Next fall, three Scottsburg High School student-athletes will bring the Warrior Way of good sportsmanship and of a strong work ethic to the collegiate level in running, basketball, and bowling.
“We’re not just a basketball school,” said Jamie Lowry, SHS athletic director. “These signings show the diversity in Scottsburg’s athletics.”
For the last four years, these student-athletes — Alex May, Paige Barrett, and Dustin Yocum — have demonstrated good sportsmanship and put in countless hours in their respective sports to become better. May not only shakes the hands of his opponents, but he cheers for them, provides them tips on how to improve, and even helps with their shoes if they need it. Barrett volunteers off the court with the Scott County Youth Grantmaking Council, doing service projects to help others in her community. Yocum is in the front row of the cheer block, showing his school spirit at all the games.
“I’m impressed with these young adults. They are examples of that Warrior Way,” Lowry said. “I hope that sets the standard and others will want to be like these kids.”
“The standard for Scottsburg athletes, I have tried to obtain for the last four years. That is the Warrior Way,” May said. “I want to be remembered as always going out of my way for others.”
In fifth grade, Alex May began running, and he has not stopped since that first elementary track and field day.
“Winning a couple events during track and field day sparked my interest in running. It eventually created a fire,” May said.
The next year at Scottsburg Middle School, May joined the cross-country team after connecting with Coach Greg Hammons.
“He took an interest in me,” May said. “After my first couple of races, I figured out it was what I wanted to do.”
During middle school, May met Kristopher Sandlin, a senior who broke a SHS cross-country record for fastest time in 2012. Sandlin later went on to run for Franklin College’s cross-country team.
“It had to be the hair,” May said with a laugh. “He was around and talked to me about my races. He told me what I had to do. [...] During breaks from Franklin, he would run with me or he’d give me workouts.”
Through years of mentoring and pushing himself to do better, May went to semi-state three out of the four years he was a member of the cross-country team at SHS. He went from 105th his freshman year at semi-state to 30th this year, his senior year. His improvements over the years were noticed by Hanover College, where he signed a letter of intent recently to run on the cross-country team.
“I wasn’t going to run in college. I had no intentions of running beyond high school,” May said. “The semi-state race made me realize I was going to miss it.”
May received an academic scholarship for $15,000 per year and two other scholarships that will reduce his education costs by at least $8,000 per year. Along with the scholarships, May will be coached by Brady Wells, one of Hanover College’s top five, all-time record holders in the men’s 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs. While at Hanover, Wells qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Track Championship, where he placed 13th overall. Wells is also a former Scott County School District 2 teacher and coach.
“I am hoping they can push me past my comfort level,” May said. “I want to become not just a better runner, but become better as a person.”
While other classmates were playing on the swings and on the jungle gym, Paige Barrett was on the basketball court with her male classmates during recess at Johnson Elementary School.
“I got along with the boys. It was the only thing the boys played, so I played,” Barrett said.
The boys were not her only influence toward the game of basketball. Barrett’s older sister, Taylor, was also playing basketball. Watching her sister play made Barrett want to play too, so Barrett picked up a ball and was soon began playing basketball with her sister and sister’s friends.
“It kept me doing something. I liked the competition,” Barrett said.
The years of playing since those rudimentary days of elementary school basketball have paid off for Barrett — she signed a letter of intent to a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I school, Murray State University in Murray, Ky.
“My parents told me I had to get a scholarship,” said Barrett, who will be one of three children in her household in college at the same time in the fall. “I never believed I would able to do that [play Division I basketball].”
During the school year, Barrett spends three to four hours per day working on her basketball game with dribbling, shooting, and other drills. In the summer, she treats basketball as a full-time job, spending eight hours per day on her game. She also plays for Indiana Flight South, an elite Blue Star Travel Program, to continue growing as a player.
“Everyone supporting me has driven me to become better,” Barrett said. “[Basketball] relieves a lot of stress for me.”
At 5 foot 9 inches, Barrett holds several records as a SHS Warriorette and playing varsity basketball for four years. She reached 1,000 points in her career, is one of two people to have more than 400 points and 200 rebounds in a single season for at least two seasons, and had multiple 40-point games. She also was All-Conference the last two seasons, a recipient of the Rick Mount Mental Attitude Award, Warriorette MVP the past two years, and The Courier-Journal Athlete of the Week.
“I just want to get better,” Barrett said.
Dustin Yocum was destined for bowling. His family has been involved in the sport after his grandfather became a professional bowler in the 1960s and later bought Scottsburg Lanes.
“When I was 1-years-old, I picked up a ball,” Yocum said. “At 4-years-old, I was able to throw it myself. When I was seven, I was able to develop a hook.”
Even though he was a member of the bowling team since his eighth-grade year as a junior varsity player, Yocum did not devote all his focus and his passion to the sport until his junior year of high school.
“I’ve played my whole life. I have competed since I was three- or four-years-old. My papaw and my dad have coached me since,” Yocum said. “It’s my family tradition. It’s what we have always done.”
For the last nine months, Yocum spent every day practicing and bowling. During this time, he worked two to three hours per day running drills, bowling, and competing. He spent time in the gym doing weight lifting and running. He had to build endurance in his legs to stand during all 10 frames and keep up the mental toughness through the whole game.
“It’s a really big mental game,” Yocum said.
His passion and drive to become a better bowler has paid off — he had 12 different schools interested in him with four scholarship offers, he said. He learned that NCAA Division I schools, like Indiana University and the University of Louisville, offered club bowling but no scholarships. Whereas, at NAIA schools, they offered scholarships for their bowling student-athletes and bowling was classified as a team sport for these colleges.
“The private schools are good,” Yocum said. “I had a lot of great offers.”
After looking at the programs and taking campus visits, Yocum signed a letter of intent to continue bowling in college at Huntington University in Huntington, Ind. He received scholarships in academics and athletics, helping reduce his college expenses. Yocum said Huntington ranked 26th in the nation for men’s bowling.
“Huntington treated me like family when I go there. I am very high in my beliefs, and Huntington is part of that sentiment,” Yocum said.
By signing a letter of intent with Huntington, Yocum is the first SHS student to compete in collegiate bowling.
“It’s kind of cool being the first one ever to compete in college for bowling. It’s something special,” Yocum said.
At Scott County School District 2, May's, Barrett's, and Yocum's story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.