WAUSAU Jeffrey Ford, Michael Plaza, Sam Romanski and Jake Whalen are a fearsome foursome that, if they had played on the same team, could give any opponent nightmares.
But the four seniors make up the dream team of nominees for this year’s Win Brockmeyer Memorial Award, which is presented to the MOST outstanding senior high school football player from the greater Wausau Area.
Whalen, who represents Wausau West, Romanski (Wausau East), Plaza (D.C. Everest) and Ford (Newman Catholic) were nominated by their respective coaches to be finalists for the award. The winner, who will be announced at a breakfast ceremony on Dec. 17, will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship. The other nominees will receive $500 scholarships.
In addition to having outstanding football skills, nominees must achieve recognition from peers and coaches, be positive role models and display the characteristics of aggressiveness, courage, physical develoPment and sportsmanship.
Plaza, a linebacker, was a second-team All-Valley Football North Division selection. He was fifth in the conference with 70 tackles, 12 for loss.
A three-sport athlete (hockey, baseball), Plaza is ranked first in his class with a grade point average of 4.00. Among his extracurricular activities, he has served as president of the National Honor Society and the Key Club; competed on the math and SMART (Students Modeling a Research Topic) teams; won the Optimist Oratorical Contest regional competition twice; volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation, Aurora Foundation and Salvation Army; and started his own service project, Blessings in a Backpack, to help feed needy children.
Romanski was a first-team All-VFA North selection at linebacker and an honorable mention selection at tight end.
Romanski also plays hockey and baseball. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the vice president of DECA a member of the National Honor Society and a Link Crew Leader. He has also volunteered for Susan G. Komen and the Salvation Army.
Whalen was a first-team all-state selection at linebacker and an honorable mention all-state choice at running back. He won the John Anderson Award, given to the state’s top linebacker by Wisconsin Sports Network and wissports.net, and was named the region’s defensive player of the year.
Whalen is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) and DECA.
Ford, a 290-pound lineman, has been a four-year varsity player and three-starter for Newman. He was an honorable mention all-state selection at defensive tackle and was named first-team All-Cloverwood on both offense and defense.
Ford, who also competes in track and field, has been involved in many extracurricular activities, including 4-H (president in 2011), Pep Club and SADD.