Lincoln Pius X High School graduate Austin Jablonski was honored May 31 as the 27th recipient of the Lincoln Downtown Athletic Club’s prestigious John P. Perkins Memorial Award. The trophy and $1,500 scholarship were presented at an awards luncheon at The Nebraska Club at the top of U.S. Bank, 12th and M streets.
The Perkins award, established in 1993, honors a senior student-athlete from a Lincoln high school for academic and athletic achievement and leadership qualities that namesake John Perkins fostered in the Lincoln community. Jablonski is the third Perkins Award honoree from Pius X in the past five years, joining Maddie Simon (2015) and Regan Taubenheim (2017). Two other finalists from the 13 total nominees, Caden McCormack and Emma Kauf, both from Lincoln Southwest, each received $1,000 scholarships.
About the finalists
Austin Jablonski, a three-sport standout, earned 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and track including honorable mention all-state in football and basketball. He has committed to the University of Nebraska as a preferred walk-on in football. He was also academic all-state in all three sports and a member of the National Honor Society.
Caden McCormack earned 11 varsity letters at Lincoln Southwest – four each in football and basketball, three in track. A standout defender in football, he set school records last fall for career tackles, as well as single-season and career records for most assisted tackles. The first team Super State selection in 2018 will attend the University of Nebraska and play football.
Emma Kauf also enjoyed a record-setting career at Lincoln Southwest, setting a half-dozen state softball records while leading LSW (39-5) to its first Nebraska Class A state softball championship since 2009. She set the state all-class single season record for runs scored (81); the Class A single-season record for home runs (22); state all-class career record for home runs (59), runs batted in (214), and runs scored (236), and set the state Class A career record for batting average (.535). A three-sport athlete at Lincoln Southwest, Kauf will enroll this fall at Georgia Tech, where she will play softball and major in biology/veterinary studies.
Other nominees for this year’s John P. Perkins Memorial Award were:
Lincoln Christian – Trent Lockard and Caleb Canfield; Lincoln North Star – Rourke Jensen; Lincoln Southwest – Jaden Ferguson; Lincoln Southeast – Cassie Nash; Lincoln High – Darius Luff; Lincoln East – Connor Vandewege; and Lincoln Lutheran – Josie Puelz, Cayden Bergt and Grace Soenksen.
Also announced at the luncheon were winners of the Byron L. Boslau Memorial Awards in honor of Boslau’s contributions to the Special Olympics and YMCA. Winning $1,000 scholarships were McKenzie Steiner of Lincoln Southwest as the Special Olympics Unified Partner of the Year, and Lincoln East’s Alex Petty for the YMCA Character Counts Award.
McKenzie Steiner was a multi-sport athlete at Lincoln Southwest who contributed to several state championship team titles. Steiner, also a talented musician, will enroll at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall and major in elementary and special education.
Alex Petty set four school swimming records during his high school career at Lincoln East and participated in 22 different YMCA youth sports programs. Scoring a perfect 36 on his ACT, he will enroll at Harvard University this fall and compete in swimming for the Ivy League school.
LDAC President Jay Perkins made the presentation to Jablonski, McCormack and Kauf, while Barb Bettin, president and CEO of the YMCA, and Mark Walz, president and CEO of Farmers Mutual Insurance, presented the Boslau awards to Petty and Steiner, respectively.
University of Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos was the guest speaker for the LDAC annual awards luncheon.
Moos talked to the honorees about the importance of building a foundation and setting the stage for the rest of their lives, and he credited them for their obvious success and preparation to this point. He also gave appropriate credit to the parents for their roles, encouraging multi-sports over specialization.
The Lincoln Downtown Athletic Club has roughly 80 members and invites anyone interested in attending their weekly luncheon/speaker meetings to join.
U.S. Bank and Farmers Mutual Insurance provided the financial support for scholarships.