Jessie Sullivan has no use for an offseason.
The recent graduate went immediately from sport to sport throughout his athletic career at Boone Central/Newman Grove, competing at a high level all the way.
And that all culminated in a remarkable senior year.
It started out in the fall with a Class C-1 state runner-up finish in football. After missing his entire junior season with a fractured foot, Sullivan returned as a dominant anchor to the offensive and defensive lines.
Then came basketball. Sullivan led the Cardinals through a brutal postseason gauntlet of three teams who were a combined 61-13 to reach the state tournament.
In the spring it was time for track and field. Sullivan capped off his high school career by placing second in the Class B discus, trailing only Nebraska football recruit Cameron Jurgens of Beatrice.
Sullivan, who also plays American Legion baseball for Albion during the summers, certainly isn’t one of those high school athletes who specialize in only one sport.
“I enjoy going out for all of the sports instead of just playing the same one,” Sullivan said. “I’ve wanted to do that as long as I kept enjoying all four of them.
“I haven’t had a bad experience in any of them, and all four of them drove me to be the best that I could be.”
For his performance, Sullivan has been selected as the Independent’s Boys Athlete of the Year.
Sullivan relishes the success that his teams had throughout his senior year, although it is tough to get him to admit to being a big part of those achievements.
“I’m really proud that my school had such a successful year,” Sullivan said. “I couldn’t ask for more. We made state in all three sports. I’m proud of the effort and the selflessness of the teams in general. In football we worked hard, and in basketball it took grit at the end.”
While all of the Boone Central/Newman Grove teams benefited from having Sullivan on the roster, the four-sport athlete said participating in those sports were a big aid to him.
“I believe multi-sport athletes are better athletes,” he said. “I believe you are capable of more. You learn to train in different ways. It helps that you are always in-season for something.”
For someone as active as Sullivan, being sidelined isn’t a comfortable experience.
That made him appreciate returning to the football field, where the 6-foot-4, 250-pound lineman made an impact that helped him become a Shrine Bowl selection.
“Obviously his physical stature and his athletic ability can’t be overstated,” Boone Central/Newman Grove football coach Mark Hudson said. “But he’s also a really smart kid academically and is a good leader.”
Hudson said Sullivan was able to bring intensity and consistency to be dominant for four quarters, not something that’s easy for a lineman to do.
“In the middle of the year, we could see on defense that teams were running away from him, so we needed to start slanting to the weak side,” Hudson said.
Despite teams doing their best to avoid him, Sullivan finished with 41 solo and 65 assisted tackles over 13 games, including 15 tackles for losses.
Hudson also credits Sullivan for giving his all to whatever is his current sport.
“He’s not going to cheat one sport for another,” Hudson said. “He’s always going to do the best he can for the sport that is in season.”
The consistency that Hudson likes about Sullivan also translated over the basketball court.
“He was a go-to player for us every time we stepped on the court,” basketball coach Justin Harris said. “We always got a great effort from him, and he’s always ready to go.”
Sullivan averaged 17.2 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Cardinals to help them make their first state appearance since 2014.
Harris said it isn’t surprising to see a person like Sullivan have success.
“He’s a smart kid, he works hard and he does a lot of things the right way,” he said. “He’s always trying to get better. There are things he knows he can work on.”
That drive to improve spans across every sport and activity that Sullivan takes part in, and “he was involved in more things than probably any other kid in our school,” Harris said.
Boone Central/Newman Grove track and field coach Kris Pestel said it is remarkable what Sullivan could accomplish in that sport with so little time spent working on it.
That’s why she is excited to see what he does in college. Yes, despite his limited time spent in track, Sullivan will be moving on to the Division I level at South Dakota.
“He has unbelievable potential,” Pestel said. “In track he gets two months a year to work on it, and he’s done very well. Now instead of two months of practices, they’ll work with him year round.”
Pestel said that while it’s remarkable what Sullivan did throughout his senior year in athletics, what she also appreciates is what he’s always willing to do to help others, especially the younger children in the community.
“Little kids don’t want to see the adults,” she said. “They want to see the kids helping out at camps. And he’s always willing to help out with the younger kids.”
For someone who is so used to not having an offseason, focusing on one sport in college will be an adjustment for Sullivan.
“It will be different,” he said. “My track coach said she is excited to see what I am capable of working on throwing year round. I want to see how much I’ll improve. It’ll be different, but I look forward to it.”
Even though he is going to be involved in only one sport, Sullivan will still remain busy. He is majoring in medical biology as a pre-med route.
And with many college options to choose from, it was academics that decided Sullivan’s athletic route.
“It was difficult making a college decision,” he said. “I knew track was an option for me. It came down to academics and came down to what I wanted to do for these next four years. USD was the best place for me academically, and I know that I’ll enjoy doing track there for the next four years.”
Monday, April 9th the Boone Central Board of Education passed an extracurricular drug testing policy that will be put in place at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Below is the overview and purpose of the program. See the attached link at the bottom of this page for the full policy.
The school district supports and values student participation in extracurricular activities, but such participation in school district extracurricular activities is a privilege and not a right. Students in all extracurricular activities in grades 7-12 shall be subject to mandatory and random testing for the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Purpose of Random Drug Testing
The supply lists for the 2018-2019 school year at Boone Central Elementary is here! You can download the list at the links below.
Boone Central Schools is seeking paraprofessionals starting at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year for the middle school building located in Petersburg, NE. Job duties will involve interacting with school personnel to help support students in the learning process.
Please contact Tanner Schutt or Nicole Hardwick for further details (395-2134).
Submit applications to Nicole Hardwick, Superintendent, Boone Central Schools, PO Box 391, Albion, NE 68620.
Boone Central School District is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Application form may be picked up at school or downloaded at www.boonecentral.org