As much as Juneau-Douglas High School graduate (2013) Jackson Lehnhart has accomplished on the soccer pitch, his latest honor speaks to the hard work he put in off the field.
Lehnhart has been selected to the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) High School Scholar All-America Team.
“Obviously it is a huge honor,” Lehnhart said. “Not that many people get named for that. It is awesome to be seen as a person who balanced athletics and academics.”
The honor was announced the beginning of July and Lehnhart will be recognized at an awards brunch at the Marriott Orlando World Resort on Saturday, Aug. 3. The event honors high school All-America and Scholar All-America players as well as the various players and coaches of the year from the states that compete in winter and spring high school seasons.
Performing at a high level athletically and getting good grades are accomplishments, in and of themselves, that any student could be proud of.
Mastering both takes discipline.
“It is definitely a balance that you have to get use to,” Lehnhart said. “It is just a matter of managing your time. Most people are capable of doing it, it is just a mindset that you have to have when you go into it.”
Over 200 attendees are expected for the brunch and awards ceremony. A graduation style presentation of the award winners will follow the brunch. The brunch is held in conjunction with the NSCAA Summer Soccer Symposium, Aug. 1-3, in Orlando, Fla. The symposium features coaching clinics, educational sessions and booths and exhibits from over 50 companies involved with soccer products and services.
The NSCAA is the world’s largest soccer coaches association and recognizes outstanding performance on the field and in the classroom for boys’ and girls’ high school soccer following their senior year.
Lehnhart set both the career goals (60) and assists (39) records for the Crimson Bears soccer team, the season goal mark (33), was a member of state soccer championship teams as a freshman and sophomore, was an all-state tourney selection his junior and senior seasons and helped the JDHS soccer team win the Sportsmanship and Academic (3rd time) Awards at this years tournament. Lehnhart was a centerfielder on the 2012 state championship baseball team and helped the Crimson Bears take third place at the tournament this year.
Lehnhart was selected the Alaska Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year this season and was a nominee for the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. He also started for the JDHS basketball team. And he maintained top grades (3.99 GPA) through high school.
Lehnhart said there were times he questioned whether the long hours of juggling sport and study were worth it.
“Absolutely,” Lehnhart said. “When I would come home late at night after multiple practices and have to sit down and do homework. It is something you are willing to make a sacrifice for just because you love to do those things so much. I also think that my teammates and my classmates, my coaches and teachers and my parents were responsible for my dedication as well. This is obviously more than just a one-person honor.”
Lehnhart said his advice to younger students is to stay on top of grades early.
“The first couple of years are where you really hurt yourself if you are not on top of it,” Lehnhart said. “Once you get the first number of years done, you start to get the system and you get a lot better at it. Have the mindset of not just getting good grades, but to learn and become a more adept person. In life it may not always be about the test scores, it will be about being able to communicate and knowing what you are talking about.”
Lehnhart will be attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. The school is Division III and does not have athletic scholarships. Lehnhart received financial aid due to his grades. Lehnhart also will play soccer for the Lord Jeffs.
“The mascot name is quite unfortunate as one of my best friends is named Jeff,” Lehnhart said. “He is loving that.”
While working out this summer to pass his college soccer physical Lehnhart is helping run the 20th annual Thunder Mountain “Wee” Soccer Camp for ages 5-7.
The camp begins on Monday. Instructors also include former JDHS players Carly and Taylor Lehnhart and other guest soccer players. The camp is held at Thunder Mountain High School or the Downtown Turf. Soccer Camp two is July 22-29 for ages 7-13 and will be on the TMHS Field. Space is available for either camp. Interested parties should contact the Juneau Parks & Recreation at 586-5226 for registration information.