From ukuleles to geniuses, this 2014 class will be missed

It’s hard to believe that another high school sports season has come to a close. With today’s publication of the 2013-14 Tribune Chronicle Athletes of the Year, we officially say farewell to the Class of 2014.

No matter the year, the Athlete of the Year section always is a favorite. The main reason is because it honors many great athletes who we have had the privilege of covering during the past four years, and it also allows us to learn a little bit more about these athletes.

A perfect example of this is LaBrae’s Somer McCoy. The senior has been a staple for the Vikings on the basketball court and softball field for years. This year in the Division III regional semifinal, McCoy, who is the shortstop, made a phenomenal catch that I don’t know how it didn’t make it on to ESPN’s top plays. However, little did we know that McCoy’s mother is Demetra Noble, her softball coach the past two seasons. How great that a mother could lead her daughter – and girls who grew up playing the game with her daughter – to two regional tournaments.

Obviously these nominated athletes not only play sports, but they have lives and interests outside of the sporting realm. For example, I knew Badger’s Jennilyn Krumpe was a standout on the track and field circuit, but who knew she played the ukulele? That’s right. The ukulele, the small guitar best known for playing Hawaiian tunes.

Maybe Krumpe can team up with Mathews’ Maddie Grimes, a standout for the Mustangs on the softball field and volleyball court. Grimes, when not studying her way to a 4.0 GPA and graduating at the top of her class, plays the flute in the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra. She’s even performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Grimes is not the only one with a 4.0 amongst our Athlete of the Year nominees. Numerous athletes list valedictorian and salutatorian as a part of their list of accomplishments on the academic front. And while grades are absolutely an important part of high school, extracurriculars off the field – while pulling in a high GPA and playing multiple sports – makes those grades even more impressive.

Take the case of Dylan Marx from Hubbard, who gets my vote as “Most Likely to Run the World.” Marx played soccer and ran track for the Eagles, but then he also submitted a four-page resume of his volunteering and leadership organizations. There are too many to list and can all be read in his nomination, but the word impressive doesn’t even begin to describe his list of activities. Oh, and he’s going to be a pre-med major. It’s athletes like Marx who put into perspective that while sports play a big role in our lives, there is so much more to do in the community.

Then there are the male and female athletes of the year, Peyton Aldridge from LaBrae and Alli Pavlik from Lakeview. At this point in their legendary careers, there wasn’t much we didn’t know about them, but what we do know is that next year they will be missed. From their ease with the media to their skills in their respective sports, both Aldridge and Pavlik have been a treat to cover the past four years.

But, what will next basketball season be like without two of the best our area has seen in many years? LaBrae basketball without a Peyton dunk? Lakeview basketball without a steal and score from Pavlik? Though it will be different, it’s a safe bet that there are athletes in the wings ready to shine in the spotlight.

But before the class of 2015 can step in, here is one last shout out to the class of 2014. From us here at the Tribune, it has been a pleasure to watch you all grow as people as well as athletes. No matter what road you take in the future, you are all bound for great things. Best of luck. You all will be missed.