Scholar Athletes aced adversity Thingelstad, Goodwin persevered

March 12, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

In one of the most emotional evenings in the 29-year history of the Scholar Athlete Award, Troy Thingelstad of St. Paul's School and Joey Goodwin of South Carroll High were named co-winners of the 1992 Scholar Athlete Award last night at Martin's West.

It marked the first time co-winners have been named for the award, presented by the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Thingelstad and Goodwin each will receive a $4,000 scholarship to the college of their choice.

Thingelstad and Goodwin both overcame childhood adversity to reign above 88 other scholar athletes from the 90 football-playing high schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Goodwin was born with cleft feet and had to wear special shoes until he was in elementary school. He said he remembers being "very slow" in the fourth grade.

But he went on to become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in South Carroll history in addition to starring on the baseball team. This winter, he ranked fourth in the area with a 7.5 assist average for the Cavaliers basketball team.

In the classroom, Goodwin earned a perfect 4.0 in his freshman, sophomore and junior years.

As a senior, Goodwin has dipped to a 3.9 because of a "B" in calculus. He said he plans to attend either George Washington or Virginia Commonwealth on a baseball scholarship.

Thingelstad, who had dyslexia as a youngster, was told in the fourth grade that he was not good enough academically to make it at St. Paul's. But his mother and father, Mary and Tom, persisted and persuaded the school to admit their son in the fifth grade.

Troy Thingelstad took advantage of that persistence to receive one of the most prestigious high school awards for scholarship and athletic ability in the country.

Thingelstad made a decision last fall to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he is expected to be an integral part of the football team and continue his storybook tale in the classroom.

Thingelstad said he never expected to win the award last night and didn't even shave.

"I never thought I'd be going up there [to get the award]," said Thingelstad.

"We believed in Troy," said his mother. "And we went and fought for him and they agreed to admit him in the fifth grade. It was a very natural fit for Troy at St. Paul's. It was a very nurturing school and the teachers and coaches had a lot of time for Troy."

In addition to exceeding all expectations in the classroom to the point where Thingelstad obtained a 3.55 grade-point average last year, he was selected as a first-team All Metro offensive tackle by the Baltimore Sun as a senior.

Thingelstad also played defensive tackle for the Crusaders, kicked off and was "on the field the whole game," according to coach Mitch Tullai.

"We built our team around Troy and a couple of other players," said Tullai. "And we won three straight C Conference titles. He started out as a pudgy little kid who was very intense and became a leader."

But the Thingelstad story in the classroom was enough to bring tears to the eyes of his mother and father.

"Troy's the best," said his father. "He's the champ. We're dumbfounded that he won but we're so proud."

Mary Thingelstad said: "Troy could have wound up in a special education school where his talents might not have come out. Sure, we had the money to send him to a private school, but we were there and going to bat for him to make sure he got the most out of school and athletics."

Thingelstad represented the North region and Goodwin the West region. Four other regional winners were selected: City's Hari Lymon, The Baltimore Sun Offensive Player of the Year, was the Central region winner. South River's Chris Messineo won for the South Region and the East Region was represented by co-winners Derrick Ray of Eastern Vo-Tech and Chris Kloss of North Harford.

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