She’s the one.
Recent Batavia graduate Audrey Faulhaber had every reason to be “just shocked” upon receiving the take-your-breath-away news that she’s been named the 2014 Female AAU High School Sullivan Award winner.
It came via phone call months after the setter and three-year varsity player for coach Lori Trippi-Payne’s volleyball team had been one of thousands of athletes from across the country to apply for the Amateur Athletic Union’s prestigious award.
For Faulhaber and male winner Nathan Sherfey of Chehalis, Washington, it comes with a $10,000 scholarship.
“I’ve been a part of AAU since freshman year [playing club volleyball],” Faulhaber said. “I saw information about it on their website and applied. I had no idea. I’m so happy. Last year, there were 3,500 applicants.”
Winners are selected from applicants who demonstrate athletic ability, leadership skills, a diversity in their activities and service, sportsmanship and strength of character, not only in their sport but in their community.
Faulhaber, obviously, earned high marks in all of the above.
A straight A student throughout high school with a 4.25 GPA, she also has strong athletic credentials. She set the school single-season record for assists as a junior with 715 then topped it her senior season with 745 for the 20-17 Bulldogs. That came after a club season in which her team placed ninth in the 17 Club Gold Bracket at last year’s AAU nationals.
Even more eyecatching, no doubt, was the community service work she turned in for the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry.
“I’ve been volunteering there since freshman year,” Faulhaber said. “During the summer they don’t get as many donations. It’s a very hard time of the year and I wanted to do something to help.”
She got the OK from Trippi-Payne and organized the program’s players for an event last summer called Athletes Against Hunger.
“We broke into teams of three and delivered paper and plastic bags to people around town, requesting food donations to be put out at a specified date and we went back and picked them up and delivered them to the food pantry,” she said.
The project netted 1,200 much-needed food items.
Faulhaber has plans to expand the project this year and has recruited the school’s tennis and soccer programs as well.
The athletes will deliver the bags by July 12 and pick them up on July 19th.
“Audrey has been an outstanding volleyball player in our program as well as an excellent student,” said Trippi-Payne.
She will attend St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, Minn., to major in pre-medicine and mathematics and continue her volleyball career for the Division III program.
“I’m hoping to got into neurology,” she said. “We had a program at school exploring medical careers where we got to shadow people on the job at the hospital and that really confirmed it for me.”