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High school athletes definitely make an impact on the community.

Take Pam Donohue Duncan’s letter to her fellow Cummins employees asking them to support Columbus North senior Tayler Goodall when it came to being considering for postseason girls basketball awards.

Donohue-Duncan noted how Goodall, who was voted as the Bull Dogs’ MVP this season, has impacted her daughter, Calli, who now wants to be another Tayler Goodall.

It’s a scene that is repeated over and over in all our local high school sports programs.

The fact is that many of these high school athletes still make an impact after they leave their high school program and enroll at colleges and universities all around the country. Goodall, for example, is headed to Florida Gulf Coast University.

My goal is to present a twice-a-month column highlighting the achievements of these athletes during the school year.

The hard part, though, can be keeping track of them.

Having been here at the Republic a year and a half, I know where many of our recent graduates have gone. But often, I hear about athletes making their mark on the college scene, and I don’t know about them.

So I ask you, the reader, to help. If you know a former local high school athlete from the area who now is playing a sport at the college or university level, please send me an email and give me a name, sport, former high school and college. That way I can track the athlete down and see how things are progressing.

You can send me an email at jheater@therepublic.com.

Sometimes we might do a longer feature on the athlete, and other times it might just be a line. However, I would like to keep track of these young athletes who often have been role models for kids in our community.

Here are a few examples of what I would like to do with the column.

... Columbus North graduate Tori Jackson could be playing a role on a potential national championship basketball team.

Vincennes, 31-2, opens play on Monday in the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.

The 6-foot-8 Jackson plays a reserve role for the Trailblazers, who are the nation’s No. 2-ranked team as well as being the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Jackson has averaged 1.7 points and 2 rebounds a game.

Jackson helped Columbus North earn a sectional championship last season.

... It will be interesting to see what Columbus East graduate Micayla Speidel can do in her second season with the Indiana University-Kokomo volleyball team.

In her freshman season, the 5-foot-9 Speidel was the American Volleyball Coaches Northeast Region Freshman of the Year and she earned all-region honors. She was the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference freshman of the year and she earned first team all-conference honors.

IU-Kokomo athletics director Brandon Podgorski said he expects Speidel’s achievements will attract other talented athletes to the campus.

“Micayla has that effect on our volleyball program, earning prestigious honors in what’s going to be an amazing college career,” he said.

... Columbus North graduate Macey Thornburg is competing for the Denison University women’s track and field team in Granville, Ohio, as well as on the cross-country squad. A sophomore at Denison, Thornburg is a former National Honor Society student at North.

She will concentrate on the 3,000 meters in track and will try to find her place on a talented team. Denison just finished second in the North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Championship.

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at jheater@therepublic.com or 379-5632.

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