Athlete of the year


Photo by Ed Kempf of Joe Photo Impact Photography

Gabby Olejniczak

The auditorium was filled with the sound of medals clanking together as the class of 2016 received their many honors for both athletic and academic achievements on senior recognition night; awards they’ve earned during the past four years at Kennedy.

Each year, one male and one female athlete are selected to receive the honor of being Kennedy high school’s athletes of the year.

Head coaches for each sport are in charge of nominating athletes they deem fit to be athlete of the year to athletic director, Aaron Stecker. From there, Stecker compiles a list of all nominated athletes which he then sends to all coaches to select.

“This year we had seven males and six females that were nominated for athlete of the year,” Stecker said. Most of the students that received other athletic awards, such as the athletic honors award, had been in the original consideration for athlete of the year.”

Each head coach was able to vote for two athletes. Criteria for athlete of the year is based on athletic accomplishments, leadership within their program, citizenship within the school and academic performance.

This year’s female winner was Sydney Hayden. Hayden has always been active in athletics and during her time at Kennedy, she has participated in soccer and basketball all four years.

Hayden will continue her education and soccer career next year at the University of Northern Iowa. She does not plan to continue playing soccer after college.

“I don’t plan to play soccer after college due to the slim chance of playing professional sports,” Hayden said. “Instead I plan to focus on getting my masters degree in Biology.”

Two males received the honor this year, serving as co-athletes of the year. Those athletes are Shaun Beyer and Dalles Jacobus.

“Dalles Jacobus and Shaun Beyer were selected to be co-athletes of the year because they had a straight tie,” Stecker said.

Beyer and Jacobus helped the football team go 13-1 this season, with their strong family mentality. They will continue their athletic careers together next year, playing football at the University of Iowa, and eventually hope to make it to the NFL.

“Going pro after college is the goal.”, Beyer said.

Jacobus participated in multiple sports during his time at Kennedy, including baseball, track, football and wrestling. Beyer participated in basketball, track and football.

In college, Beyer plans to study Biology, while Jacobus plans to study occupational therapy.