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Athletes of the Year
July 9, 2012 - Ed Puskas
Congratulations are in order for Badger's Sarah Bonar and Grand Valley's A.J. Henson, who have been named the Ttribune Chronicle Athletes of the Year for the 2011-12 academic and athletic year.
Bonar excelled in basketball, soccer and track for the Braves. She ended her high school career as Badger's all-time leading scorer with 1,639 points in basketball, ahead of previous top girls scorer Jenny Place (1,405) and boys leader Dale Blaney (1,397).
Henson, a third-generation sports standout for the Mustangs, is the son of former Tribune Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year Kelly Henson and the nephew of Kim Henson, who also won the award. A.J. was a three-sport star for GV in football, basketball and baseball. His grandfather, Tom, was the Mustangs' football coach and also has been GV's basketball coach. He was an assistant with the baseball team this spring.
How old am I? I covered some of the GV teams A.J.'s mother and aunt played on when they were in high school and many of Tom Henson's GV basketball teams. Tom's brother, Jim, also was the Mustangs' football coach for years. Jim's son, Jimmy, was a multi-sport standout at GV and is now the football coach at Jefferson.
As is the case most years, there were dozens of nominees from schools in Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage and Ashtabula counties who had the grades and athletic skills to make a run at being honored with the newspaper's annual awards. All of them are deserving of recognition as standouts in the classroom and on the academic fields or courts. Every nominee is a winner.
The criteria for nomination includes participating in at least two sports, carrying a minimum 2.0 grade-point average and being a senior. The nominees are left up to each school in the Tribune Chronicle's circulation area. All the schools are invited to submit nominations.
A panel of Tribune Chronicle sports department staff members choose the award winners from all of the submitted nominations. The panel includes yours truly and sports writers Mike McLain, John Vargo, Tim Cleveland and Vince Taddei.
A complete list of nominees and biographical information for each can be found at the accompanying links to the stories about A.J. and Sarah on our website. Schools without nominees did not participate in the contest.
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Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Grand Valley’s A.J. Henson, left, and Badger’s Sarah Bonar were named this year’s Tribune Chronicle Athletes of the Year.