Schmidt joins select company as winner of Gatorade Prep Athlete Scholarship
Sixteen-ounce bottles of Gatorade might be items housed in the refrigerator of Storm Lake High School athlete Stacy Schmidt for a long time to come, as the maker of one of the best-known sports drinks in America has given Schmidt one of the most prestigious scholarships in the nation.
Schmidt, a senior at Storm Lake High this past year, was one of 50 prep athletes from across the United States selected to receive a Gatorade High School Athlete Scholarship, a $5,000 award that will also add $1,000 to the SLHS athletic department. Schmidt was nominated for the scholarship by Tornadoes head softball coach Jason Stoltzfus, and said she was thrilled to be the recipient of the national honor.
"I was very surprised," Schmidt said. "I wasn't really expecting it at all, so I was pretty excited when I opened the letter that they sent me and saw what it was."
The addition of the Gatorade Scholarship onto her resume capped off a stellar high school athletic career for Schmidt, who was a captain of the Tornadoes softball, track and volleyball teams this past season. Schmidt was a member of the first-team All-Lakes Conference squad this summer, and was a third-team All-State selection as a junior. She also qualified for the state track meet the past three years and was a member of the All-Conference track team each of the past three springs.
In addition to the plaques and certificates she has received from sports, Schmidt said her participation in athletics has also given her less tangible benefits that will help her for the rest of her life.
"Being in sports has really helped me a lot with things like time management and teamwork," Schmidt said. "They've challenged me quite a bit too, and I think I've been able to grow a lot because of that."
Many of those challenges have come in the form of injuries, as Schmidt has had to overcome several physical setbacks during the past four years to achieve her athletic goals. That list of injuries includes a pulled quadriceps muscle that sidelined her for her entire freshman year of track, and various minor leg injuries also hampered her performances throughout her track career.
Those injuries did not affect her leadership skills, however, one of the key elements Gatorade officials looked for when deciding who to present scholarships to. Schmidt said she has worked hard on those skills, and said she has attempted to lead by example in all of her athletic endeavors.
"I'm not real vocal," Schmidt said. "I've just always tried to work hard in practice and set a good example by playing hard too."
A strong academic record was also a necessity for Gatorade winners, and Schmidt's accomplishments in the athletic arena did not hinder her performance in the classroom at SLHS. The daughter of Keith and Marcia Schmidt maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school, and was a leader in the school's chapter of National Honor Society and Key Club.
"I've worked hard on academics," Schmidt said. "That's always been my top priority, because that is really what is going to help me later in life."
Schmidt has also been able to balance her interest in athletics with other high school activities. A member of the SLHS band, choir and jazz band, Schmidt showcased her ability to meet challenges with the jazz band this year, as she learned how to play the difficult instrument of bass guitar in order to help the ensemble fill that need. The hard work paid off, as Schmidt and the Tornadoes were able to participate in the State Jazz Festival in Des Moines.
Schmidt will continue her athletic career at Doane College in Crete, Neb., where she will run on the Tigers track team. She will also be studying biology and pre-physical therapy at the school.
Schmidt said she will take fond memories from her four years wearing green and white, and said she has thoroughly enjoyed her SLHS experience.
"It's been a lot of fun," Schmidt said. "I've really had a good time as a Tornado."