2011 High School Sullivan Award Finalists are selected

Drum Roll please…… And the winner of the High School Sullivan Award goes to…… Sarah Biddle of Servant Christian Academy in Indiana and Daniel Giovacchini from Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts.

Sarah is a multiple world champion with 80 world, national and state records in nine weight classes a first for any power lifter, male or female. She’s a concert harp player, holds the rank of major in the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol and served as her unit’s cadet commander.Sarah will be pursuing a degree in surgical nursing as an ROTC cadet at Maranatha Baptist (Wis.). Her current athletic goal is to participate in the Olympics in 2016 or 2020 in the hammer.
In his high school career, Daniel earned 12 varsity letters, led undefeated league championship teams in football (running back and linebacker), basketball and baseball. He was team captain in all three sports his senior year and received all-league or higher honors in all three, as well as league MVP in football. Daniel played AAU basketball for six years with the Boston Warriors, winning a state championship and attending six national tournaments. He will attend Brown University in the fall where he’ll play football and basketball.

Both High School Sullivan winners and their families will be flown to Orlando, Florida next weekend to accept their award at the opening ceremonies of the ESPN Rise Games.

Congratulations again to both recipients and to the other finalists for making it this far. Don’t worry, the other six finalists don’t go away empty handed. Each will be receiving a $2,500 scholarship.

Thanks to all who were a part of this year’s High School Sullivan Award. We can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Over 1,500 kids from around the country submitted applications at a chance of winning the inaugural High School Sullivan Award.

The High School Sullivan Award stems from the pretigious AAU Sullivan Award. Known as the ” Oscar” of sports awards, and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.

Just like the Sullivan Award, the High School Sullivan Award looks to award a high school student who embodies leadership skills and has given back to their community aside from participating in some type of athletics. The pool has been narrowed down to eight finalists, four boys and four girls. Of the eight, a boy and a girl will be selected as the High School Sullivan Award winners and each will receive a $10,000 scholarship. The remaining finalists each receive $2,500.

To find our High School Sullivan Award winner, it’s up to you the viewer/the fan to VOTE for them. Go to USA TODAY SPORTS (make sure you’re on the sports page) and then scroll to the bottom. There you will find the voting ballot on the bottom left. CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW. Again, make sure to scroll all the way down.

Before you vote, get to know the eight High School Sullivan Award Finalists:

Sara Faye Biddle, Servant Christian Academy (Morgantown, Ind.)

A multiple world champion with 80 world, national and state records in nine weight classes a first for any power lifter, male or female. A concert harp player. Holds the rank of major in the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol and served as her unit’s cadet commander. A certified EMT. Will be pursuing a degree in surgical nursing as an ROTC cadet at Maranatha Baptist (Wis.). Her current athletic goal is to participate in the Olympics in 2016 or 2020 in the hammer.

Logan Ellis, Southeast Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.)

A two-time all-conference golfer, he qualified for first-round match play in the 2010 CGA NC Junior Matchplay Championships. Started Scouting at age 7 and earned the rank of Eagle at age 16. Volunteer Firefighter at Mt. Hope Fire Department. Maintained A-B Honor Roll throughout school and member of the National Honor Society. Played in AAU golf tournaments for four years, including three National Championships.

Dan Giovacchini, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)

In his high school career, earned 12 varsity letters, led undefeated league championship teams in football (running back and linebacker), basketball and baseball. Team captain in all three sports and received all-league or higher honors in all three, as well as league MVP in football. Maintained 4.0 GPA in honors and advanced placement level classes. Also played AAU basketball for six years with the Boston Warriors, winning a state championship and attending six national tournaments. Will attend Brown, where he intends to play football and basketball.

Teddy Kelley, Libertyville, Ill.

Played football, a diver on the swimming team and ran track. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, maintained a 3.9 GPA. Actively volunteers in the community. “While both his athletic achievement and classroom performance are impressive, what surpasses them both is Teddy’s genuine interest in people and his ability to use his leadership skills to help others believe not only in him, but also in themselves,” said Libertyville High principal Marina Scott.

Haley Kong, San Mateo, Calif.

Six-time AAU and USA Taekwondo national gold medalist in Olympic-style sparring. Holds a fourth-degree black belt and was a member of the national team at the Junior Pan Am and Junior World Championships. Volunteers at her local hospital and homeless shelter. For her community service, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Girl Scout Gold Award. Has studied classical piano for 10 years and plays French horn and mellophone. Has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, has an A+ average and will attend Stanford.

Courtney Larson, Columbus (Ind.) North


Played volleyball and basketball and ran track. Will be attending Miami (Ohio) on a basketball scholarship. She was valedictorian of her class, has won several leadership awards and was selected first-team academic all-state. In basketball the 5-9 guard was selected first-team all-state by Hoosier Basketball and chosen to the state all-star team. She also coordinated a fundraising basketball game that netted more than $3,000 for cancer research.

Carissa Townsend, Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.)

Graduated in the top 3% of her class and will be attending the University of Illinois , pursuing degrees in journalism and Spanish. She has been a member of the Pink Panthers Double Dutch jump roping team for five years, and her team has won 1st place in the speed event three consecutive years. They are also the first team from Illinois to receive the gold pentathlon medal (2009). She enjoys community service and tutoring and mentoring youth.

Logan Vos, Ripon (Calif.) Christian


Basketball player and golfer. Valedictorian of his class. Played basketball for his school team and several AAU teams. The 6-4 forward currently plays for 3D Elite of Modesto, Calif. Played golf for his school team and in amateur and junior tournaments. Named all-state in basketball by MaxPreps. Volunteered in many leadership and service positions in his church and community including worship band, mission trips and the city youth commission.


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