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Dudley, John clinch state Triple ‘A’ titles

William Dudley of Worthington, left, and Dillon John of Adrian both won state Triple ‘A’ awards and hefty college scholarships. Submitted Photo

WORTHINGTON — Southwest Minnesota cornered the 2014 market on male recipients of the prestigious Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) statewide Triple “A” award.

William Dudley, representing Worthington High School (WHS) and Region 2AA, and Dillon John, representing Adrian High School (AHS) and Region 3A, attended the 26th annual Academics, Arts & Athletics 2014 awards banquet Saturday at the Graves 601 hotel in Minneapolis and were delighted to walk away from the event as state-level winners (in Class AA and Class A, respectively) and the recipients of $4,000 college scholarships.

Female recipients were Taylor Kraemer of Osakis High School (Class A) and Shaelyn Sorensen of Tartan High School (Class AA).

“It’s really an honor to represent the Minnesota State High School League and the Triple ‘A’ award,” said Dudley. “There were so many worthy candidates that to be selected is very humbling.”

John concurred.

“I was surprised to be the recipient because, at that level, you have some impressive kids who are all well-balanced with athletics, arts and academics,” John said. “I am definitely very honored to be the Class A representative for this award, and I told Will that we represent Nobles County well.”

The Triple “A” awards, which are sponsored by the MSHSL, recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in a trio of areas: academically, athletically and in the fine arts.

Dudley and John learned in late January of their selections as regional Triple “A” recipients (for Region 2AA and Region 3A, respectively).

Dudley’s activities range from orchestra, choir (he was an alternate for the Minnesota All-State Choir) and piano to football, basketball and track (he achieved a fourth-place finish as a pole vaulter in the 2013 Minnesota Class AA track meet). In addition, he is at the top of his WHS Class of 2014 academically.

Similarly, John is a high academic achiever (his GPA exceeds 4.0) who has excelled in band (as a baritone saxophonist), choir, one-act play, speech, football and track and field. He leads the AHS Student Council and calls that experience “a big part of school for me.”

In all, 32 students (one boy and one girl from each Class AA and Class A administrative region in the state) attended the Saturday banquet and were recognized at center court of the Target Center at half time of the Class AA championship boys’ basketball game.

“It was a really, really cool experience,” said Dudley of the day. “The banquet was very nice and we were treated like royalty. Being on the basketball floor was a very cool experience as well.

“As my mom said, ‘You didn’t get here with the basketball team but you did make it here as a Triple ‘A’ recipient.’”

Another significant honor has also recently come Dudley’s way; earlier in March he was chosen as the Minnesota nominee for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association scholarship. In just over a week, he will learn whether or not he will advance as a finalist for the national designation.

Since the MSHSL initiated the Triple “A” Award program in 1989, John is the first student from AHS to ever be selected as a statewide Triple “A” Award recipient. Dudley is only the fourth WHS student to be even a regional recipient, and just the second to receive the statewide honor to date; his older brother, Quentin, was the inaugural WHS honoree in 2007.

“I have to thank our parents for doing a great job of raising us both,” Dudley commented. “He [Quentin] set the bar high and I matched him.

“When my brother heard the news, he said, ‘Congratulations, little buddy,’ and that he was proud.”

John, the son of Jim and Shelley John of Lismore, has yet to decide whether he will attend the University of South Dakota at Vermillion to study pre-law or the South Dakota School of Mines to pursue an engineering degree; either way, he will take with him a $4,000 Triple “A” scholarship.

Dudley, meanwhile, will apply his Triple “A” scholarship to his study of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the son of Steve and Lori Dudley, Worthington.

“Between my parents and my grandparents, they’ve supported me all the way in everything I do,” attested John. “Another group that’s had a lot of impact on my life are my teachers and coaches.

“Without their support and preparation, there’s no way I would have ever been the recipient of this,” John added. “Between Will and I, it’s a good representation of the many opportunities the schools in this area offer for students to excel in different areas.”