Dickinson High this year had its highest number of athletes receiving the Roger Stone award, with nine athletes being named. Each of the nine athletes participated in playing three varsity sports all four years of their high school career.
Each of the athletes played on three different varsity teams in the same scholastic school year from their freshman to senior year of high school. Each of the seniors to earn the award receives a plaque, a $100 Roger Stone scholarship and will have their name engraved in the Dickinson High School West Lobby with the school’s past Roger Stone award recipients.
Despite the athletes being unable to participate in the spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school awarded the athletes with the award. This was the first time since 1995 that Dickinson High had at least nine athletes receive the award.
For Taylor Nelson and Alex Praus, two of the nine Roger Stone award recipients, the hard work, dedication and time management was all worth it in the end.
“I know all of us together have been really close for a long time, so it’s really cool that we all stuck it out and were able to finish out as one the largest groups,” Nelson said. “It’s not easy, it’s like another job, but it’s also really fun. Working that hard and working with so many great teammates, it’s amazing.”
For Nelson, a volleyball, basketball and softball athlete, the task was a challenge, but with the help of friends and teammates, was able to be accomplished.
“After one season ends you kind of have to take maybe about a couple days to a week and kind of take those days as a mental break and use it to transition into the next sport,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s always fun looking forward to it sometimes, and even though there’s not a lot of down time, you’re definitely looking forward to that next sport within just that one week.”
For Praus, a football, basketball and track athlete, the accomplishment is one to cherish. But being a large group, especially with the loss of the spring season, is what made the award truly special.
“It feels good to be a part of such a big group,” Praus said. “Especially this year, with [COVID-19], but it feels good to be a part of such a big group.”
Besides staying on track with time management and dealing with early morning workouts, Praus said being teammates and making new friends is all that matters.
“It’s definitely fun, mainly because you get to be around your friends full time throughout the year,” he said. “You get to see them in school, and then right after that you get to go right to practice and then see them again, you definitely build a really good bond with those kids, too. It’s a really good thing.”
Both Nelson and Praus added that while the grind is hard, the road is tough, the athletes that take on the challenge learn so much more than just how to play a sport. Both advocated for incoming freshmen who are interested in taking the challenge to pursue it knowing they will have their family, friends and teammates by their side, and will make memories and learn lessons that will last a lifetime.
“It definitely made me realize how hard you have to work to do things to get accomplished, how to have teamwork and just to be able to pick yourself up when things aren’t going your way,” Nelson said. “It definitely made me a better leader, it’s been great. I’ve learned so many things and gained so many good traits from playing those three sports.
Nelson added, “It’s definitely not easy, but in the end, it’s so worth it. You learn so much about yourself, just keep up the hard work and just never give up, never get down on yourself, just stay confident and just think about how much you’re going to get out of these experiences.”
Besides Praus and Nelson, the remaining 2020 Roger Stone recipients are Peyton Hanson, Madison Lindley, Audrey Rodakowski, Teandra Schneider, Peyton Selle, Evan Showalter and Aleigha Villars.