From The Post and
Mail, Thursday, December 15, 2005:
CCHS soccer girls combine brains
with athletic skills
By Jenica Schultz, Staff Writer
Columbia City High School girls' varsity soccer team's strengths went
beyond the field this year. The team did so well academically that three
of the athletes did something no one at CCHS has ever done before.
Seniors Stephanie Smith, Kendra Reimer
(ed. note: Granddaughter of Brice & Shirley Zink (1957) Reimer) and
Sherri Hoppe placed on the 2005 National Soccer Coaches Association
of America/Adidas Girls High School All-America Team, an academic honor in
girls' soccer. Only four Indiana athletes made the team, which is composed
of 35 students nationwide.
On Dec. 5, CCHS academic success was the lead
headline on the NSCAA Web site. CCHS had more students achieve the
honor this year than any other school in the United States. (emphasis
“They have brought honor to Columbia City High
School, and we're just awfully proud of them,” said girls' soccer coach
Bill Duffy, a biology teacher at CCHS.
The athletes needed above a 3.75 cumulative grade
point average on a four-point scale to qualify for the honor. A committee
evaluated students' excellence in soccer, academic performance and
community involvement. Duffy said many soccer coaches are lucky to place
one student on the Girls High School All-America Team in a career, but he
has three in one year.
“We have been blessed to have the opportunity to
have these girls on our team,” Duffy said. “These are girls who could have
excelled at any sport they tried.”
For the past three years, the soccer team has done
especially well academically, qualifying for the NSCAA High School Team
Academic Award this year for the third time. The team academic award
requires an overall team cumulative GPA of 3.25. This year the 18 girls on
the soccer team had a combined GPA of 3.61. Duffy credits part of the
team's academic success to Hoppe, Smith and Reimer. The team started
winning the award after the girls joined the team.
“We never qualified for that until these seniors
showed up. "People have come to take it for granted because these
kids make it look easy,” Duffy said.
He said continuing to earn the team award was going
to be a challenge he hopes future classes are able to meet.
“That's a pretty special award because everybody's
part of it,” he said.
Smith, Reimer and Hoppe also excelled on the soccer
field. Smith, a defender, and Reimer, a forward, both made all-state,
all-district and all-conference two times. Hoppe, a defender, had to skip
the 2005 season due to an injury but made all-state and all-conference as
a junior. Reimer tied for second place at CCHS on the all-time goal
scoring list with 2000 graduate Katie Stroup. Both scored 57 goals.
The girls' soccer team had a 9-5-3 record this year.
They lost in sectional semifinals to Homestead High School, 3-0.
“He wants us all to come back as fifth-year seniors,
but that can't happen,” Hoppe said.
Duffy said the girls put all of their energy and
effort into soccer while on the field, then studied on the bus on the way
to and from each game.
“These are kids who have affected every activity
they've come in contact with,” he said. “This is a remarkable group of
young girls who are going to succeed at whatever they do.”
Smith said a lot of the girls on the team had the
same classes and studied together.
CCHS Principal Steve Doepker said the girls'
achievement is indicative of a larger pattern at the school, where
athletes are achieving highly academically.
“If you look at the data we've been keeping the last
four years ... if you look at the athletes, they've had a higher GPA than
the rest of the student body,” Doepker said.
Assistant principal James Huth said the three young
women were a good example for the rest of the school, as they are
academically, physically and socially sound.
“I'm always telling kids they have to be the
complete package. These kids are,” he said.
The girls will be honored at the NSCAA All-America
Luncheon, part of the 2006 NSCAA Convention, Jan. 21 in Philadelphia.