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Murray County Central's Erickson receives state Triple "A" Award

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jack Erickson is already soaring. The Murray County Central senior plans to attend the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, next year to study aviation in hopes of becoming a commercial pilot. Saturday, he got a big boost toward...

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ZACH HACKER/DAILY GLOBE Murray County Central senior Jack Erickson is presented the Class A State Triple "A" Award Saturday during halftime of the Class AA Boys Basketball State Championship at Target Center in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jack Erickson is already soaring.

The Murray County Central senior plans to attend the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, next year to study aviation in hopes of becoming a commercial pilot. Saturday, he got a big boost toward that education.

Erickson was awarded the Class A State Triple “A” Award Saturday morning during a banquet at the Loews Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Later, he and three other high school seniors -- a girl representing Class A and both a boy and girl from Class AA -- received recognition for their achievement during halftime of the Class AA Boys Basketball State Championship game at Target Center.

“Getting the sub-region and the section award is a big honor in itself,” Erickson said shortly after the halftime ceremony. “It’s awesome to be recognized. Sitting there at the banquet, your jaw drops when you hear all of the stuff that the finalists are involved in. I never thought I didn’t have a chance, but I knew whoever won it was definitely going to deserve it.”

The Triple “A” Award, which was first handed out in 1988, goes to students who have a 3.0 or better GPA and who participate in Minnesota State High School League sponsored athletics and fine arts activities. Each winner of the state award will receive a $1,000, four-year scholarship.

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Erickson’s resume is an impressive one. In the classroom, he currently holds a 4.024 GPA. Anything above 4.0 is only possible if the student excels in both high school classes and advanced, college-level courses. Along with his studies, he competes in speech, knowledge bowl, band and choir. He is also a standout athlete for the Rebels cross country, basketball and track and field teams.

He plans to continue his athletic endeavors in cross country and track and field at the University of Dubuque.

“We are very proud to recognize and honor these student leaders,” said Jody Redman, MSHSL associate director who oversees the Triple “A” program. “The caliber of students and the scope of activities in which they have excelled demonstrates their high values and potential leadership of tomorrow.”

Madison McKeever of Win-E-Mac was the Class A girls award winner. Brainerd’s Matthew Majerle and Maite Marin-Mera of Willmar were honored for Class AA.

The MCC senior knew he had a chance, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t surprised when he heard his name called. There were even a few tense moments leading up to the revealing of the winners at the Triple “A” Awards Banquet.

“They announced all of the finalists and then they said they were going to announce the state winners. That’s when your heart really starts going,” Erickson said. “When I heard my name called I just thought, ‘I don’t believe it.’ It’s something you dream of.”

During the ceremony at Target Center, Erickson and the other state winners were presented with a trophy. The fact he was one of only four students statewide to walk off the court with a trophy was just a small symbol of something he’s always believed. Furthermore, it was proof that he was right.

“At the end of the day, it’s nice to walk out with a medal or a trophy in-hand,” he said. “But this is just proof that hard work is always going to pay off. It may not always be in the way that you’d planned, but if you work hard it will work out in some way.”

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