The Circle City Conference is introducing a new award that will be given out each season (fall, winter and spring) to an athlete that embodies what the Circle City Conference stands for both on and off the field. As a conference, we strive to grow not just on the field but off the field as a person and in the classroom. That is at the core of what the Circle City Conference and all six schools are about. Each school’s award winner represents these values that are important to the schools and conferences. It is someone who goes above and beyond what is asked of them not just on the field but in the classroom and the community at large.
Here are your award winners:
Bailey Freese – Guerin Catholic
Ben Brandenburg – Roncalli
Eimy Lozano-Fuentes – Heritage Christian
Kade Jelen – Covenant Christian
Max Bourgeois – Bishop Chatard
Rowan Pearl – Brebeuf Jesuit
These athletes are all juniors who have shown leadership in the community and set an example in the classroom. They will also help lead the Circle City Conference Sportsmanship Summit the following year to pass along these values and sportsmanship to more athletes across all of the schools in the conference.
Bailey Freese has been awarded Academic All-State as well as being an honorable mention 3A All-State runner. She finished second on a team that had the best finish in the program history and has been a leader for the team. One teammate said, “Bailey is always a positive person who builds close relationships to those around her while always supporting her teammates.”
When asked what it means to be selected for this award Freese stated “I’m grateful that my coaches and teachers would consider me for this award, and I’m happy to know that they feel like I’ve made a positive impact at school.” She went on to add that the entire team is very close and do a great job keeping a positive culture, “I think we’ve been a good example for other teams at our school and in our conference by being competitive while still having fun and building strong relationships”
Ben Brandenburg has been described by coaches and staff as a spirited and dedicated young man who is a great ambassador for our school community. He has been a leader on the football field but also off of it, putting an emphasis on expanding those relationships and showing loyalty to each other every day not just on the field but in the classroom and hallways around the school.
Brandenburg stated “It is an honor to be recognized by others as someone of such high character, and I thank everyone for helping me in building my character in many positive ways” when asked about being selected for the award. Going on to talk about one key is being able to grow in his faith life and relationships with others that embody the spirit of Roncalli and being something, everyone can rally around.
Eimy Lozano-Fuentes is a high-performing student with a focus on bettering her team. She has been described as a hard worker both on and off the field pushing her teammates to work together and perform their best, playing both hard but fair. When asked to describe Lozano-Fuentes, a teammate stated “A key to living the “We are Third” phrase we use at Heritage Christian is putting others and god above you and she embodies this. She is a great leader and always trying to help her us out while also staying humble.”
When discussing what this award means, Lozano-Fuentes stated “It really is an honor to be chosen from many other great students and athletes within my school. I cannot take credit for the way that I am as it is for God and through His works, that I am the person He has made me to be. I would like to say that I try my best daily to live in a Christ manner and symbolizes His great character through me. So truly I am honored to have received this award, but it is really another testimony to the work that the Lord has done in my life and the work He can and will do in others.” She also stated that she would like to thank their trainers who “are truly amazing and I would not have been able to stay 100 percent in it if it wasn’t for them.”
Kade Jelen has been described as a truly selfless leader who sets an example by consistently showing the characteristics Covenant Christian and the Circle City Conference find so important. When asked one coach stated, “Kade is truly selfless, she loves the Lord and loves others incredibly well, she is caring, kind, intentional, competitive and has the desire to get better in every aspect of her life both on and off the court.”
Not only do the coaching staff find her leadership valuable, but Jelen also has an immense impact on the underclassmen on the team. Setting an example for them to follow, which continues to pass along sportsmanship and the values she holds important. One of the underclassmen in the small group Jelen leads said “Kade is so powerful she embodies Christ so well and is someone we all look up to Kade is kind to everyone and pushes herself and those around her to be the best they can be.”
Max Bourgeois was a 3A First Team All-State runner. Bourgeois is a leader by example working extremely hard and setting a standard of work ethic for his entire team. One coach stated “During this past XC Season, Max missed the entire regular season to a foot injury. Max worked extremely hard and spent long hours maintaining his fitness through cross-training. All the while, he continued to support the team and remained a great teammate. Because of Max’s strength of character during his injury, he was able to rejoin the team for the State tournament and contribute to the team’s success and ultimately his individual success at the state meet.” The team is smaller in size compared to other fall sports so Bourgeois states that they have to work extra hard for their impact to be shown.
When asked about what winning the award means Bourgeois stated, “It truly is an honor and I am very thankful for the consideration of all the staff members that have helped me achieve this. I am grateful for the opportunities that my school has provided for me to be even considered for this award.” One thing he focuses on is being very inclusive of everyone no matter how talented they may be, Bourgeois said “We make sure that everyone who joins (our team) feels welcomed and a part of our team and community”
Rowan Pearl is a 3-year starter on defense for the Brebeuf Jesuit girl’s soccer team. This season she received the following accolades; an Indiana Soccer Coaches Association (ISCA) 3rd Team All-State, 1st Team All-District (ISCA), Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association 1st Team All-State, All-Conference, All-Marion County Honorable Mention, Academic All-State (ISCA). Not only does she thrive on the field, but off the field as well. Pearl carries a 3.98 GPA while being an All-State athlete.
Pearl is a well-rounded athlete, but also is a positive member of the community. She volunteers at two food pantries in her free time showing a dedication to helping to improve those lives around her and setting an example for her teammates. Pearl annually participates in the Riley Dance Marathon and Special Olympics as well as being a member of the Pre-Med club. One member of the school stated, “Pearl exemplifies being a well-rounded member of our community while going above and beyond to be a ‘women for others’ something we strive for here at Brebeuf.”
The Circle City Conference and all six of these schools put an emphasis on growth of the entire person not just on the athletic side but academically, spiritually, and in the community. When asked how being a member of the conference has helped them grow as a person Bourgeois stated “The Circle City Conference allows me to have those connections that I might just not have if I wasn’t in the conference. Whether this is the other athletes, coaches, and even volunteers that all make this conference great, they truly help me grow and become a better person both on and off the field.” Freese added “The Circle City Conference and Guerin both have such supportive communities, and that’s made me more confident in my leadership beyond running. I think that it’s been especially helpful in my transition to running this year because I’ve felt more comfortable making important decisions and trying new things.”
All six of these athletes have had an incredibly positive impact on those around them and the Circle City Conference is honored to give them this award for embodying what separates the conference from other conferences around the country. Congratulations to all six of these athletes on this incredible accomplishment.