Calgary grade 12 student excels in sports and academics

“You could put him as a face of Bishop Grandin athletics.”

That’s how Dave Holowaychuk, the high school’s football coach, describes Austen Hartley.

But Hartley isn’t just a star in four different sports — he’s also one of the school’s top academic students.

At 5’10”, 167 pounds, Hartley uses his combination of speed, strength and skill to be a superior competitor in football, basketball, track and field and swimming.

Hartley won the Harry Hood Memorial Award in the 2012 football season. It is presented to the student athlete who best combines football ability, community involvement, school participation and academic achievement. After each of Calgary’s top high school football teams nominated one player, the award was ultimately given to Hartley.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Despite the time commitment of playing four sports, he is also an excellent student and a part of the school community.

School principal Tom Sullivan has high praise for Hartley.

“Everything that he does, he does well. He takes it seriously. He’s humble. He’s a hard worker, and he’s an outstanding role model for our students at Bishop Grandin High School,” Sullivan said.

Athletic achievements

Hartley has taken home a number of awards throughout his time at Bishop Grandin, including male athlete of the year in both grades 10 and 11. However, one of his greatest accomplishments came following this year’s football season.

The Harry Hood Memorial Award is presented to the student athlete who best combines football ability, community involvement, school participation and academic achievement. After each of Calgary’s top high school football teams nominated one player, the award was ultimately given to Hartley.

“It was a pretty big experience,” Hartley said. “I think I’m one of three athletes to ever win the award at Bishop Grandin over the years. It was a pretty big honour.”

Not only has Hartley served as captain of the senior boys basketball and football teams, but he has been academically strong and an active participant in his school community.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Hartley also won the 25-metre breaststroke in both grades 11 and 12, as well as the long jump in Grade 11. He’s served as captain of his junior basketball and football teams in Grade 10. Hartley is currently captain of the senior boys basketball team, and was also captain of Grandin’s senior boys football team this past season.

Holowaychuk has served as Hartley’s football coach for his whole high school career, and has seen the teen evolve not only as an athlete, but as a person.

“He would be your high end. This is the kid you want to aspire to be like in high school.” Holowaychuk said. “Athletically for sure, he’s a smart kid and he’s always involved in the school community.”

Non-athletic involvement

But despite those achievements, academics come before athletics for Hartley.

That commitment has given him an academic average of 87 per cent and 86 per cent in his first two years at Grandin. His academic average is currently 87 per cent, while being enrolled in chemistry, physics and math.

On top of all of that, Hartley is an active participant in the school community. He’s part of the student council, marketing program and water project.

The water project’s goal is to promote awareness about the lack of clean water in third world countries. Hartley designed the T-shirt that will be sold to raise money for the project.

The future

As a result of his academic, athletic and community achievement, Hartley’s future seems to be filled with options.

He recently made the decision to tackle engineering at the University of Calgary.

He’s also received an offer to play football at the University of Calgary and plans to continue his athletic career with the Dinos – focusing his efforts on that sport in particular.

Hartley said that he got a good start in football in Grade 10 that continued into his last years of high school.

“In Grade 12, I got the honour of winning the Harry Hood award, and I kind of realized that football was where my passion was and that’s where I wanted to stay,” he said.

lsilva@cjournal.ca