ֱ

Aleyna Quinn and Elijah Wagner named SIAC Athletes of the Year for Class of 2024

Portrait of Kyle Sokeland Kyle Sokeland
Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE ֱ The Southern Indiana Athletic Conference prides itself on the depth and parity within the conference. You can point to strong group of student athletes year after year.

The conference annually has Division I athletes or even state champions. The Class of 2024 was another positive addition to a history of success dating nearly 90 years. It still takes a lot to stand out. These two athletes did.

Aleyna Quinn of Castle High School and Elijah Wagner of Bosse High School were named the Banterra Bank Outstanding Athletes of the Year on Friday. The award, the highlight of the 15th annual "Celebration of Champions," is based upon athletic achievement, success in the classroom and work in the community.

More:Here are the Class of 2024 SIAC Male and Female Athlete of the Year finalists

Each member school is allowed to nominate just one male and female senior athlete.

Quinn graduated as arguably one of the top athletes in Castle history. Her accomplishments were not limited to a single sport and notable for their level of success. Quinn suited up in five different sports with the Knights: soccer, football, basketball, track and softball.

She describes the last four years as a roller coaster when attempting to balance school, athletics and enduring multiple injuries. No regrets though.

"I would never change my high school career," said Quinn. "I think a lot of people see playing five sports as impossible, but with my competitiveness it was fun. I was able to accomplish everything through one of the best programs. I am honored and blessed to receive this award especially with the immense competition around me. I have competed against just about all of the girls and each one of them pushed me to get better. I think the SIAC is one of the strongest conferences south of Indy."

Her career is impressive: Quinn was a four-time All-State selection in soccer, for example, but her senior year will be remembered. She was the SIAC Player of the Year and First Team All-State with 28 goals and 12 assists; doing so while splitting time as a placekicker in football (22 for 23 on extra points, made a 42-yard field goal). Her winter was spent leading the basketball team with 15 points and seven rebounds to earn an All-State honorable mention. Quinn completed her prep career by returning to the diamond and batting .418 for the regional champions.

She is the all-time leading scorer for the Knights with 106 goals, the first female in school history to play football and a regional qualifier in track as a junior. Quinn will play soccer at Ball State University.

"Just know that everything is possible but your mindset is the most important," she said. "Also remember that high school is supposed to be fun, so make sure you surround yourself with good teammates and a positive environment. Work when no one is watching, because that extra work will help you prove yourself while also surprising a lot of people."

Castleֱs Aleyna Quinn (9) takes a shot as the Castle Knights play the Harrison Warriors during the IHSAA Girls Soccer sectionals in Newburgh, Ind., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.

Wagner was the definition of a standout athlete and delivered one of the best individual football seasons at Bosse in over a decade. He lettered in four sports (football, basketball, track and baseball) and earned All-State honors in two. Among his individual accomplishments include a regional qualification in the 4x100 relay as a junior.

His senior year is when he cemented his mark. Wagner was the SIAC and All-City Player of the Year at quarterback with 2,158 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. He also the SIAC in rushing at 1,671 yards with 20 more scores in an All-State campaign. The 5-11 senior accounted for 85% of the best statistical offense in the SIAC, ending the regular season first in the state in total yards.

Wagner completed his basketball career ֱ the guard was All-State honorable mention as a junior ֱ with averages of 7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists to help the Bulldogs win a regional championship. He will play football at the University of Indianapolis.

"The work I put in actually paid off," said Wagner. "All the hours being at the dungeon and then going to put work on the field, taking everything seriously (and) going hard. My teammates played a big part on why I am receiving this honor. Shoutout to them boys."

Bosseֱs Elijah Wagner (5) passes as the Bosse Bulldogs play the Harrison Warriors at Enlow Field in Evansville, Ind., Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.

The other finalists for Female Athlete of the Year: Catelyn Witte (Bosse), Lindsey Laine (Central), Jordan Mackey (Harrison), Emma Schipp (Jasper), Mary Beth Sullivan (Mater Dei), Natalie West (Memorial), Anna Bunnell (North), Cordelia Hoover (Reitz), Macy Sexton (Vincennes Lincoln).

The other finalists for Male Athlete of the Year: Antonio Harris (Castle), JJ Clark (Central), Santiago Arruffat (Harrison), Will Wallace (Jasper), Tyler Vanover (Mater Dei), Aiden Waller (Memorial), Kaleb Harris (North), Levi Oxley (Reitz), Hayden Patton (Vincennes Lincoln).

Castle was the SIAC All-Sport champion for the sixth straight year followed by Jasper, Memorial, North and Reitz.