Jared Hurd and Hailee Wingard were both honored with the prestigious James H. Snyder Award at Penns Valley Area High School on Thursday night.
The award, sponsored by the Centre Daily Times, is given to male and female senior letterwinners who excel in the classroom and in athletics — while also serving as good citizens in the school and community. The award is given in memory of Snyder, a former CDT sports editor, who was killed in an automobile crash in December of 1957.
Both Hurd and Wingard knew they were in the running for the award, but neither expected it Thursday night.
“I really wanted to win it,” Hurd said, “because I see how prestigious and honorable it was.”
Added Wingard: “It was a little bit of a surprise. ... This is a really big accomplishment for me, and I’m glad all that work on and off the field really paid off.”
Wingard was a midfielder on the girls’ soccer team for four season and spent two years on track and field, before deciding to solely focus on soccer in the offseason. With all her after-school activities, it’d be difficult to focus on much more.
The Penns Valley senior was involved in the National Honor Society, French Club, Varsity Club and Girl Scouts. She earned both the Bronze and Silver awards in the Girl Scouts and was heavily involved in the club, spending a three-week trip in London and Switzerland to visit their two World Centers there.
She also graduated with a 3.97 GPA — and finished seventh in her class — while lamenting, “I just got my first B ever.”
Wingard will attend Penn State (University Park), where she hopes to pursue a career in the genetic counseling field. She also plans to play intramural soccer there.
“I’d say my biggest achievement is being a part of the girls’ soccer team at Penns Valley and the friends it brought and our increased winning seasons each year,” she said.
For Hurd, many of his athletic accomplishments speak for themselves. The senior Ram earned the District 6 wrestling crown in the Class 2A 145-pound weight class, and he finished seventh in the 300 hurdles at the District 6 Class 2A track & field championships. On top of that, Hurd also played football and led the team with 44 catches for 495 yards and five touchdowns.
“The athletic achievement I’m most proud of is in wrestling,” he added. “Not only winning the District 6 title but also entering the century club with 100-plus wins. I finished my career with 113.”
The soon-to-be grad had a leadership title in most of the clubs he joined. He’s the treasurer for both Varsity Club and Football Club, he’s an Eagle Scout, and he’s a member of the student council. Hurd also boasts a GPA between a 3.94 and 3.95 — “Hailee has me slightly,” he said with a laugh — and finished just outside the top 10 of his class.
Hurd will attend Grove City College for mechanical engineering, and he plans to continue his football career there.
“I definitely think I came a long way through my Penns Valley career,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s one thing that can capture all I’ve done, but I’m glad I had the experience.”