Hayden High School seniors Robert Bohrn and Frankie Valencia, members of the Lobo football team, were honored by the National Football Foundation – Valley of the Sun Chapter at the 37th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet, which took place on Saturday, Mar. 24, at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort & Villas.
“The awards that were presented on Saturday are a very big honor for Robert and Frankie, their parents and families, the Hayden Community, and Hayden High School,” Hayden head coach John Estrada told the Copper Basin News. “Our football team takes pride in ‘classroom first’ then football. We are not just athletes, we are scholar athletes.”
Bohrn, a 1A All-Conference selection, was named to NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter & Fiesta Bowl Charities First Team. He was one of 60 Scholar Athletes honored representing more than 250,000 high school football players from 186 high schools in central and northern Arizona. The winners were selected based on the combined criteria of 40% academics, 40% football accomplishments and 20% school and community citizenship and participation.
“It means a lot,” Bohrn answered when asked what the award means to him. “Especially from people outside of the school to recognize what we have accomplished on the field as well as ion the classroom.
Valencia, a 1A East Region First Team selection, was the recipient of the Frances Kush Memorial – “Dedicated Student Athlete Award.” The award was presented by the Fiesta Bowl in memory of the wife of legendary Arizona State University head coach Frank Kush.
According to a released statement, Fran was there to remind Coach that although football was a good measure of physical skills, its true value was in teaching young people the benefits of hard work and dedication. She believed that the athletes should be encouraged to translate these sound work ethics into their classroom situations.
“It means the world to me,” Valencia said about being chosen for the award. “All throughout high school I have praised my teammates and looked up to the upper classmen. It feels good to receive some praise myself. Hopefully, those I’ve looked up to understand that they are responsible for getting me here.”
Estrada attributed the success of both players to their upbringing at home, support from their parents and families, their excellent work ethic, commitment to be the best, and intelligence. Both players were asked what advice they would give other Hayden student-athletes who aspire to reach the level of excellence they have.
“You can practice as much as you want and be the best player on the team but without grades, you aren’t going to be on the field on Friday nights,” Bohrn answered.
Added Valencia: “You need a reason to go out and torture yourself on that field. The best reason to have is to be competitive with your own team, push each other, and eventually you’ll all grow.”
Bohrn, Valencia, and 2017 AzNFF Scholar Athlete Ryan Donovan have set the bar high at Hayden, according to Estrada.
“My expectations for my younger student-athletes are to continue the trend,” he said. “Hard work will get you places.”