HCHS athletes win inaugural Triple Threat Awards

Published 5:50 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

LEXINGTON — In an effort to continue the national emphasis and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s own efforts to de-emphasize sports specialization in the athletic culture, the Association recently launched the “Triple Threat Award” program to recognize those students who participate in high school athletics year round.

The award, which is given to student-athletes who participate in a KHSAA sport or sport-activity on the varsity level during each season of the academic year (fall/winters/spring), have been presented to a total of 1,814 student-athletes for 2017-18.

The first ever “Triple Threat Award” recipients for Harlan County High School were:

Matthew Simpson: Baseball outfielder; soccer goalie; and basketball forward.

Michael Simpson: Baseball outfielder; soccer defender; and basketball forward.

Abby Vitatoe: Track pole vaulter; cross country runner; and basketball guard.

Ally Alred: Cheerleader; tennis; and cross country runner;

Emily Long: Softball catcher; basketball post position; and volleyball outside hitter.

Baili Boggs: Cheerleader (flyer); track hurdles and sprints; and cross country runner.

Vitatoe said that being a three-sport athlete “is very challenging, but it is very enjoyable to be a part of each team.”

Boggs agrees “it is very challenging. It keeps me in shape and healthy.”

Long noted that “it has been an incredible challenge” to compete in three sports, “but it has been well worth it. Through all the travel, sacrifice and practice, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’m forever thankful that I’ve been blessed with great parents who allowed me to do it all these years.”

Michael Simpson added that “it has been a challenge to keep my 4.0 grade point average, but I have.”

The awards are based solely on each member school’s rosters that were submitted through the KHSAA’s online system, as that is the only permitted determinant for athletic eligibility (including team eligibility).

A spokesman for the KHSAA said the staff and Board of Control are proud to issue these first-time awards and look forward to continuing the program in the future to emphasize the values of participation and the now-documented likely negative aspects of sports specialization.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) also contributed to the story.