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Taylorsville Journal

Top student-athletes recognized at Kearns and Taylorsville

Dec 04, 2022 11:29AM ● By Greg James

By Greg James | [email protected]

Taylorsville and Kearns athletes recently received honors as part of the Utah High School Activities Association’s academic all-state awards.

“Individuals are selected for this award on the basis of their athletic ability and academic proficiency,” UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff said in a press release. “The award is the most prestigious honor the UHSAA presents to senior students.”

Athletic performance can make education more difficult because of time constraints. In a University of Kansas study, athletes on average have better grades and graduate at a higher percentage.

Angela Lumpkin, a Kansas professor of health said, “In general athletes are not smarter than nonathletes, but evidence suggests they take studies more seriously if they want to compete.”

For more than 25 years the UHSAA has presented the academic all-state awards to athletes that maintain high academic standards and contribute to their respective athletic fields. In the past, the award meant you were a varsity player and had one of the top ten grade point averages in your classification. In 2018 that changed in two ways.

The first change made the award not just an athletic achievement. The award is now given to all UHSAA-sanctioned activities.  Theater, debate and music participants are now recognized at the completion of seasons just like athletes.

The current award changes also include the use of a matrix that includes grade point average and ACT scores. All 4.0s receive the award, but a student with a 3.9 and a 33 ACT may now also qualify. 

Larkin Hancuff from Kearns was honored at Kearns High School. The senior finished eighth, with a personal record, at the Region 2 boys cross country finals. He helped the Cougars place second overall in the region competition. He finished 53 at the state divisional.

Taylorsville senior Sarah Ekker was nominated in two sports, girls soccer and tennis. The Warriors soccer team placed fifth in Region 2 with a 4-8 record. They lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Skyridge, 9-1.

“With over 85,000 students participating in high school activities, to be recognized is reputable,” Cuff said. “On behalf of all those associated with the UHSAA I congratulate and pay tribute to those who have earned and received this distinguished award.”

Students are nominated through their registration process for school activities. The schools confirm their participation, grade point averages and ACT or SAT scores. The UHSSA then awards the recognition and notifies the school of the participant's achievement. The schools then present the awards in separate ceremonies to recognize their achievements.

“The real purpose is to recognize more students,” Cuff said. “We want to give out more certificates."
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