Samuel Prakel and Zoe Alaniz really know how to maximize a weekend, but that's because they already know how to do a lot during the week.
Prakel of Versailles, Ohio, and Alaniz of Ray (Corpus Christi, Texas), won Wendy's High School Heisman Award, which honors high school seniors who excel in sports, academics and community involvement.
Alaniz, a state record-setting diver and four-time class valedictorian, was presented her award Friday in New York. Prakel, his school's National Honor Society president and an Eagle Scout, had to participate by video conference because he was in San Diego, preparing for Saturday's Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where he finished 33th among the boys runners.
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"It's been a wild ride," Prakel said. "It's been one of the best weekends of my life. The best part was all the friends I made. Winning the Wendy's Heisman award motivated me a little more for the race."
While both athletes were successful on the field, their real accomplishment may be time management. Alaniz sponsors a child in Togo through Compassion International and tutors middle school students in algebra. Prakel, when he wasn't competing in cross country, track or swimming, designed and built a permanent structure so his school's band wouldn't need to use a rickety scaffold for the band director.
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"For me, sports definitely teaches discipline," Alaniz said. "It takes a lot of hard work to get to where you want to get to. I'm a very motivated person setting goals. That's something you can apply to academics."
"I feel the same way about sports and time management," Prakel said. "It is definitely important to make sure you have time to study. Having that balance is important."
Alaniz is hoping to go into pediatric oncology while Prakel is considering studying chemical engineering or biology.