This summer has been different from what Maize graduate McKenzie Hartzog is used to experiencing.
Usually she spent her summer playing club volleyball and traveling to such destinations as Miami, Reno and Atlanta.
This summer, she’s preparing for college, and even getting some quality time at the pool.
“I have my summer workouts, and they’re pushing me to my limits,” said Hartzog, who will play at Cowley College. “And I’m just being a kid.”
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Thursday night she was named the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission’s female high school athlete of the year.
“It’s an honor because there’s so many great female athletes in the area,” Hartzog said. “To be in the final three was just an honor. To go on and win it, it meant so much to me.”
Florida’s Mike Zunino won the Johnny Bench Award, presented by BaseballSavings.com. The award is given to the nation’s top college catcher. Zunino also was a nominee in 2011.
Zunino, who the Seattle Mariners took with the No. 3 pick in the Major League Baseball Draft earlier this month, was recently named the college player of the year by Baseball America.
“Being able to hear Tommy Lasorda and Johnny Bench speak, and winning such a prestigious award, especially from a catcher’s standpoint, just means a lot to me,” Zunino said.
“… I’m just happy this year I could have the opportunity to be back here and just blessed with the opportunity to win.”
Zunino led Florida to the College World Series, hitting 19 home runs with 67 RBIs and a .322 batting average.
Hartzog was a worthy choice as the female high school athlete of the year. She played volleyball, basketball and soccer at Maize and was named All-Metro in volleyball as a senior and was a two-time All-Metro soccer selection.
She also participated in 10 straight state tournaments, starting with advancing to the 6A soccer semifinals as a freshman. Her teams’ top finishes were three third places in soccer, third place in basketball and a second-place finish in volleyball.
To reach such a high level took dedication all year, but especially in the summer. She usually played volleyball and basketball in the summer, going from one practice or event to another. By the time volleyball nationals ended in July, she felt like her summer was finished.
Yet she continued to play three sports.
“After my freshman year, I had a good idea I wanted to play volleyball (in college),” Hartzog said. “I couldn’t just quit (the other sports). All that hard work I put in. I love all the sports and I’ll miss basketball and soccer after I go on.
“I didn’t want to let my teammates down… I didn’t want to let my parents down because I know they loved to watch me play, no matter what sport it was. They’d travel the world for me. And I did it for myself because I knew I’d have fun and make memories and make more teammates.”
Johnny Bench Award, presented by BaseballSavings.com: Mike Zunino, Florida
Barry Sanders high school male athlete of the year: Perry Ellis, Heights
Lynette Woodard high school female athlete of the year: McKenzie Hartzog, Maize
Boys high school coaches of the year: Joe Auer, Heights and John Cherne, Kapaun
Girls high school coaches of the year: Kip Pulliam, Heights and Marvin Estes, Kapaun
College male athlete of the year: Garrett Stutz, Wichita State
College female athlete of the year: Audacia Moore, Wichita State
Professional athlete of the year: Matt Summers, Thunder
Gene Stephenson coach of the year: Kevin McClelland, Thunder
Special awards: Georgia Wiggins, Newman bowling