Symmes Valley senior Kyle Gilmore finalist for prep Heisman

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

AID - Jay Berwanger was the first person to win a Heisman Trophy. Kyle Gilmore is the first from his area to get a Heisman award of his own.

The Symmes Valley High School senior has been selected as one of two Ohio students among the finalists in the six regions vying for the national Wendy's High School Heisman.

Wendy's will announce the national finalists on Friday.

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"It's just exciting. I never really thought I was going to make it this far," Gilmore said.

Students entering their senior year who have at least a "B" grade average and participate in at least one of the 32 sports officially sanctioned by the National Federation of State High Schools are eligible.

But athletic ability is a small part of the selection process. Students are judged based on their academic achievements, community service involvement, as well as athletic accomplishments.

Principals, guidance counselors, and coaches from every high school across the United States are asked to nominate one male and one female athlete who best exemplify the program criteria.

Gilmore has been a four-year starter in baseball and batted .490 last season. He's also a three-year starter in basketball and average 13 points a game as a junior. But beyond the athletic arena, the senior has some impressive accomplishments.

His 4.0 grade point average ranks him first in a class of 78 students. He is the student body president, four-year class treasurer, Beta Club vice-president, works as a volunteer with the youth group at Mamre Baptist Church, spends time caroling, and participates in the "Clothes for Kids" drive, blood drives, food drives and visits nursing homes.

"I'm just proud of keeping a close walk with God, not having anything bad happen, and being able to step up and make decisions for school," Gilmore said. "Being honored for this award is the highlight of my senior year. It's been exciting all through high school. I had lots of friends and close family help me."

Helping Kyle has been his parents, Steve and Marieda Gilmore. Mom said the family found out just two weeks ago that Kyle was a finalist.

"We were just really excited. No one at Symmes Valley has ever gone so far," Marieda Gilmore said. "This is quite an honor for him. We're real proud of him."

"It's quite an accomplishment," Steve Gilmore said. "We're definitely proud of him for not only being a finalist and winning in Ohio, but everything he does likes grades, sports and extracurricular activities."

Vikings baseball coach John Patterson said Kyle was a perfect choice for the award.

"He's a well-rounded student," Patterson said. "People ask me about him, and you can't pinpoint one thing. He's just one step above everyone else. He's not just grades and sports. I just can't say enough about him."

Gilmore is looking to major in computer science and has narrowed his college choices to Ohio University, Ohio State, Marshall and the University of Rio Grande. He offered some advice to other students.

"Be involved in as many activities and get as much out of high school as you can," Kyle said.

Missing school has never been an option for Gilmore. He has never missed a day of school, including the day he broke his arm but returned to attend half the day.

"Enjoy the time you have in high school. It really is one of the highlights of your life," Kyle said.

The Wendy's High School Heisman Award program profiling all the finalists will air on Fox Sports Dec. 13 and 26.