Thursday, June 5, 2003

Sports

Four who made the grade
Spokesman-Review's Athletes of the Year more than superb athletes

Greg Lee
Staff writer

photo
Jesse Tinsley - The Spokesman-Review
The Idaho Spokesman-Review Athletes of the Year, from left: Sandpoint senior Dave Lissy, Lake City senior Dustin Sedgwick, Post Falls senior Aubree Johnson and Sandpoint junior Amy Dyck.

Each year, statistics bear out that the best high school athletes usually are among the best students, if not the best.

So it's no coincidence that the 2002-2003 Idaho Spokesman-Review Male and Female Athletes of the Year were equal parts brain and athleticism. And multiple-sport standouts no less.

Seniors Dustin Sedgwick of Lake City and David Lissy of Sandpoint share the male honors while senior Aubree Johnson of Post Falls and junior Amy Dyck of Sandpoint do likewise among the females.

Sedgwick, who quarterbacked Lake City to a State 4A football championship, is headed to Princeton, where the bulk of his education will be covered by academic scholarships; Lissy, a 4A first-team All-Idaho selection on both the offensive and defensive lines, has signed to play at the Air Force Academy; the do-everything 6-foot-2 Johnson, who made a 22-foot shot at the buzzer to secure a repeat 4A state basketball title, is bound for Arizona State University; and Dyck, among the to
p volleyball recruits in the nation, already has accepted a scholarship offer to University of Arizona with a year of high school remaining.

Sedgwick, who was named the ninth annual Ray Flaherty Scholar/Athlete of the Year, turned down a full academic scholarship to the University of Southern California after learning he had gained admission to Princeton.

"I couldn't turn down the opportunity to go to Princeton," said Sedgwick, who hopes to overcome nagging ankle injuries to play football at the Ivy League school. "It's one of the best schools in the nation, if not the best."

Sedgwick realizes his days of getting nothing less than A's will likely come to an end in college. But he's looking forward to the challenge.

He's conquered goal after goal since telling his father before starting sixth grade that he wouldn't get less than an A in middle or high school.

"When he decides to do something, he does it," said his father, Jonathan, a Harvard graduate.

Some of Segwick's non-athletic feats, for example, include scoring 1,540 out of 1,600 on the SAT, acing the math portion worth 800, teaching himself how to play the piano in sixth grade after borrowing lesson books from a friend and composing a classical piano piece (Sedgwick Allegro I, as he titled it) for his senior project.

His goals entering high school were to win a state championship in football, become a National Merit Scholar, be named valedictorian and earn scholarships to college.

"It's been the perfect high school experience because I reached all my goals," he said.

What's next? Rhodes Scholar?

"I'd like to find out what it would involve," said Sedgwick, who plans to major in the engineering field.

Behind Sedgwick, LC finished 9-3 last fall, beating Madison 47-26 in the title game. He completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,585 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also ran for 895 yards and 12 more TDs. He also made 26 tackles, six deflections and two interceptions as a defensive back.

"Dustin is the best quarterback I've coached in 26 years," LC coach Van Troxel said.

Sedwick was a two-year starter in basketball. This year, the Timberwolves finished 17-8, losing to eventual state champ Centennial 61-49 in a play-in game for a state berth.

Lissy, a Ray Flaherty finalist who graduates with a 3.75 grade-point average, didn't test the interest of a handful of other schools recruiting him after visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I knew it was the place for me," Lissy said. "Their academics are amazing. I'll be set if I graduate from there."

A three-year letterman and two-year starter in football and basketball and a three-year state qualifier in track, Lissy capped his prep career by capturing state titles in shot put and discus. His individual championships also helped the Bulldogs capture their first state track title.

"He embodies everything we want our student-athletes to be perceived as," Sandpoint athletic director Jack Dyck said. "He's bright, selfless, humble and hard-working. Those things are far more important than being gifted athletically."

Lissy was especially inspired during the track season after Sandpoint fell to LC in the state semifinals in football after beating the T-Wolves during the regular season.

"Not getting a state title in football was disappointing," the 6-3, 230-pound Lissy said. "I really felt we should have won a state title. That's the only thing that would have topped off the year."

He ended the year by breaking a 45-year-old school record in the shot -- on the final throw of his career. He heaved it 55 feet, 23/4 inches to eclipse the 54-6 mark set in 1958.

Moments after the throw, Lissy said setting the record was a relief: "It's been a burden for two years. It was in my head all day. It's been in my head all week -- and all year. I've broken it in practice all the time but never in a meet."

For Johnson, the opportunity to play right away in an up-and-coming program and go to the same school Spokane Stars teammate Emily Westerberg of Central Valley, who's also a friend, was everything she wanted.

Although ASU will return its starting lineup intact next season, Johnson and Westerberg have both been told by their coaches that they'll be in the mix for starting jobs.

"At the very least, we hope to earn some playing time," said Johnson, who was named the Gatorade player of the year for Idaho after becoming a repeat pick as 4A player of the year. "We know if we work hard, we'll get a decent amount of playing time. It really depends on how much I improve and how well I adapt to that level of competition."

Johnson, who graduates with a 4.0 GPA, defined unstoppable at Post Falls. She started her first game as a freshman. Her career finished 98 games later.

She averaged 17.5 points and nine rebounds per game last season. She set the all-time school scoring record with 1,334 points.

Johnson also was a three-year starter in volleyball and played on this spring's Trojans golf team that captured a third-place trophy at state.

Dyck knew friends and family would wonder if she had suffered a temporary loss of sanity when she chose Arizona over 2002 NCAA Division I champion Stanford.

She made the decision with her heart.

"Honestly, if it wasn't me, I'd probably wonder why too," the 5-8 setter said at the time. "You have to go with your heart.

"It wasn't that Arizona had anything that Stanford was lacking. I just fit better at Arizona."

She is looking forward to a stress-free summer and senior year with her college destination decided.

"It means I can relax, play and have fun this summer and not worry about who's watching and who I have to impress," Dyck said.

Dyck has played on the Kent (Wash.) Juniors U18 volleyball team during the club season. Her team was recently ranked third in the nation in its age group in a poll of club coaches. The team will contend for a national title in the U18 open division at the USVBA Junior Olympics in Atlanta later this month.

After leading Sandpoint to a state title last fall, Dyck was named the Gatorade player of the year. She followed that by capturing state track titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchoring the winning 400 relay.

She believes the Bulldogs can defend their volleyball title this fall. And she expects nothing less than gold again next spring in track.

"The nice thing is I don't have to worry about boosting up my resume since I know where I'm going after next year," said Dyck, who continues to carry a 4.0 GPA. "I think I can excel even more next year with no stress."


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