By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Though the three-sport athlete continues to be a rare breed, a group of 15 who fit that criteria gathered at Anderson Country Club on Wednesday for the 2013 Johnny Wilson Awards.
Anderson High School’s Darien Thompson and Pendleton Heights’ Kurt Talbert were selected as the sixth recipients of the award, named for Anderson native and Indiana Mr. Basketball Johnny Wilson.
“I am pleased to see that there are still athletes who play in multiple sports,” said Wilson, who was a four-sport athlete at Anderson College. “I feel like a lot of basketball coaches encourage their players to just play basketball. They want to be Michael Jordan and there aren’t many of those. It keeps them from playing my favorite sport, which is baseball.”
Thompson is a standout in three sports. She was The Herald Bulletin Soccer Player of the Year, was a sectional champion and state qualifier in track and field and was one of the state’s top 60 senior basketball players this year.
Talbert made the All Herald Bulletin teams in both football and basketball as well as being on sectional championship teams in both sports. He also is the starting center fielder on the PH baseball team, which won the Nick Muller Memorial Tournament this year.
Each of the nominees received a medallion for being selected as their school’s top three-sport athlete. The two overall winners received a glass trophy plus a $500 scholarship.
Thompson is the second Wilson winner from Anderson High School and Talbert is the fourth from Pendleton Heights.
The award and event is co-sponsored by Anderson University, the Madison County Community Foundation and Prairie Farms Dairy.
Wilson’s lifelong friend and former major league pitcher Carl Erskine was on hand to introduce Wilson.
“Johnny should be the poster boy for ACS (Anderson Community Schools),” said Erskine. “He did something very difficult for young people to do, he listened to the right people. He lived a clean lifestyle and did the best with what he was given. It’s good to see so many other athletes in this room who are making the most of their opportunities.”