Destiny Andrus and Keith Griffith capped their standout high school athletic careers Tuesday, honored with the Centre Daily Times’ James Snyder Awards at Penns Valley’s sports awards banquet.
“This was a huge surprise,” Griffith said. “I was not expecting it. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to win this award.”
The honor is given to male and female senior letterwinners who demonstrate excellence in the classroom as well as good citizenship in the school and community. It is given in memory of Snyder, a former CDT sports editor, who was killed in an automobile accident in December of 1957.
The past few days have been a whirlwind for Andrus, who just earned three medals at the PIAA Track and Field Championships. She finished seventh in the 100-meter dash and eighth in the 200, and also was a part of a sixth-place result for the 4x100 relay team that broke the school record.
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“It was extremely exciting,” she said of the weekend. “I was a lot more comfortable this year than in past years. The atmosphere of states can’t be described. It’s a really exciting thing. I’ve been there three times and its a new experience every time I go.”
Andrus will attend Penn State this fall and hopes to walk on with the track and field team. She has been keeping the Nittany Lion coaches updated on her times — she holds the school records in both the 100 and 200 and also set the District 6 record in the 200 two weeks ago — and hopes to find out where she stands in the coming weeks.
She also played soccer in the fall, on the varsity in both sports all four years of her high school life, but admits track is her favorite.
“I have a much bigger passion for track,” Andrus said. “I’m more comfortable there. It’s my second home almost.”
Andrus, also a member of Future Farmers of America, plans to study veterinary and biomedical sciences at Penn State.
“I just really have loved animals all my life,” she said. “I want to get into a field where I can help them and spend time with them.”
Griffith ran with the cross-country team the past three years and and track and field team the past two after beginning his high school athletic career in football and baseball. A concussion derailed his football plans.
He finished his cross-country season last fall helping the Rams to the District 6 title, finishing 18th individually, and then placed 89th overall at the PIAA Championships. Penns Valley was 10th as a team.
It was the third year Griffith ran at the state championship meet.
“Every time that I was able to run at the state meet for cross country, it was a new experience,” Griffith said. “Each time I ran the course I knew more, and being able to go with the team was a lot more fun.”
Griffith, the son of Penns Valley Superintendent Brian Griffith, plans to study engineering at Penn State this fall, possibly chemical engineering.
He enjoyed high school, and high school competition, but is excited about the next step in his life.
“Looking back, there’s quite a lot that I have to appreciate,” he said. “The hard work is starting to pay off. I’m looking forward to college and what college brings and moving on from high school.”