Maryn Phillips, a graduate of Sidney High School in May, recently announced her intention to attend Grandview University in Des Moines where she will continue her athletic career as a member of the school’s track and field team.
Phillips said she had a few other options for a college destination, but felt the fit was right at Grandview.
“I just really liked their track coach. He is a really nice guy,” Phillips said after her Cowgirl softball team won 17-3 at Essex on Friday night.
Phillips plays first base for the softball team and, as of this writing, is the Cowgirls’ leader in hits, doubles, RBI, batting average and slugging percentage. She has been a star athlete on all of her teams through high school, with those squads including volleyball, basketball and track.
Despite her athletic dominance, Phillips didn’t go through school assuming that a college career was a goal. Seems hard to believe, but she needed some convincing.
“My dad put it in my head that I have a shot,” Phillips said. “So I am going to try it and see where it leads me.”
When not competing in track and field, Phillips said she plans to study kinesiology and hopes to pursue a career in occupational or physical therapy.
Success academically for Phillips seems to be as certain as her athletic success.
On April 30, Phillips was recognized by Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds for outstanding academic achievement at the 15th Annual Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
The statewide program, sponsored by the Iowa Governor’s Office, Iowa High School Athletic Association, and its title sponsor, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, honored 429 high school seniors from across Iowa.
Iowa high schools were invited to select a senior student with the highest academic ranking, based on grade point average, for their first seven semesters.
Students selected for the award also had the opportunity to recognize their favorite/most influential teacher and to receive a photo plaque commemorating their meeting with the governor and lieutenant governor.
Ninety-nine percent of those recognized were participants in extra-curricular school activities with more than 75 percent participating in at least one interscholastic sport. More than 65 percent of the group plan to continue their education in Iowa.
It might be argued, however, that none of the honorees had the high school journey that Phillips had, one where she began at one school and was reunited with friends of that former high school for her senior year.
Phillips was a student at the former Nishnabotna High School until her sophomore year, after which she made the decision to attend school at Sidney.
That was a tough decision for the standout student and athlete, but she says that didn’t change her feeling about any part of her educational experience.
“I had a lot of good experiences at both schools,” she said.
A year after Phillips left Nishnabotna, the school district was closed, sending a  percentage of its students to continue their education in Sidney.
That certainly had to spark mixed emotions for Phillips. She says she was sad to see the school close, but happy to see her friends. By way of a common experience of having left Nishnabotna, Phillips said her and her friends understand and appreciate each other on a deeper level.
“I am happy that I got spend my senior year with some of my close friends,” Phillips said.
 “We started together and we finished together. That is the most important thing.”