Durant's Shaun Young lost out on valedictorian honors but achieved his goal of a state tennis title. Oh, and he wound up salutatorian, too.
By EMILY NIPPS
Published June 13, 2004
For four years, Shaun Young had his eye on Christine Crumbley. The two had labs together, study groups, saw each other in the halls at Durant. They exchanged phone numbers and had each other's screen names on their computers so they could send each other messages.
The relationship seemed innocent enough. But Young knew the moment he turned his back, Crumbley would do whatever it took to claw her way past him.
Sure enough, when Young turned his attention to his quest for a state tennis title this year, Crumbley took an online Advanced Placement Art History class.
The two were neck-and-neck at the top of their class but that was no longer the case after Crumbley took the online class. She passed Young as valedictorian with a 7.00 weighted GPA and Young had to settle for salutatorian at 6.52.
"He actually said it wasn't a big deal," said Crumbley, who will attend Florida State. "He said, "I really don't care, because I wanted to be a state tennis champion this year more than I wanted to be top in the class, and I won a championship.' "
"It was more or less a decision I had to make," said Young, who will attend Florida. "I could have taken extra classes to catch up, but in order to achieve what I wanted in tennis, something had to give.
"I figured if she wants it that bad that she'd take an online art history class, she can have it."
Young's shoulder-shrugging wasn't fooling anyone, though. Anyone who knows Young knows he lives to be No. 1, and nothing less.
"He's the most intense person you will ever meet," Young's father, Mike, said. "He's intense to the point where if he's competing, there's no threshold of of pain. I've seen he compete until he literally can't move."
Mike Young called Shaun the most intense of his four children, which is saying quite a bit. The family, of Chinese descent, lives for competition, nurtured since the children were tykes. The three boys, Mike (22), Joe (20) and Shaun (18), all have martial arts black belts after starting as 3-year-olds. The youngest, daughter Alyssa (16), is working on getting her black belt soon.
All of the children play tennis, but Shaun shows the most promise after winning a state singles championship as a junior and a doubles championship (with partner Brian Walsh) this season. He also played for a second state singles title this past season, but lost in the final.
Shaun earned a Bright Futures scholarship, and will play tennis for the Gators. Beyond college, he hopes to break into mechanical or electrical engineering.
In the meantime, though, he'll be working on his little sister, Alyssa. His older brothers finished No. 7 and 8 in their classes, Young finished second, and they still have a shot at having a valedictorian in the family.
Alyssa, a junior, is currently top in her class.
"Now that we know about the online classes," Shaun said, "she's hopefully going to finish No. 1."
BOYS ALL-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY ACADEMIC TEAM
Honorees were selected from a Times survey of athletic directors and principals mailed to all county high schools. Athletic and scholarship were considered equally in selections. GPAs are unweighted.
ARNALDO ABREU, ROBINSON
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS: Class valedictorian, 1320 SAT
ACTIVITIES: Senior class president and co-captain on basketball team
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS: Averaged nearly 20 points a game and signed a basketball scholarship to Florida Southern.
KEVIN HUG, JESUIT
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS: National merit commended student, Florida Academic Scholar, 1350 SAT
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS: District champion 100 freestyle, medley relay, 400 free relay, eighth-place at state in the 100 backstroke, most outstanding Jesuit swimmer last three years, helped lead Tigers to district championship four years. Will attend Brown.
CHRIS SEDLAK, BLOOMINGDALE
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS: National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Honor Court, 1160 SAT
ACTIVITIES: Leo Club, Crimewatch
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS: 2003 NSCAA All-American, 3-time all-state selection, 2003 Florida Class 4A Player of the Year, Times Hillsborough County 2002 Player of the Year, U.S. under-20 national team pool selection, U.S. regional team selection, signed scholarship with American University.
CHRISTOPHER ALLEN SMITH, SICKLES
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS: Ranked seventh in class of 490, president's award for outstanding academic achievement 2003-04, mathematics letterman four years, Florida Academic Scholar.
ACTIVITIES: All-state chorus, vice-president Mu Alpha Theta, treasurer Tri-M Honor Society, National Honor Society.
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS: Qualified for state three years. Team captain. Smith couldn't participate in contact sports because he is a hemophiliac. Will attend N.C. State.
CHRIS SWAUGER, JESUIT
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS: National merit commended student, Florida academic scholar, 1500 SAT
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENTS: Times first-team all-county selection. Batted .500 with 29 RBI, helping lead team to Class 3A state semifinal. Signed a baseball/academic scholarship to the Citadel.