Sometimes, the youngest turn out to be the wisest.
Here are four lessons I learned from athletes this week:
1. I will never forget the story my American News teammate Deb Smith shared about standout pole vaulter Ariana Arampatzis in the Sunday newspaper.
The 17-year-old Arampatzis was preparing for her junior school year at Aberdeen Central last year when her grandfather, Dwayne Sonny Newman, died Aug. 13, 2011. His wife, Donna Newman, was left on their ranch 10 miles west of Philip.
Arampatzis worried about her grandmother living alone on that ranch, and decided she wanted to spend a year with her grandmother. I weighed the pros and cons, and there were no cons, Arampatzis said in the story.
She went out for the cross country team and attended every workout despite being ineligible for meets because of a state rule saying she couldn't compete for 45 days after enrolling at Philip. Arampatzis also went from one of the best track and field facilities in the state in Aberdeen to a dirt track in Philip.
The big city girl seemed to adapt to small-town life just fine with her grandmother at her side.
Aberdeen Central track and field coach Jim Appl said it best when he talked about Arampatzis' decision.
I told her it's more important that she do something for her grandmother, Appl said. That's the bigger picture. Not too many times does a high school kid put someone else first. They have a tendency to focus on themselves first. I was sad but excited for her. What an awesome individual. She's been raised right. I can't be more proud of her.
We should all have Ariana Arampatzis' ability to recognize what is important in life.
2. In Wednesday's American News, we told you the story of Northern State junior Yvonne Freese. Freese plays basketball, sings, acts, maintains a 3.5 grade-point average and throws the discus well enough to qualify for the national track and field meet this weekend in Pueblo, Colo.
She does it all for the Wolves with a smile on her face, an infectious laugh and joy in her heart.
We should all have her passion for life.
3. Also in Wednesday's newspaper, there was the story of the Aberdeen Smittys who remembered their American Legion baseball friend along with the Aberdeen baseball community.
Former Smittys standout Bryce Anglin, 21, died of cancer last month. A sign that pictured the outline of a jersey with Anglin's number 16 was unveiled in left field of Fossum Field in Aberdeen. The Smitty players also will wear baseball caps displaying 16 this season.
We should always remember special people like Bryce and those who have gone before us.
4. The Sioux Falls O'Gorman girls won their third State AA girls' golf team title in a row by overcoming a big blow on the first day when one of their top golfers, junior Claire Jansa, signed an incorrect scorecard. Jansa, who reported herself, was disqualified for Monday's round, which eliminated her from contention for the individual title. The mistake also meant the Knights fell from first place on the first day to third, eight strokes behind leader Pierre.
Kudos to Jansa for reporting herself. It was a classy move, and even with a lot on the line, she chose to do the right thing.
We all should make such decisions in our lives.
· Several area golfers had a great state tourneys earlier this week. The Webster boys' team of Spencer Lux, Josh Gaikowski, Blake Wilkinson and Josh Hoven finished second in the State B in Rapid City. The Bearcats lost in a playoff to White River.
· Meanwhile, Shauni Schwartz of Herreid won a playoff over Jordyn Jones of Sully Buttes and Kristen Shanahan of champion South Central to earn second place in the girls' State B golf tourney. Jones' effort helped Sully Buttes finish third in the team competition.
· And how about those seniorless Aberdeen Central girls' golfers of coach Kim Zimmerman? The Golden Eagles finished sixth in the State AA at Elmwood Golf Course in Sioux Falls to cap a great season and construct solid building blocks for the future.
· Finally, the 2012 North American Hockey League Entry Draft will start at 1 p.m. May 31.
John Papendick is the managing news-sports editor for the American News. Readers tell and email him with stuff plus he reads all the daily newspapers in South Dakota on a daily basis. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog: aberdeensports.net/inthehuddle.