The Top Of His Game

Thursdays during the football season are traditionally long days for members of the Jamestown High School football team. There are academic classes, followed immediately by practice, followed immediately by their weekly team dinner.

By the time early evening rolls around – and about the time dessert is served – the players are having a good time, and Coach Tom Langworthy and his staff can finally take a deep breath, fresh in the knowledge that their preparation is over and the game plan is complete.

Kickoff is 24 hours away.

Last fall, however, senior Zachary Eklum brought a new element to Thursday nights.

”I’d look over,” said a still-amazed Langworthy the other day, ”and Zach’s got his books out, studying.”

  • ? ?

The Frank Hyde Memorial Scholarship requires that applicants provide the following information: address, date of birth, college and career plans, etc.; sports accomplishments, both team and individual; extra-curricular activities, both in out and out of school; a scholastic record; and three letters of recommendation.

Zach, much like he did during team dinners last fall, came prepared, and this spring submitted quite a resume to the scholarship committee. It was so good, in fact, that he has been chosen the recipient of the 29th annual award, which is given in honor of the former Post-Journal sports editor.

The $1,000 scholarship, which was presented to Zach last night during graduation ceremonies at Chautauqua Institution, is awarded to the outstanding college-bound athlete from the newspaper’s circulation area, which covers Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren counties.

”There is no doubt in my mind that Zach Eklum would be a worthy recipient of the Frank Hyde Memorial Scholarship,” Langworthy said.

Zach’s accomplishments confirm that. In the classroom, in athletics and in the community, he has always been at the top of his figurative game.

Some of his more notable achievements include: 2013 Section 6 qualifier and Class AA champion in varsity wrestling; 2012 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association singles champion in varsity tennis; recipient of WIVB Channel 4’s February 2013 scholar-athlete award; recipient of the Fessenden, Laumer and DeAngelo scholar-athlete of the week and scholar-athlete of the fall awards; recipient of the JHS student-athlete of the week award; a nomination for the National High School Coaches Association March athlete of the month award; and the 2013 Section 6 New York Athletic Administrators Association student-athlete scholar.

Although he played just one year of varsity football, Zach was honored numerous times for his success in the classroom and on the gridiron. The highlights include: the 2012 Red Raider Unsung Hero award; Business First’s academic first team, which honors the top 25 seniors in the eight WNY counties; the New York state student scholar-athlete of the year; and the all-Western New York scholar-athlete award.

”That’s just what you come to expect,” Langworthy said. ” … He’s done a fantastic job balancing all the different priorities in his life. That says a lot about him and his family. They definitely raised a great kid.”

In the classroom, Zach, the JHS valedictorian, received numerous honors, including: the AP scholar with distinction; JHS student of the month, as a freshman and as a junior; Jamestown Community College’s College Connections student of the year; American Legion Boys State delegate; the Harry E. Kline Excellence in Chemistry award; the University of Rochester Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science award; and a nomination to attend a National Youth Leadership Forum on medicine.

Zach’s community service activities are also impressive, highlighted by more than 100 volunteer hours to the following: Wounded American Soldier benefit for Johnny Stanz; St. John’s Italian Festival; the American Diabetes Association; the National Heart Association; the Blind Association; Read Across America; Hands on Jamestown; Jamestown elementary school fun fairs; and Ring Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Association.

”This young man has been able to excel in athletics and academics while still giving back to his school and his community,” said state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-C-I-Chautauqua County, in his letter of recommendation. ”As class president and a key contributor to many other activities at school, he demonstrated not only leadership but caring for his school and classmates. It is especially commendable that this busy and committed scholar-athlete found countless hours to volunteer and give back to his community through many worthy organizations.”

  • ? ?

Zach plans to attend SUNY Fredonia to study biology/chemistry, and subsequently attend SUNY Upstate Medical University to become a medical doctor where he has already been accepted into its rural medicine program.

”His future is bright,” wrote JHS principal Dr. Mike McElrath in his letter of recommendation. ”He is certainly deserving of this award and would be a fine addition among those who have been recognized before.”

Past winners of the Hyde Scholarship are: 1985, Steve Penhollow, Cassadaga Valley; 1986, Rich Crane, Sherman; 1987, Nancy Dornsife, Randolph; 1988, Mary Mansfield, Pine Valley; 1989, Jackson Rohm, Southwestern; 1990, Pam Crowell, Pine Valley; 1991, Cory Emory, Sherman; 1992, Ken Davenport, Falconer; 1993, Jennifer Tate, Falconer; 1994, Justin Johnson, Jamestown; 1995, Andy McMaster, Jamestown; 1996, Patrick Swanson, Sherman; 1997, Adam Beckerink, Frewsburg; 1998, Matthew Baideme, Westfield; 1999, Leigh Baumgart, Falconer; 2000, Craig Swanson, Jamestown; 2001, Trevor Cable, Frewsburg; 2002, Kathy Baum, Ripley; 2003, Ashley Kulju, Maple Grove; 2004, Rob Prinzi, Jamestown; 2005, Matt Mazgaj, Southwestern; 2006, Natalie Thorpe, Southwestern; 2007, Michael McGinnis, Falconer; 2008, Nicole Frederickson, Jamestown; 2009, Jennifer Andrews, Randolph; 2010, Mallory Deuink, Clymer; 2011, Joey Campion, Jamestown; and 2012, Shannon Murphy, Falconer.