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Norwalk, St. Paul student-athletes honored for hard work, dedication

Cary Ashby • May 19, 2018 at 8:00 AM

The recipients of the annual citizenship athlete awards from the Norwalk Rotary Club said it honors the hard work, dedication and many hours the students contribute to their academics, teams and community.

The Norwalk High School recipients are seniors Bethany Cring and Jacob Roth. Honored from St. Paul High School are seniors Joey Catalano and Meghan Hedrick.

“I think it’s great the Rotary recognizes these kids for their efforts,” said Hedrick’s father, David. “They put so much time into everything they do.”

“I think it’s just really special,” said Cring, who has been in the NHS Teen Leadership Corps (TLC) for two years.

The daughter of Scott and Kathy also has been involved in student council, National Honor Society, Dance Marathon, orchestra and was a member of the homecoming court. She has been on the honor roll and principal’s list all four years in addition to receiving four academic letters.

As a member of TLC, Cring has tutored second-graders at Pleasant Elementary and taught English as a second language to League Elementary students. 

“I’ve always had a heart for kids. That classroom experience has made me want to teach,” said Cring, who will study middle childhood education at North Central State College.

She also visits with Carriage House residents with TLC; Cring brings one of the women mysteries to read.

“She has a good relationship with them,” her mother said. “She’s always had a servant’s heart.”

As an athlete, Cring said she prefers running, but enjoys the “team atmosphere” in basketball. She has been a member of the NHS girls’ basketball, cross country, golf and track teams, having earned a combined 14 letters.

“We’re all like sisters,” she added, referring to the basketball team.

Roth has been a member of the NHS National Honor Society, TLC, First United Methodist Church in Norwalk and volunteered at Pleasant and When Pigs Fly. In addition to earning four academic letters, he has been on the honor roll and principal’s list all four years and maintained a 4.1 GPA.

The son of Martin and Jackie said what he appreciates about the Norwalk Rotary award is it recognizes both his academic and athletic achievements. 

In basketball, Roth was a two-year captain, three-year letterman and earned Sandusky Bay Conference recognition this season. A four-year letterman in baseball, he earned first-team, all Northern Ohio League and second-team District 9 honors his junior year. 

Of all the sports, Roth said he prefers baseball because he grew up playing it and developed relationships with “neighborhood kids” on the diamond. The short stop said the position “feels like home.”

Roth will major in finance at the University of Mount Union, where he will play baseball for the Purple Raiders. He said he “just fell in love” with the campus, team and academic program.

At St. Paul, Catalano was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and participated in mock trial. He also served as an altar server for four years, a Mass coordinator his junior and senior years and this year was a Eucharistic minister.

Catalano earned first-team Firelands Conference kicker honors and lettered in football all four years. In his senior year with the Flyers, he was named all-league first team at three positions — defensive back, kicker and punter. As a kicker, he set five school records, including hitting all 77 extra points this season.

In track, Catalano lettered all four years and has been a standout sprinter. He also earned first-team, all-academic FC honors each season.

At Notre Dame College, the son of Tony and Geneva will continue his punting and kicking career. He will major in business and law, with plans to be a corporate lawyer.

“It’s a small school, so it’s not a big transition from St. Paul,” Catalano said, noting it’s “a small campus in a big city (with) all the options.”

Catalano’s father said he’s pleased with the progress his son has shown.

“I know he’s going to go very far,” he added. “All the values we’ve instilled in him since childhood we’re seeing emerging.”

Hedrick said he is “so humbled” that the Norwalk Rotarians selected her. 

“It’s awesome,” added the daughter of David and Lisa.

Hedrick serves as president of the St. Paul student council. Also she has participated in Make a Difference Day, Red Cross Club, Student Ambassadors, mock trial, Writing Club, Youth Elect Service, March for Life, youth group and Junior Project Leadership. Hedrick received the Leadership by Example award her sophomore year and won the ACE Academic Award four times.

In addition, she has served as a Eucharistic minister and sings in the folk group.

As a Lady Flyer, Hedrick earned 11 letters, including four years in volleyball and track plus three years in swimming. She was a two-time, all Ohio volleyball player, two-time state qualifier in track and earned all-academic, first-team FC honors all four years.

“I enjoy being active in general,” said Hedrick, who admitted her sports preference varies with each season.

At Ball State University, she has a scholarship for cross country and track. Her major will be exercise science. She said everything clicked when she visited the Muncie, Ind. campus.

“I like to help people find a passion for being active,” added Hedrick, who is the St. Paul salutatorian.

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