Three Win Courage Award from NCHSAA

CHAPEL HILL—Three student-athletes from three different schools were honored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association at its 2005 Annual Meeting in Charlotte last week with the NCHSAA's A.J. "Tony" Simeon Courage Award.

Morgan Peterson of Mountain Heritage, Rachel Coleman of West Lincoln and Paul Novicki of South Lenoir were presented Courage Awards at the Charlotte Coliseum.

The Courage Awards are designed to honor individuals who, despite adversity, have demonstrated exemplary character and performance and, as a result, have been an inspiration to all those involved with the programs of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. They are named in honor of NCHSAA Hall of Famer Tony Simeon, a long-time coach at High Point Central.

Coleman has a serious kidney condition and has been unable to compete in a sport, but has worked with West Lincoln as a football manager, demonstrating that high school athletics can find a valuable role for anyone who is interested.

Peterson had severe scoliosis that required major surgery, but she competed in great pain all during last spring's track season, delaying the surgery until the season was over. She was able to win an individual hurdle championship last spring before the operation and even played volleyball in the fall after her surgery although she was not at full speed.

Novicki is an outstanding three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. He was a two-time all-conference selection and two-year captain in basketball, leading his team to its first playoff appearance in over 10 years and first conference championship in 25 years. He has achieved this despite losing his sight practically overnight due to an infection at the age of 14, spending a couple of weeks in the hospital and then undergoing a corneal transplant, battling back to be able to play.

"It is always an emotional thing but one of the highlights of the Annual Meeting," said Charlie Adams, executive director of the NCHSAA. "These individuals are truly inspirational and say so much about what is good about high school athletics."

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