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Cory Presnick the epitome of scholar-athlete


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000

At one time, the generally accepted stereotype was that athletes could run, jump, throw and catch. They had speed, finesse and ability that only a few possess.

What they weren't supposed to have were brains.

Fortunately, that label doesn't apply to many, particularly to 10 area high school seniors whose performance in the classroom and on the playing field exemplified the term scholar-athlete.

From state champions to members of teams participating in state competition, Citrus and Hernando counties were widely represented by athletes who also excelled in the classroom. None more so than Citrus High's Cory Presnick.

His exploits on the cross county circuit and in track and field are known statewide, including his undefeated cross country season that led to a Class 2A state title this season.

But Presnick understood there was more to life than running, and he realized early that to achieve what he wanted in life it would take more than just athletic ability.

His parents, Tom and Debra, made sure of that.

"From day one they told me to get good grades and it will pay off," Presnick has said. "They were always helping me along, and even though I've become independent, I still value my grades a lot."

Presnick is among 24 student-athletes statewide selected for the Florida High School Activities Association's Academic All-State Team. Each received $500.

The 12 male and 12 female athletes were chosen from a field of 224 nominees from the FHSAA's 543 member schools.

Presnick also is the Times All-Citrus/Hernando Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

"To be recognized not just as an athlete, but for my grades, is great," Presnick said after winning the FHSAA award. "I take pride in my grades as much as my athletics."

He was not alone.

Nearly 150 students from Central, Citrus, Hernando, Lecanto and Springstead high schools managed to juggle sports and books -- earning at least a 3.0 average -- many while playing multiple sports.

Ten of those students stand out above the crowd and have been named to the Times All-Hernando/Citrus Scholar-Athlete Team for excellence on and off the field. In addition to Presnick, they are Phil Davis, David Logue, Jeff LaVere, Melissa Kenney, Chris Caraynoff, Mike Holtje, Jennifer Pape, Jeanine Vulpis and Katye Altieri.

"So many of our kids have not only excelled on the playing field, but in the classroom as well and we think that's great," Citrus athletic director Vicki Overman said.

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