Schankie named 2011 Dylan Meier Player of the Year

By: Mark Schremmer for Kpreps.com
February 10, 2012 - 7:05 AM

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The Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Foundation in cooperation with Mytown Media and Kpreps.com are pleased to announce that Madison High School senior Kole Schankie is the 2011 recipient of the inaugural Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Player of the Year Award.

The award, named in honor of the former standout quarterback at Kansas State University and Pittsburg High School who died in a hiking accident in April 2010 at the age of 26, goes to a Kansas high school senior who combines excellence on the field with community involvement, integrity and a commitment to the Get Busy Livin’ principles.

The Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Player of the Year Award will go to a senior high school football player in Kansas each year. The award is made possible by Mytown Media and Kpreps.com. As part of the award, Mytown Media will make a donation of $1,000 on behalf of the winner to the Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Foundation. The GBL also would like to honor Schankie by providing an $800 scholarship, as well as a $200 donation to the charity of his choice to continue the GBL spirit of “paying it forward.”

Schankie led Madison to back-to-back 8-Man Division I state championships in 2010 and 2011. The senior running back finished his career with 120 touchdowns, 4,907 rushing yards and 525 receiving yards. He also recorded 291 career tackles. Schankie was named the 8-Man Division I Offensive Player of the Year by Kpreps and was a two-time All-State first-team selection at running back. He signed his letter of intent to continue his football career at Emporia State University.

In addition to Schankie’s on-field success, he has displayed a willingness to help others. In support of a local child with cancer, Schankie was one of several students to shave his head. He participated in the school’s community service day the past four years by sweeping the downtown streets in preparation for the Madison Days celebration. He has attended a Mission trip to an Oklahoma City homeless shelter and has been a member of the Methodist Youth Group and the Lamont Wesleyan Church. He has attended the Falls Creek Church Camp and Young Christians Weekend every year since 2006. Schankie has worked with the local youth group by collecting items for the local food pantry.

“After learning about Dylan, I have realized that he lived life to the fullest,” Schankie said. “By the sound of it, he had life figured out. Win or lose, I will do my best to live the way Dylan did – free with no limitations. Even though I never knew Dylan, he has changed my life dramatically and for that I am forever grateful. My heart goes out to the Meier family, and they are in my thoughts and prayers.”

A number of players from each classification were originally selected as candidates based on their exceptional on-field play. Fan nominations also were gathered through Kpreps.com. Coaches were then solicited for information about the players’ character, school performance, community involvement and hobbies.

From those submissions, the GBL Foundation narrowed down this group to six finalists. Each of the finalists answered a series of questions. From that, the Meier family and the GBL Foundation board selected Schankie as the winner. The board’s decision was consistent with a Kpreps.com poll that received more than 2,000 votes.

“Kole is a pretty interesting young man,” said Kerry Meier, a member of the Atlanta Falcons and former Kansas Jayhawks standout who is Dylan’s younger brother. “You look at his stats, and you can obviously see how talented he is. But personally, what was more impressive were his endeavors off the field. He knows the importance of family. The most important thing in life is family. The other thing about Kole is that he realizes the joys in life. He embodies so many of the characteristics for this award.”

Schankie will officially receive the award Feb. 17 at Madison High School during a presentation at halftime of the boys basketball game against Lyndon. Dylan’s three brothers: Kerry Meier, former NFL and Kansas State tight end Shad Meier and former Pittsburg State defensive back Adam Meier will be on hand to present the award to Schankie.

Other finalists included Olathe Northwest wide receiver Willie Cauley, Blue Valley running back Justin Fulks, Central Burden quarterback Bo Savage, St. Mary’s-Colgan twin brothers Zach and Chris Smith, and Sedgwick quarterback Trent Stucky.

“All of the finalists were very impressive,” Kerry Meier said. “There were tons and tons of nominations that came in, from all classes. It was a pretty special process to go through.”

