COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., January 23, 2019 — Junior Grace Wilkinson from Rampart High School was named the October female athlete for the 3rd Annual MaxPreps Semper Fidelis High School Athlete of the Month Award, presented by the United States Marine Corps. Wilkinson is a part of the volleyball, basketball and soccer teams.
“MaxPreps congratulates Grace Wilkinson on being named High School Athlete of the Month,” said Andy Beal, Founder and President of MaxPreps. "High school sports are designed to build character and foster teamwork and a competitive spirit in our nation's young people. The MaxPreps Semper Fidelis High School Athlete of the Month represents those outstanding qualities that make not just great athletes, but more importantly fine citizens. MaxPreps is proud to honor these fine student-athletes in collaboration with the United States Marine Corps.”
“Grace is a natural leader,” stated volleyball head coach Nikki Bloemen. “Despite the fact that we had 10 seniors on our team this year, she was voted captain as a junior by her teammates. She’s proof that leadership is not measured by age or experience, but rather by the innate ability to lead and hold teammates accountable. Her peers respect her and she has an ability to leave a positive impression on everyone she comes into contact with.” Wilkinson leads both the team and the league in digs for the 2018 season. When asked about Wilkinson receiving the MaxPreps Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month award, Bloemen explained, “I could not imagine an athlete more deserving of this award. It is a true display of her resilience and hard work. The award also reflects our program, because our athletes understand that when they play for the right reasons and wholeheartedly pursue something for the team, it will eventually be rewarded. Grace has so much passion for volleyball and for life; she is the perfect representation of a young woman who understands the larger significance of the sport.”
Wilkinson embodies what it means to be an exceptional student athlete. Not only does she shine on the court, but she also makes an impact in the classroom. “Grace stands out as one of the exceptional students that I’ve taught,” stated history teacher Lauren McMaster. Despite missing two months of school due to being hospitalized for a low white blood cell count that doctors originally thought might be cancer, Wilkinson managed to maintain her GPA and eventually returned to the sport she loves so deeply.
When not on the court or in the classroom, Wilkinson dedicates her time to helping others, namely volunteering as a youth volleyball coach and tutoring middle-school students. Despite setbacks due to difficult health issues, Wilkinson pushed forward and stayed resilient, doing anything and everything to get back on the court. She understands the importance of attitude, affirming, “Staying positive is a huge thing, no matter what you’re going through [and] no matter how hard things get.”
Staff Sergeant Liza Cabanillas of the Colorado United States Marine Corps presented Wilkinson with the MaxPreps Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month trophy on Wednesday morning during a school athletic assembly. "The United States Marine Corps fights and wins our nation's battles. Through the MaxPreps High School Athlete of the Month program, we recognize students that embody the Marine Corps' fighting spirit and tenacity to overcome adversity,” stated 1st Lt. Johnny Henderson. “These student athletes have proven to rise to the challenges they face, both on and off the field. We honor only the best and we take pride in recognizing those that rise above and have a positive influence in their community."
MaxPreps picks one female and one male athlete each month to be named the Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month, presented by the United States Marines Corps. Through a comprehensive marketing campaign MaxPreps gives athletes, parents, coaches, and teachers the opportunity to nominate a deserving athlete to be recognized. MaxPreps in partnership with the Marines then selects the most well-rounded athletes that embody the character traits of the United States Marines Corps, such as bravery, dedication, perseverance, and personal sacrifice for others.
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MaxPreps.com, a CBS Sports Digital property, is America's most popular media company devoted exclusively to the coverage of high school sports. MaxPreps publishes comprehensive sports information in collaboration with over 100,000 varsity coaches. MaxPreps team rankings are referenced by media, and used by numerous states to help seed their play-offs. MaxPreps experts provide sports insights, and inspirational stories that reinforce the positive outcomes obtained from participation in high school sports. Founded in 2002 MaxPreps is headquartered in El Dorado Hills, CA.