Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Another prestigious award

Pistora named scholar-athlete of year, earns $2,000 for college

May 9, 2007

Move over Gil Meche, here comes Ali Pistora.

The former is a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals; the latter is a record-setting javelin thrower for the Tonganoxie Chieftains.

Both will be at Kauffman Stadium in mid-June.

Pistora, a senior at THS, was recognized May 1 as the Kansas City Star's Scholar-Athlete of the Year at the Tonganoxie Invitational at Beatty Field.

Accompanying the honor is a $2,000 scholarship, a banquet that was held Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium for her accomplishment -- and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game June 15.

Pistora, who learned of the honor the day before the ceremony, was taken aback by the award.

As for throwing out the first pitch, she said it might be a little "nerve-racking."

"I don't know, I've never done it before," Pistora said with a laugh, referring to throwing a ceremonial first pitch. "I don't know how I'll pitch. Maybe I should practice."

Pistora, who has placed at the state track meet throughout her high school career and has been on two state-qualifying basketball teams, also has helped the THS volleyball team to a stretch of successful seasons.

And, academically speaking, she ranks first in her class of 116 with a 4.0 grade-point average.

Her efforts in the classroom and on the field certainly didn't go unnoticed.

The Star recognizes a high school senior boy and a high school senior girl every spring. This season, Pistora was bestowed with the honor, marking the first time a Tonganoxie athlete received the recognition.

Tom Ibarra, assistant sports editor of high school coverage, said the newspaper has given the award to 46 student-athletes -- 23 boys and 23 girls -- for the past 23 years. He said Pistora was only the fourth student-athlete from a small school to receive the honor.

Pistora was humbled by the recognition.

"I'm pretty honored," Pistora said. "There's a lot of great scholar-athletes out there and I'm surprised."

Scott O'Donnell, Oak Park High (Mo.) wrestler who an individual championship each year of his high school career, was the boys scholar-athlete recipient. Overall, a panel of judges selected Pistora and O'Donnell from a field of 100 scholar-athlete candidates.

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