The following is a quick look at each of the finalists:

Willie Cauley, WR, Olathe Northwest
The 6-10 Kentucky basketball signee went against the advice of college and AAU coaches and continued to play the game he loves – football. Cauley recorded 64 receptions for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns during his senior season. Cauley also was active in the community as a Will to Succeed Foundation volunteer, a MO/KAN youth basketball coach volunteer, a Read Across America guest reader and as an Olathe Northwest Student Naturalist.

Justin Fulks, RB, Blue Valley
Fulks finished his career as Blue Valley’s all-time leader in career offensive yards with 5,100 and career touchdowns with 51. In 2011, the senior rushed for 1,878 yards and 21 touchdowns on 273 carries. Fulks signed a letter of intent to continue his football career at Northwest Missouri State University. He helped rehab an old church building, visited nursing homes and worked a lemonade stand to generate money for childhood cancer research.

Bo Savage, QB, Central Burden
No quarterback in Kansas history has thrown for more touchdowns in a season (52) a career (143), or a single game (9) than Savage. The Central signal caller is a two-time All-State selection who was elected a team captain in his sophomore season. He will continue his football career at McPherson College. He has served as vice president and president of his class and has been involved in STUCO, FCA, church youth activities and was a band member in junior high. He also has been active in several food drives, Operation Christmas Child and helps shovel snow and rake leaves for elderly in the area.

Zach and Chris Smith, RB/LB, St. Mary’s-Colgan
The Smith twins have been standouts at Colgan since they stepped into the starting lineup as freshmen. In 2011, Chris rushed for 1,509 yards (11.7 yards per carry) and 26 touchdowns. Zach ran for 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns. Together, the Smiths accounted for almost 2,700 yards of offense, 49 total touchdowns and 183 tackles from their linebacker positions. In addition to their accomplishments on the field, Zach and Chris have been key members in the community. Both are members of the National Honor Society. Chris maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, while Zach holds a 3.95. Zach is a member of the SMC Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America and both are members of the drama club.

Trenty Stucky, QB, Sedgwick
Stucky was 23-7 in three years as Sedgwick’s starting quarterback and surpassed NFL Pro Bowl punter Brian Moorman as the school’s all-time leading passer. In 2011, the senior threw for 2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,150 yards and 14 TDs. Stucky will continue his football career at Butler Community College. He has been involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in Schools for two years. Stucky is a tutor in the junior high program. He has helped prepared and serve food at the Hutchinson Homeless Shelter each Christmas break and helped construct a house for the Wichita Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to the award, the GBL is planning its second annual Dylan Meier Foundation 5-kilometer run in Pittsburg, Kan. The run will be April 28 at Hutchinson Field. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the run starts at 9 a.m. Online registration is available at www.sportkc.org/getbusy2012.
 
ABOUT DYLAN MEIER & THE GET BUSY LIVIN' FOUNDATION
Dylan Meier, a 2002 graduate of Pittsburg High School, was a two-time All-State quarterback for the Purple Dragons. He continued his football career at Kansas State and started 11 games from 2004-2006 as the Wildcats' signal caller.

On April 19, 2010, Meier died in an accident while hiking with family in Arkansas.

In addition to his time in Kansas, Dylan played professional football in Germany and Italy, served as a bodyguard for Italian fashion models, worked in a vineyard overseas, ran with the bulls in Spain, and went skydiving in the Alps. His next plans included coaching football in Europe, teaching English in Korea and possibly a return to Kansas State as a graduate assistant.

“He had a real zest for life,” Merle Clark, Dylan’s former coach and a family friend said days after the accident. “He lived a lot in his 26 years.”

That zest for life is the basis of the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation that was established in Dylan’s honor. The mission is to provide support for individuals and groups that embody the values that Dylan pursued: adventurer, fitness, curiosity, generosity, and a daily zest for life experiences.

The GBL Foundation is determined to breakdown the boundaries that keep people from living life to the fullest, whether those boundaries be social, economical or imaginary.

The GBL Foundation will use donations to promote these values in the following ways: student/athletic scholarships, sports camp sponsorships, student travel abroad scholarships, community service needs and other activities that inspire and build character.

For more information, please visit http://getbusylivin.org

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