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IHSA Announces 2011 Sportspersons of the Year

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The Illinois High School Association announced its 2011 Do What's Right! Sportspersons of the Year on August 22. The four individuals from across the state that were honored for their outstanding sportsmanship during interscholastic competition were:

Division 3: Kelly McShea, Wheaton (St. Francis)
Division 6: Claire Watson, Riverton
Division 7: Tanner Crum, Mt. Carmel
At-large: Bo Beniac, Frankfort (Lincoln-Way North)

Applicants were judged by a committee of IHSA staff members based on letters of recommendation highlighting their leadership skills and sportsmanship, participation in sports and activities, academic performance, application essays and overall involvement in their school and community.

"Congratulations to each of these worthy recipients on being honored as IHSA Sportspersons of the Year," said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Beth Sauser. “These individuals excel in the classroom, in athletics, in activities and in extracurriculars inside and outside of their schools. On top of that, they have the character and integrity to represent themselves and their schools with model sportsmanship.”

Each winner will receive a plaque and a $500 dollar scholarship during the Illinois Principals Association conference in October. All four winners were seniors during the 2010-11 school year.

A brief bio on each Sportsperson of the Year is listed below:

Kelly McShea, Wheaton St. Francis High School
Kelly spent four years on the Spartan basketball, cross country and track & field teams during her high school career, which included earning All-State honors at the IHSA state meets in the latter two sports. A Student Ambassador at St. Francis, she was also a part of the school’s Social Justice Club and has been on three mission trips.
St. Francis cross country and track & field coach Scott Nelson on Kelly: “In 27 years of working in education, Kelly is one of the top student-athletes I have had the pleasure of working with. She has always been a leader in every sense of the word.”

Claire Watson, Riverton High School
Claire was a part of the volleyball, basketball and dance teams during her time at Riverton and was selected to serve as a team captain in each during her senior season. Her leadership also carried over into involvement in Riverton’s Student Government, Spanish Club and National Honor Society, in addition to being a part of several music clubs and in the theater program.
Riverton Counselor Nancy Penk on Claire: “Her behavior is exemplary and she is respectful of others. She is one of the most responsible students I have encountered in 20 years of education and will be successful in any vocation she chooses.”

Tanner Crum, Mt. Carmel High School
Tanner participated in four sports over the course of his career at Mt. Carmel, including four years of football, wrestling and track & field. The 2011 IHSA Class 1A Individual Wrestling State Champion at 285 pounds, Crum also found time to serve as the school’s Student Council President and Future Business Leaders of America President.
Mt. Carmel Principal Pat Cheesman on Tanner: “He is truly an awesome young man. He is a well-rounded individual who puts time into his school work, clubs, hobbies and extracurricular activities. ”

Bo Beniac, Lincoln-Way North
Bo was a three-sport athlete at Lincoln-Way North High School, participating on the basketball, football and tennis teams. He was selected by his teammates to serve as a team captain in basketball and football. A National Honor Society member, Bo was also a part of the school’s Key Club, Varsity Club, Pi Sigma Pi and served as a Math Peer Guide.
Lincoln-Way North Mathematics teacher and basketball coach John Terry on Bo: “Bo is a passionate individual with a love for athletics and academia. He is a natural leader who leads by example. I wanted everyone on the team to emulate him.”

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