By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
St. Xavier High School senior Sam Fallon, a member of the Bombers’ swimming and water polo teams, is the recipient of the 2017-18 Joe Quinn Scholar-Athlete Award, which is presented annually to a graduating senior in the Greater Catholic League South Division who best embodies the achievements and characteristics that comprise the ultimate student-athlete. Fallon received the award during a special ceremony at last Friday’s GCL Track & Field Championships at La Salle High School’s Lancer Stadium.
Named in honor of former Cincinnati Post high school sports editor Joe Quinn, the award is the most coveted honor the GCL South hands out each year to a deserving student-athlete. The winner is determined by a points system that considers a combination of a student’s academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular activities, as well as participation in varsity athletics. Each of the four GCL South member schools nominate a student-athlete to represent their school as a finalist. This year’s finalists were Nick Merk, Elder; Griffin Merritt, La Salle; Michael Filipowski, Moeller, and Fallon.
Fallon finished with a maximum 50 points in the academic category based on his achievements, which include a perfect score of 36 on the ACT, a ranking in the top five percent of his class at St. Xavier with a 3.63 grade-point average that earned status as a National Merit semifinalist. Fallon is a three-year varsity member of the Bombers’ prestigious swimming and diving team, along with water polo. He was named All-GCL South and the team’s most improved swimmer his junior season, while earning the team’s scholar-athlete award in water polo this season.
Out of the pool, Fallon is a Bomber Pilot, a member of the Entrepreneurship and Math clubs, a peer and writing center tutor at St. Xavier, and also was a participant in Saturday morning service projects at the school. He plans to attend the University of Notre Dame this fall and major in economics and pre-health. He is still weighing his options in athletics at the intercollegiate level.
Here is a look at the impressive list of finalists:
Nick Merk, Elder – The senior member of the Panthers’ cross country and track and field teams earned a 32 on the ACT, ranks in the top five percent of his class, and is a member of the National Honor Society. During his three-year varsity running career, Merk was named a team captain and team MVP in cross country, where he was twice named All-GCL South., Merk serves as a student ambassador at Elder, is a member of the school’s Liturgy Committee, is a peer tutor, Kairos Retreat leader, a yearbook contributor, and a Polar Panther.
Merc will be attending Xavier University this fall, where he intends to major in English and secondary education. He was invited to run cross country and track, but he is choosing to focus solely on his academic pursuits.
Griffin Merritt, La Salle – The senior two-sport star in football and baseball earned a 31 on the ACT, ranks in the five percent of his class, and is a National Honor Society member. Merritt had an outstanding athletic career for the Lancers, who won Division II state football championships during his sophomore and junior seasons at quarterback in 2015 and 2016. He was twice named All-GCL South, was named a team captain and received the Lancer Award. He also earned All-GCL South recognition in baseball, where he too was voted a team captain.
Merritt was involved in a number of extracurricular activities at La Salle, serving as a student ambassador, a member of the Sports Ministry Captains, Spanish and Frisbee-Golf clubs. Merritt plans to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall, where he will play baseball for the Bearcats. He intends to major in biology and ultimately attend dental school.
Michael Filipowski, Moeller – The senior member of the Crusaders’ football team earned a 32 on the ACT, is ranked in the upper five percent of his class with a GPA above 3.5, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Filipowski played two years of varsity football, earning second team All-GCL South accolades this past season where he was named a Man of Moeller and team captain. Off the field, Filipowski is a National Honor Society vice president, a member of the Finance and Latin clubs, serves as a Kairos Retreat leader, and is on the school’s admissions team.
Filipowski has been accepted into The Ohio State University Honors Program. He will attend OSU this fall and major in neuroscience.