Two New Trier students are among the 26 Illinois student athletes named to the Illinois High School Association’s 2014 All-State Academic Team.
The 26 students, half girls and half boys, all play at least two sports, have a minimum 3.5 GPA and demonstrate “outstanding citizenship.”
Here are the IHSA bios on the two New Trier students chosen:
For a two-sport athlete like Abbey Boyd – especially one who competes at the highest levels – there has been a lot of pressure to choose one sport over the other. But for Abbey, choosing one was never an option, even when her volleyball coaches told her that it would be tough to keep her spot as a starter on the state runner-up team without playing in the off-season.
But volleyball's off-season is softball's on season, and Abbey knew she needed to be there on the field with her Trevian team. Combining the two is how Abbey finds her strength. "Softball and volleyball require different skills, different mindsets, and different strategies," she says. "They work symbiotically to create a new, stronger being."
Abbey's takeaway in strength is not just physical. She notes, "I have more confidence in my athletic abilities, but more importantly, in my own ideas and beliefs. My experience in high school sports empowers me to voice my opinions." Abby concludes, "The values I've gained from sports – precision, passion, focus, open-mindedness – make me stronger and more prepared for what lies ahead, outside the lines."
Abbey started on the New Trier volleyball team that went 31-4 and took 3rd place at state last fall, and she has seen success in softball, too, as a member of the team that won 4th at state her freshman year. She was named Outstanding Offensive Player on last year's softball squad and she picked up the Central Suburban League Sportsmanship Award in volleyball. She has been named All-Central Suburban League in softball multiple times and she was chosen All-Area in both sports.
Her 4.85 weighted GPA makes her a leader on the academic side, and she is an Illinois State Scholar. She has served with Our Place of New Trier, the New Trier Powerlifting Service Club and the Student Athlete Leadership Program.
New Trier volleyball coach Hannah Hsieh writes, "Though she is considered small for the position she plays, she makes up for it with her incredible athleticism and work ethic." She adds, "Abbey Boyd has balanced the rigors of two varsity sports and all the demands of the long seasons with challenging academic responsibilities. She has made a lasting impression on her teammates and me."
For Matt McCaffrey, being a leader is not about scoring more points or throwing a touchdown pass. It's not about emerging as a star in one sport. Instead, it's about competing in three, about using the combined experience to grow as an athlete and a person and finding the best way to contribute wherever he is.
Matt has competed in football, basketball and baseball all four years at New Trier. Each of his sports is part of who he is overall, each in a different way. After an injury, he had to sit on the sidelines in football, but that taught him to appreciate the fragility of an athletic career. During his junior year on the basketball team, Matt recalls that he was "buried deep on the bench for a team that broke the school records for wins and competed against a Top 10 nationally ranked team in Simeon for a Super-Sectional title." He may have warmed the bench, but he was also able to embrace his role in practice, playing against the starting five and helping them succeed. And in baseball, as the starting third baseman, he enjoyed going "toe-to-toe with defending state champions Oak Park-River Forest in the sectional round."
Each experience was unique, and yet each equally important. The lessons learned from different coaches, different teammates and different situations have paid off, helping Matt emerge as a leader on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Matt won the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Award in baseball for showing hustle, passion and sportsmanship and he will finish at the top of his class with a 4.66 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). With a 34 on his ACT, he is a member of the French National Honor Society, the recipient of citations for excellence in math and history, facilitator of a student-athlete leadership training class at New Trier, and a participant in both the CSL leadership conference and the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation. And he helps tutor other students in math.
"Without a doubt," says Scott Fricke, Matt's basketball coach, "he has been the best leader that I have ever had throughout my 25 years here at New Trier High School."