By David Fong
DAYTON — The term “scholar-athlete” has become almost a complete oxymoron in our society — something that tends to make college administrators at power conferences tend to glance sideways, shift uneasily and attempt to change the subject when brought up.
Still, though, there remains a contingent of athletes out there who are every bit as dedicated in the classroom as they are on the playing field. For them, their GPA matters just as much as their ERA and they are just as likely to brag about their ACT score as they are about how many points they scored the previous Friday night.
Recently, the Southwest District Athletic Board decided to honor some of the best — and, just as important, brightest — athletes from the district at its annual scholarship awards banquet. College scholarship money was awarded to athletes from around the Southwest District who excelled not only on the playing field, but in the classroom, as well.
Six area athletes were selected to receive scholarships, including two from Covington High School, two from Russia High School and one each from Versailles High School and Miami East High School.
Here’s a look at the five athletes who were honored:
* Ben Miller (Covington): Miller excelled at the highest level possible in both wrestling and track and field for the Buccaneers. He was a two-time state placer at the Division III state wrestling tournament and a two-time state placer at the Division III state track and field meet. Miller was one of just 41 student-athletes from the state of Ohio to receive an Ohio High School Athletic Association Scholarship.
* Heidi Cron (Covington): Cron was one of the most versatile athletes in recent history for Covington, earning varsity letters in cross country, football cheerleading, basketball, basketball cheerleading, softball and track and field. This spring, she was named the girls track team’s most valuable player. Cron received the SWDAB’s Gene Klaus Honorary Scholarship.
* Jacob Pleiman (Russia): Pleiman was a two-sport athlete for the Raiders, playing both basketball and baseball. He was a part of the Raiders’ recent run of success on the basketball court, in particular, helping to lead Russia to back-to-back 22-5 records and appearances in the Division IV regional semifinals. Pleiman received the SWDAB’s Fred Durkle Memorial Scholarship.
* Claire Sherman (Russia): Sherman was a standout volleyball and basketball player for the Raiders. This winter, she was crucial to the Raiders’ run to a spot in the Division IV district championship game. Sherman received the SWDAB’s Fred Durkle Memorial Scholarship.
* Hannah Wenig (Versailles): Wenig was a three-sport athlete for the Tigers, competing in cross country, swimming and track and field. She was a part of the Tigers’ state cross country team and a district qualifier in swimming. Wenig received the Dale E. Creamer Honorary Scholarship.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong