Feb. 21, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Despite running cross country and indoor track and field for the University of Notre Dame in 2012-13, freshman Michael Clevenger is still picking up honors from his impressive high school senior campaign, as the Decatur, Ill., native has earned three prestigious awards from Illinois organizations over the last several months.
Most recently Clevenger was named the 2012 Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (ITCCCA) Male Athlete of the Year.
As a senior he won Class AA state track and field titles in the 3,200m run (9:18.01) and in the 1,600m run (4:18.55). Earlier in the season at the Arcadia, California Invitational, Clevenger ran an Illinois best time of 8:54.12 in the 3,200m. That mark ranked fifth in the country for high school. He finished out his season by winning the inaugural Midwest Distance Classic in the mile run with a time of 4:09.01. In that race he went through the 1,600m mark in 4:07.55. That time was an Illinois best for 2012 and was eighth in the country for high school runners. Clevenger won the Class AA State cross country 5K title with a time of 14:26. He went on to be Illinois' best finisher by placing third in the Footlocker Regional and placed 25th, as Illinois' best finisher at the Footlocker national meet.
Clevenger's second award was presented to him in September as he was named the Division 5 winner of the 2011-12 Do What's Right! Sportsperson of the Year award. The award was presented by the Illinois High School Association and given to seven individuals, one for each of the seven districts.
Applicants were judged by a committee of IHSA staff members based on letters of recommendation highlighting their leadership skills and sportsmanship, participation in sports and activities, academic performance, application essays and overall involvement in their school and community.
Each winner received a plaque and a $500 dollar scholarship, along with being honored at an IHSA State Final tournament of their choice during the 2012-13 school year. The Sportsperson of the Year awards encompass an individual's entire high school career, thus, all seven winners were seniors in 2011-12.
Clevenger's bio included the following blurb:
Michael Clevenger, DECATUR (MACARTHUR HIGH SCHOOL)
Involvement: Boys Track & Field, Boys Cross Country, Boys Soccer, National Honor Society, Macon County Teen Court
Michael on Sportsmanship: "Competitors respect the time and dedication the members of their teams have put into the sport. This unspoken connection creates a bond that is above trash talk and foul play."
MacArthur Cross Country coach Angelo Rinchiuso on Michael: "Michael is an asset to the community and the country. He meets all challenges with a mix of talent, intelligence and unrelenting work ethic."
The final award presented to Clevenger was an academic award, as he was one of only 26 student-athletes to be recognized as an Illinois High School Academic All-State recipient.
Clevenger competed in two cross country meets for the Irish in 2012, highlighted by an 11th place showing out of 276 runners at the National Catholic Championship. During the indoor season, Clevenger scored points for the Irish at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship in the 3,000m (6th) and as the final leg of the distance medley relay squad (7th).
The Irish return to action next weekend when they welcome in elite competitors from around the country for the Alex Wilson Invitational March 1-2.