MCHS athletes awarded for performance in, out of classroom |

MCHS athletes awarded for performance in, out of classroom

Joshua Gordon

Charlie Griffiths, left, receives the Moffat County High School male athlete of the year award from MCHS principal Thom Schnellinger on Tuesday in the school's auditorium. Griffiths and the MCHS female athlete of the year, Nike Cleverly, were presented the awards based on their athletic and academic performances.
Ben McCanna

As a three-time state placer in wrestling, Charlie Griffiths could have forgotten about academics to better concentrate on his future athletic career.

However, Griffiths, a Moffat County High School senior, will graduate today with a 3.66 grade point average and enroll in the University of Wyoming in the fall.

The combination of Griffiths' athletic and academic success earned him the 2011 MCHS male athlete of the year award.

"All the hard work I have put in over the years, it is finally getting recognized," Griffiths said. "It is hard for athletes to balance their sports and their homework, but I made sure I went to class and I got my work done."

Griffiths received the award Tuesday from MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger.

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Along with competing on the wrestling team, Griffiths also swam for the boys swimming team, qualifying for state all four years, and ran cross-country his first three years of high school.

Griffiths said the aim of playing other sports was to benefit him in wrestling.

"The other two sports I competed in were used as cross-training for wrestling," he said. "Wrestling is what I was best at and what I focused on the most."

Over four years, Griffiths was never pinned and set a new school record with 173 wins in wrestling. A Colorado state record for career wins may also belong to Griffiths later this year.

The 173 wins were submitted to the Colorado High School Activities Association, and if no other wrestler finished their career with more wins this season, Griffiths will have beaten the current record of 164 wins.

Griffiths said when he heads to Wyoming in the fall, he will study petroleum engineering and walk on to the wrestling team.

"Sports were a big part of my life (in high school) and I would not have been able to do it without my parents, my coaches or my teachers," he said. "They were all a big part in helping me achieve everything I did."

Fellow senior Nike Cleverly was named the female athlete of the year.

"I put in extra time to participate in varsity sports and care about my grades," Cleverly said. "Someone took notice, and it feels great to receive this award."

Cleverly qualified for state all four years she competed on the cross-country team, the past two seasons on the golf team, and her freshman year as part of the 4-by-800-meter relay team.

As a member of the girls varsity basketball team, Cleverly also played in three state playoff tournaments.

Today, Cleverly will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA and as a co-valedictorian of her class.

"I grew up with sports as a hobby, but my mom made it clear I had to have good grades to continue to play sports," she said. "I enjoy sports more than academics, but being part of athletics pushed me to become a better student."

Cleverly will attend Utah State University this fall and study architecture.

As for sports, Cleverly said they may go back to being a hobby.

"I've thought about walking on some of the teams," she said. "But, I will be content competing in intramural sports. It won't be a lifestyle or job for me."

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