The Journal & Courier sports department is proud to present the 15 th annual Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
Harrison’s Tanner Watkins and Seeger’s Becca Haussin were chosen by members of the sports department from a list of candidates from the 27 high schools in the Lafayette area.
The selections were based on a student-athlete’s athletic and academic accomplishments, along with community activities. The winners were asked to write about what high school athletics meant to them.
Haussin competed in cross country, swimming and track at Seeger , winning two individual sectional titles and setting two school records. She had a 3.97 GPA. Haussin will attend the University of Indianapolis, where she will continue her swimming career and study exercise science with a pre-physical therapy focus.
Sports have always been an integral part of my life and have occupied a significant part of my 18 years.
People asked me after I finished my last race as a high school athlete if all of the time I put into sports was worth it. When I thought about all of the times I was unable to do things with my friends because of my commitment to sports, I came to the conclusion if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would not have done it differently.
Sports may have consumed a large amount of my time, but through them, I learned a new life lesson almost every day. Some of the life lessons that sports taught me that I consider the most valuable are sportsmanship, leadership, citizenship, work ethic and teamwork. I learned many of these lessons through the hard work of my coaches, teammates and friends.
Sports took up a large part of my life and thus it was not surprising that I became a fierce competitor who tried to do everything that I could to reach my personal goals. As a competitor, I learned very early in my athletic career how to celebrate a victory, how to accept a loss and, most important, how to celebrate the victories of other athletes.
The ability to show good sportsmanship transcends athletics. It extends to life in general. I believe sportsmanship and leadership go hand in hand. Being a leader means putting the teams’ best interests ahead of your own. I found the more I invested in my teammates the more successful I became, athletically and personally.
In sports, an athlete is constantly being watched on and off the court, field, course or pool. As role models they are judged for their actions away from the actual competition as well. You can watch any athlete compete and automatically know the caliber of athlete. What I have found as an indicator of the truly great athlete and the mark of a great person is the way they treat their fellow teammates and competitors.
When I was younger I looked up to the older girls and quickly saw that the girls who were the most positive toward every situation and uplifting toward others yielded the most happiness and ultimately the most success in sports and in life. As the sports saying goes, “Your talent sets the floor, your character sets the ceiling.”
Being an athlete has not only taught me many important life lessons, it has also introduced me to some of my best friends.
There is a special bond formed when running 3.1 miles as hard as you can, swimming the 100-yard butterfly or running 1,600 meters.
The camaraderie, laughter and memories that come with the sweat, and sometimes blood, of high school sports are worth all the time they consume. One of the most beautiful qualities of a friend is their ability to understand you and that is why I have found some of my best friends through sports.
Years down the road when I reflect on my four years of high school, I’m not going to remember what awards I won or what my times were. Instead, I will remember the lessons learned, friends made and how sports molded me. To quote another famous sport adage, in sports as in life, “success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
2001 — Attica’s Josh Smith and Twin Lakes’ Jessica Bragg
2002 — Benton Central’s Blake Schoen and West Lafayette’s Jessica Gall
2003 — McCutcheon’s Clayton Richard and Lafayette Jeff’s Liz Honegger
2004 — Twin Lakes’ Clif Cobb and Harrison’s Alison Steele
2005 — Central Catholic’s Thomas Haan and Lafayette Jeff’s Lanae Stovall
2006 — Lafayette Jeff’s Greg Tao and West Lafayette’s Olivia Ghiselli
2007 — North Montgomery’s Jake German and West Lafayette’s Monika Freiser
2008 — South Newton’s Ben Welsh and Attica’s Mary Mattern
2009 — West Lafayette’s Matt Lancaster and Benton Central’s Skyler Gick
2010 — West Lafayette’s Daniel Wodicka and Harrison’s Natalie Newton
2011 — West Lafayette’s Kyle Patton and North Montgomery’s Kelly Kyle
2012 — South Newton’s Luke Welsh and Harrison’s Taylor VanArsdel
2013 — Crawfordsville’s Jake Zurawski and Lafayette Jeff’s Erin West
2014 — Delphi’s Kolby Myer and West Lafayette’s Shelby Mann
2015 — Harrison’s Tanner Watkins and Seeger’s Becca Haussin