Two Bobcats honored for academics, athletics
For their play on the football field, Basehor-Linwood High School linemen Justin Ishmael and Dan Renfro earned all-Kaw Valley League postseason honors in each of the past two seasons.
For their work in the classroom, the two seniors earned similar honors recently as they were selected by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association as two of 18 scholar athletes of the year in the Kansas City metro area.
This year marked the sixth year the award has been handed out. Sunday, Feb. 24, the GKCFCA hosted a banquet at the Park Place Hotel in Kansas City to recognize the athletes' accomplishments.
"It was cool to be recognized and included with some of the best players in the area," Ishmael said. "It was a fun banquet and the whole experience was something I'll never forget."
What made it more unforgettable for Ishmael, however, was that BLHS was the only school with more than one student-athlete represented.
"We're considered a little school," Ishmael said. "And it was neat to see that a little school like this have two kids receive the award. Rockhurst didn't have two kids. Olathe South didn't have two kids. I think that kind of proved something about our school."
Only Olathe North, with two, had as many student-athletes represented at the banque as BLHS, and Renfro agreed with Ishmael in saying that was a great statement about the BLHS program.
"I think it shows that we have a great football program on the rise," Renfro said. "But also that we have great academics as well. That was really cool, especially for our size and our class."
Ishmael and Renfro knew before the banquet they were selected for the award, but at the banquet, six of the 18 honorees received a $1,000 scholarship to help fund their college tuition. Renfro was one of those six selected for the scholarship.
"That was real neat for Danny to be able to get that scholarship," Brown said.
Renfro said he was surprised that he was picked for the scholarship. He thought Ishmael would be the one to get it.
"I was the last one called and so I really didn't think I was going to get it," Renfro said. "Then the last school they announced started with a B and I thought for sure Ish' got it. When I heard it was my name, I was pretty excited and pretty surprised. It's a great honor."
Both Ishmael and Renfro said academics have been important to them throughout their lives. They thanked their parents, coaches and teachers for helping them keep their school work a priority.
"My parents made it clear very early on that academics was the top priority," Ishmael said. "You have to have a balance between academics and sports. This award shows that Dan and I are more than just football players."
Maybe so, but the two will continue to play football well into the future. Ishmael has already signed a letter of intent to play at Central Missouri State University and Renfro plans to sign with William Jewell College in the near future.
Both will participate in the GKCFCA Kansas-Missouri all-star game in June.