Editor’s Note: The Daily Times has released parts three and four of what will now be an eight-part series discussing the accomplishments and future plans of Southeast District Athletic Board scholarship winners Alek Blevins, Cole Gilliland, T.J. Hoggard, and Nathan Riehl. Blevins was discussed in the first part of the series, Riehl was featured in the second part, and Hoggard, along with Gilliland, are featured in today’s issue.
East’s Drew Lowe, Notre Dame’s Hagen Schaefer, and Wheelersburg’s Makayla Akers and Taylor Doerr will also be added onto the series after further research.
It pays to be humble and to know what life is truly about.
As an All-Southeast District soccer standout, the Class of 2017 valedictorian at West High School, and an All-Southeast District soccer standout, T.J. Hoggard certainly has those traits in the bag.
However, the payoff is still something that Hoggard doesn’t — and won’t — take for granted.
“It’s great to see how everything has paid off in the long run,” Hoggard said. “That’s the best part about it all.”
But when you look at Hoggard’s resume, it’s clear that the payoff is one that has been well-earned.
Athletically, Hoggard proved to be a force throughout his career in football, soccer, and track as the midfielder made three consecutive All-Southeast District team lists on the pitch, including Division II Second-Team honors in 2015 and Division II First-Team honors in his swan song campaign last year. Hoggard also held down the field goal and placekicking duties for the West football over the past two seasons and nailed a personal best 32-yard field goal against Coal Grove in the Senators’ third game of the year.
“Sports were my favorite part of high school,” Hoggard said of his experiences at West. “(Ben) Johnson was straight to the point and he wanted everyone to be respectful, regardless of the situation. There were no shortcuts with him. You had to show up and work hard. The same thing was true in soccer. We didn’t have the numbers to be picky, but we were still expected to act a certain way. That’s how I liked it being, and that’s how it should be.”
In the spring, Hoggard didn’t let off the gas pedal as the senior continued to help set school-wide standards. Hoggard, along with 4-by-400 relay teammates Ryan Spriggs, Jacob McCoy, and Ben Dubiel, and 4-by-800 members that included McCoy, Tyler Brown, and Trenton Hayslip, set new school records in both events by posting marks of 3:46 and 9:32.99, respectively, in both events.
“The 4-by-400 that we broke this year came off of the back of some of the seniors that were in the program my freshman year, and I am good friends with each of them,” Hoggard said. “It’s nice to know who they were, and then surpass what they did. I remember that I always thought about how good they were, so to be able to surpass that is tremendous. That was always a goal for me and it is something that I always wanted to do.”
The accolades, however, were just beginning to come Hoggard’s way.
T.J., who was a member of the West BETA Club, the Singing Men of West, and the West Quiz Bowl team, began to rack up several honors with that same humble personality that he showcased throughout the year, as Hoggard was nominated as the school’s male candidate for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award and won the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award, the Monk Sportsmanship Award, the Harry James Memorial Scholarship, and the Shawnee State Scholar’s Award based on his efforts from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint.
“I took a lot of AP (Advanced Placement) classes this year, so having all of that really taught me how I needed to manage my time so I could still get all of my assignments done and be able to keep a strong grade point average with some of the AP credits transferring over to college,” Hoggard said. “In a lot of ways, this will help me out for college later on.”
In addition to all of those outstanding accomplishments, Hoggard, off of the recommendation of teachers at West, won the Grand Master’s Excellence in Youth Award from the Seventh Masonic District because of his strong work ethic, great character, leadership, and mental compass, according to the teachers who nominated him. To of little surprise to those around him, Hoggard kept a perfect 4.0 GPA, which allowed the senior to add school valedictorian honors and WSAZ Best of the Class accolades to the ever-increasing list of accomplishments for the all-around student-athlete.
“I had no idea about that,” Hoggard said of the masonic award. “That was all from my teachers, nomination-wise, so for them to see how hard I worked throughout the year meant a lot to me. I know that I always tried hard in school, but it’s still great to see those compliments. They meant a lot to me.”
Despite the array of accomplishments that T.J. Hoggard has obtained, his humble mindset, as well as his work ethic, isn’t going anywhere. The future Shawnee State University attendee and Plastics Engineering major says that he is determined to use his experience with high school sports as a platform for doing bigger things. And he won’t have it any other way.
“I want to keep doing things the way that I have been,” Hoggard said. “I want to do everything as well as I can. It shouldn’t change now that sports are over.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7