James Kretkowski and Christian Jamison each had a way of describing what it means to be part of an annual event that Jamison calls "an extension" of the football season.
Kretkowski called it simply "a great honor" to share the same floor as other prestigious students at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's annual scholar- athlete brunch.
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After Kretkowski was named the Jay Fielder top scholar-athlete, the Oceanside left tackle and defensive end said, "I feel like this shows everybody that all of us here that were nominated are not only great on the field, but are great in the classroom."
After Jamison was named the Suffolk top scholar-athlete, the Huntington wide receiver and linebacker said, "This really means a lot to me because football has been the most important thing to me. A lot of great people helped me win this award."
As president of the National Football Foundation's Nassau and Suffolk Chapters, Leonard Genova expressed great pride for all the Suffolk and Nassau Golden 11 scholar-athletes that were recognized recently at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
"These are young men who truly embody everything that is right about scholastic sports, including academic excellence, athletic prowess and community service," Genova said. "These are kids who accomplish tremendous things on the athletic field, but are even better students and citizens in today's society."
It's hard to argue with Kretkowski and Jamison being at the top of the list. Kretkowski not only carries a 98.1 weighted GPA, but has been extremely active in extracurricular activities, including serving as class president and representing Oceanside on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Youth Board.
"My former teammate, Tom Capone, won the same award last year, so it's good to show everybody that we don't have just good athletes at our school, we also have good students," Kretkowski said. "Every student-athlete should strive for that."
Jamison, who carries a weighted GPA of 103, was named the LaBue top scholar football player, outstanding receiver and recipient of the Suffolk Zone Award for physical education. He also helped lead the Blue Devils to the Suffolk Division III championship.
"I don't say a lot normally, so to win an award like this, it's like the icing on the cake," Jamison said. "We set an example for the younger guys. When I was younger, I looked up to the varsity guys as our heroes."
Oceanside coach Rob Blount said everyone on the Sailors looked up to Kretkowski because he was an ambassador to the school, someone who set a great example and "is the definition that hard work pays off."
The same could be said for Nassau's Golden 11 and Suffolk's Golden 11.