Stillwater student earns academic all state and other accomplishments

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Senior Ian Hanlon waits patiently for the next play against Centennial in the section championship.

Jayden Leach, Playlist Reporter

Senior Ian Hanlon earned academic all-state honors on December 9 after the 2020 football season. The award is granted to students who have excelled in the classroom, as well as in athletic competition. Hanlon was the only player on Stillwater’s team to win the award.

Hanlon has had an extremely successful 2020 year on the field and in the books. 2020 has led high school students to be extremely stressed. According to Stanford news, 50% of high school students are stressed, and 26% of students say they have anxiety. The struggles of online school and the global pandemic can really take a toll on the action of high school students.

“I stay focused in class and make school the priority. I stay organized and ask for help from teachers and classmates,” Hanlon said.

Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA) promotes an academic award to 18 people to recognize academic achievements in school. The player must have outstanding football and leadership ability, plus academic excellence. Stillwater football team achieved a silver academic award. A silver academic award is awarded to a team that must have a GPA of 3.00-3.25 for the whole official roster.

Throughout the 2020 year, sport teams have faced different challenges that no one has had to deal with before. Hanlon had an incredible football season as he achieved 2020 defensive MVP, Most Improved Defensive Player, and All Metro East. Hanlon was #7 and in seven games, and had 18 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 4 knocked down passes and received a punt return and took it to the redzone for a touchdown.

I am proud of what I was able to accomplish. I’m more proud of the team and everything we did as a whole.”

— senior Ian Hanlon

“I worked out a lot over the offseason and worked on my technique. It helped me to be more comfortable on Friday nights,” Hanlon said.

The Ponies finished their season 4-3. They were able to defeat East Ridge to become Metro East Champions. This was the first time the Ponies beat the Raptors since 2012.

“My favorite part of football is the relationships that are made with other players and coaches, and seeing all the hard work the whole team has put it pay off,” Hanlon said. 

Individuals like Hanlon are selected for this award on the basis of their athletic ability and academic proficiency. With over 85,0000 students participating in high school activities, this award is the most prestigious honor the UHSAA presents to senior students. Hanlon is the 14th player in Ponies’ history to win the award.

Players work hard in the off-season and during the season. The football team had team lifts in the mornings during the summer supervised by fitness trainer Derrick Schmidt.

“His work ethic was top-notch, he showed up all summer for himself and his teammates. He stayed consistent and it showed on the football field. Having his summer teammates around this summer added motivation and competition,” Schmidt said.

The lessons learned in athletics, combined with the knowledge that student-athletes must do well in school to participate, motivates their persistence, and drive for success. Hanlon is planning on going to college next year at the University of Minnesota to study business and psychology.

Looking back on his football career, Hanlon said, “I am proud of what I was able to accomplish. I’m more proud of the team and everything we did as a whole.”