Valley News Dispatch Male Athlete of the Year: Freeport's Brendan Lynch
Though he stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall, Brendan Lynch seized Big Man on Campus status at Freeport relatively early in his high school career and never relinquished it.
Lynch, 2013 Freeport graduate, started and excelled at every position that held an audience's attention: quarterback in football, guard in basketball, sprinter in track and field.
And away from the playing field, he remained a stellar role model, as he finished with a 4.5 grade-point average and volunteered in an elementary school reading program.
In football, those who watched him named him All-Allegheny Conference after he had 628 yards and eight touchdowns passing, 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing and 51 tackles.
Members of the Cager Classic committee named Lynch MVP of the West team, and earlier in the winter, Lynch, an all-section selection, averaged 18.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals for Freeport.
The WPIAL named Lynch one of its four scholar-athlete award winners, a distinction that came with a $5,000 scholarship.
If he stood a couple of inches taller, Lynch likely would've pursued basketball in college, as hoops was his first love and remains his favorite sport.
Instead, he'll play football at Division III Case Western, where he'll embrace the institution's strong academic reputation by partaking in its pre-med program as a chemistry major.
For his many achievements, Lynch is the Valley News Dispatch Boys Athlete of the Year.Your senior class had several impressive multisport athletes. Are you considered the best?
Actually, for our senior class personalities, I was not ‘Most Athletic.' Fred Pastoria was voted ‘Most Athletic.' I do kind of agree with it in terms of overall athleticism and athletic potential. He's naturally the most athletic kid in our grade. He can just do everything and anything that he wants to. He struggled with injuries throughout his high school career, so that's kind of why his accolades and accomplishments weren't as high as some of the other members of our class.
Did you vote for him?
Do you consider yourself No. 2?
I'd probably put myself No. 2, yeah. I feel like I measure up to everybody else. … But there are a lot of athletes in our grade, so it was kind of a tough competition for that award.
Is there a chance you could play two sports in college?
I flirted with the idea of playing two sports in college, but basketball and football I've heard is the hardest because the seasons overlap. … They do have track, so that's not out of the question, but basketball is definitely out.
You excel in so many aspects of life. What don't you do well?
If I had to label a struggle, I'd say standardized testing. I didn't have great scores on the SATs, and when we took standardized tests in elementary school, I never did great. … I'm not very good at testing fast when I have to.
Your older brother (Conor) went to St. Joseph. Were you leaning toward Freeport versus St. Joe's when you were younger?
When I was in about fifth grade, I hung out with a lot more kids from Freeport because there were a lot of kids my age in my neighborhood. I became good friends with them, and I thought it'd be more fun to hang out with them in school, too. I also wanted to try playing football, and I knew I couldn't if I went to St. Joe's.
Do you think you missed out on anything by going to Freeport instead of St. Joseph?
It would've been fun to play basketball with my brother and some of his friends, who were pretty good.
How do you think you'll be remembered as an athlete?
Hopefully I'll be remembered as someone who played and worked as hard as they possibly could. Someone who was a good player but also a good teammate and a good sport.
You work at Dunham's Sporting Goods, so you're around sports gear all day. Can you resist the urge to play with basketballs and footballs?
Sometimes I like to pick up a basketball and try to shoot it in the hoops, but they have nets on top of them, so you can't make it in the basket. That's just sometimes when I get really bored.
Do you find that you buy way more gear than you need just because you work there?
Once football season comes closer, I'll definitely buy a lot of stuff, especially stuff I don't need. It's tough to pass up.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?