NCHSAA recognizes two student-athletes with prestigious Pat Gainey Student Award

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015-2016 Pat Gainey Student Award, providing scholarship support for two student-athletes with a focus on need-based applicants.

This year’s recipients are Steven Owens of South Stokes High School and Lauren Scism from Crest High School. Each recipient receives a $2,000 scholarship award and a commemorative plaque when they are presented at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting held each May in Chapel Hill.

Scism is a women’s tennis star at Crest High School in Cleveland County. She plans to attend Western Carolina University where she hopes to study nursing and become a Labor and Delivery Nurse.

In her application essay Scism described herself saying, “I have always loved working with children. I just knew that I wanted to work in the pediatric field. I am a very compassionate person and with those qualities I believe I would make a great nurse.”

Her varsity tennis coach, Ronda Champion, said, “Laruen’s understanding of what it takes to be a team player and a leader translate into valuable life skills needed no matter what profession she chooses. Her ability to push herself and to encourage others will serve her well.” Scism was named Player of the Year by all coaches in her conference as a sophomore, leading her team to their first conference championship in women’s tennis in decades the following season. She hopes to be able to continue competing in tennis at the collegiate level.

Steven “Alex” Owens is a soccer and baseball player at South Stokes High School in Stokes County. He and his teammates are credited with a change in reputation for the schools soccer program. During the 2015 season the team did not have a player ejected for the entire season, which was the first time that happened in over five years. His teammates and coaches said that this new reputation the team built over the course of the season “could not have been achieved without the determination of the team and excellent leadership of captains like Alex.”

His head baseball coach Shane Worth said, “As far as sportsmanship is concerned you could not ask for a more respectful young man. In my 18 years of coaching it has been my experience that players like this young man do not come along often.”

Owens is undecided where he will attend college in the fall but he hopes to major in mathematics to give him a wide variety of options for a future career path and further educational possibilities.

The Pat Gainey Student Award is given annually by the NCHSAA through a private donationfrom Pat Gainey’s daughter, Berry Jo Shoen. The Gainey Student Athlete Scholarship Award was established to recognize “Athletic Achievement and Strength of Character.” A scholarship is presented annually to a senior female athlete and a senior, Male baseball player attending NCHSAA member high schools located within counties of limited financial resources.

Pat Gainey was a native of Dunn, N.C. and a phenomenal women’s basketball coach in several different coaching stops during his career. His teams compiled an incredible 93-6 record during his time as the women’s basketball coach at Pamlico where he also fielded outstanding baseball teams. He then moved to Taylorsville where he coached from 1955 to 1964. His women’s basketball teams collectively won five Western North Carolina High School Activities Association titles and at one point recorded 54 consecutive wins and 140 straight conference victories. His overall women’s basketball career mark was 358-57.