggoner said. “She has a wonderful personality, very bubbly. She does a lot of work, and she’s one of those few four-year participants in athletics at the varsity level. She’s very successful in all of her activities.”

Randolph’s ability was easy to see on the football field.

At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he looked the part of a high-level athlete, and his performance on the field bore that out.

He was a four-year letterman and helped the Panthers reach the Class 4A state championship game for the first time in their history last season. He was also the rare athlete at a school as large as Midway to compete in three sports and still keep up with his studies.

“He’s pretty unique,” Midway basketball coach Rusty Walker said. “He participated in three sports and excelled academically at a high level. That’s unusual in itself. He had a heavy academic load and a good handle on his priorities. That’s what always impressed me about Shakiel. he’s a goal-setting person, and he achieved those goals at a high level.”

As Walker explained, from the moment Randolph stepped on the Midway High School campus, he wasn’t going to settle for being average on the field or in the classroom. He was going to do both — and he was going to do them well.

“It’s always an advantage having a young man like that in your program, and Shakiel in various aspects on campus, in different programs, was always someone who would set the example and in a lot of different ways,” Walker said. “Sometimes it wasn’t vocally, sometimes it was, but the example was always set and it was always set well. You could always count on him to do the right thing.”

Role models

Randolph finished in the top 5 percent of his class with a 101.2 average.

During the spring, Gambill brought Randolph in to speak with the incoming freshman about what it means to be a student-athlete and how to do the right things.

“He’s been a role model for our program when he was in our school at Midway,” Gambill said. “Then he was able to come back and share with the younger players this offseason. He’ll always be a role model for the Midway Panthers, and what a great role model he is.”

The same can be said for Trippe, who spread her time out among not only athletics, but also as the student council chaplain and in the church.

It’s her faith that in many ways allowed her to be a leader for the Reicher track and field program.

“She’s born Catholic, and she’s an extreme believer,” Reicher track and field and cross country coach John Ryan said. “All of the girls would be nervous before big races, like the Texas Relays and the state meets. She’s say, ‘OK, it’s time to pray.’ All of a sudden, the girls would come out of it with big smiles on their faces. She knew the fears they were having, and she’d incorporate it in prayer. She had a great ability to know what the girls needed to hear.”

In the classroom, Trippe posted a 102 GPA, good for the salutatorian spot in her class.

It’s an impressive feat given how much time she spent being involved with other activities, and it’s a testament to her ability to manage her time well.

Through it all, she maintained a positive attitude, or as Waggoner put it, “I’m sure she’s had bad days, but I’ve never seen her have a bad day.”

“She brings a good attitude to everything she does,” Waggoner said. “We have to share a lot at Reicher, but she does a good job of making sure the coaches know where she’s going to be. She’s in cross country and a cheerleader, then she goes to basketball, and then to track and she was still our salutatorian, and it was neck-and-neck for valedictorian.”

Like with the Midway coaches and Randolph, Waggoner believes having Trippe roaming the halls at Reicher was a boon for the school and a person he can point to as what any young student-athlete should strive to become.

“I’d have no qualms about having a young person hanging with her because I know the circle she’s going to be around is going to be just fine,” Waggoner said. “. . . I think this award speaks volumes for the type of people we have a Reicher, and she would be at the top of the pedestal. When people see Jessica won this award, all the other kids will know this is how we are to do things. I’m so happy to see someone like Jessica, a great kid, win an award like this.”

 

SUPER CENTEX ACADEMIC TEAM

Boys

Dallas Rushing, Axtell: State champ in 1,600-meter run posted GPA just shy of 98

Cameron Smith, Lorena: First-team all-district basketball was in top 10 of his class

Jimmy Roberts, Lorena: Baseball standout carried GPA of 97.9

Brady Kaufmann, Mart: Valedictorian was two-time state golf tournament qualifier

Shakiel Randolph, Midway: Student-Athlete of the Year combined 101.2 GPA with 3-sport success

Grayson Wolf: Earned elite status on all-state academic football team with 100.3 GPA

Lincoln Plsek, Reicher: Minnesota signee for football also played basketball, ran track, had 99 GPA

Blake Waggoner, Reicher: Headed to Angelo State for football, was highly involved in school activities, still kept 98 GPA

Hunter Abbe, Robinson: First-team Super Centex baseball player also played football, basketball, had near-perfect GPA

John Balch, Valley Mills: Played football and baseball while maintaining 98 GPA

Girls

Katherine Reynolds, Axtell: Track athlete posted 98.7 GPA, won Longhorn Legacy Award for Spanish

Angelique Briggs, Axtell: Runner carried GPA just under 98, took Longhorn Legacy Award for English, chemistry

Kylie Hrozek, Cameron Yoe: Two-sport athlete was salutatorian with 101.6 GPA

Maeson Mondrik, Cameron Yoe: Excelled in volleyball, track and softball, had 98.1 GPA

Brittany Coleman, Dawson: Competed in 3 sports, was also cheerleader who finished with 98 GPA

Kelly Isom, Jonesboro: Salutatorian juggled 2 sports, service projects to maintain 97.3 GPA

Brenna Gardell, Midway: Maintained GPA better than 100, academic all-state in volleyball

Samantha Reagan, Midway: All-state academic volleyball player carried GPA above 100

Jessica Trippe, Reicher: Salutatorian and Student-Athlete of the Year balanced 3 sports, numerous other activities

Kaila Lancaster, Reicher: Volleyball, basketball and track star posted GPA right at 100

Honorable mention

Boys: Garrett Saucedo, Axtell; Hayden Adcock, Connor Albrecht and Parker Smith, Clifton; Adam Allen, Jose Fuentes, Matthew Skopik, Connally; Kyle Golden, Dawson; Payden Nolen, Hamilton; Dakota Cox and Aaron Rodriguez, Itasca; Zach Robuck, Jonesboro; Jakob Coker, Lorena; Hunter Dawson and Chance Smith, Mart; Ty Penson, Seth Rogers and Chase Wommack, Midway; Uriel Arroyo and Kyle Dean, Moody; Nathan Brooks, Reicher; Alex Rogers, Robinson; Johnathon Orwig and Myles Robinson, Valley Mills; Russell Johnson, Vanguard

Girls: Stefannie Denton and Rachel Reynolds, Axtell; Janae Rhoades, Cameron Yoe; Alexis Fehler and Shyan Mehrens, Clifton; Megan DeLa Garza, Kristina Midgett and Vicoria Padron, Connally; Haylee Kimbriel, Dawson; Macy McNeely, Hamilton; Shamonica Anderson, Itasca; Calley Crye, Lauren Marteney and JoBeth Thompson, Lorena; Lexxi Davenport, Mart; Jazzmin Babers, Midway; Anastasia Jaska, Reicher; Valencia DeGrate and Paige Walker, Waco High

 

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