Whiz Kid Award: Glenbard West's Joey Richmond
Joey Richmond didn't hesitate last week when asked to speak at a Glen Ellyn rally to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Beyond the football fields, the basketball courts and the baseball diamonds -- beyond the 5.0 grade-point average Richmond maintained for four years -- the Glenbard West senior wanted his high-school experience to be about so much more.
"At times I felt like the entire community had my back," Richmond said. "My teachers and teammates and coaches ... this senior year has been the most important of my life."
A three-sport athlete in all four years at Glenbard West, Richmond has earned the Daily Herald Prep Sports Excellence Whiz Kid Award for academic achievement. And that GPA is actually 5.1.
"He's an extremely high-character kid who works super hard," said Hilltoppers football coach Chad Hetlet. "He gets it. He's extremely mature for his age."
Athletically, Richmond is best-known as a two-year starting running back in Glenbard West's vaunted ground game. When the Hitters needed a tough yard, Richmond got the call as he bulled for more than 1,300 yards in two seasons and scored 18 touchdowns as a senior.
In two varsity basketball seasons Richmond came off the bench to provide a defensive presence. Had there been a baseball season, he was expected to vie for an outfield position and a spot on the pitching staff.
No matter the sport, Richmond was a welcome addition.
"He's committed an enormous amount of time to three demanding sports," said Glenbard West baseball coach Andy Schultz. "To achieve the way he did academically with everything else he was doing, it's really a credit to him."
It was the motivation provided by Richmond's parents, Joe and Wynter, that started him on the path of high academic achievement.
"They told me early on that I wasn't going to be allowed to play sports if I didn't do well in school," he said with a laugh. "That's really what kept me going."
Richmond was named to the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. He became an AP Scholar with Distinction by passing double-digit Advanced Placement tests.
He found time to be part of a three-on-three basketball tournament that helped raise money for mental health awareness in memory of a friend who passed away. Richmond was in the marching band, he was on a school leadership committee and even went around to classrooms to collect recyclable materials.
"He had a lot going on but he never gave any thought to giving up any of his three sports," Hetlet said. "I'm so proud of him for that."
Richmond attracted college attention from all over the country, but he picked Dartmouth College because he couldn't pass up the chance to play football and possibly walk-on in baseball in the Ivy League.
"It was a dream of my parents for me to go to the Ivy League," Richmond said. "It's an amazing opportunity."