Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker (middle) learned Tuesday afternoon that he was a national finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He is one of 10, five boys and five girls, high school students from across the nation up for the award that will be announced in December in New York City. With Siefker (from left) are his mother, Cheryl, Don Reeves, Director of Operations with Wendy’s, Siefker, Chad Donelson, Vice President with Wendy’s and his father Dr. Tom Siefker. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker (middle) learned Tuesday afternoon that he was a national finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He is one of 10, five boys and five girls, high school students from across the nation up for the award that will be announced in December in New York City. With Siefker (from left) are his mother, Cheryl, Don Reeves, Director of Operations with Wendy’s, Siefker, Chad Donelson, Vice President with Wendy’s and his father Dr. Tom Siefker. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
OTTOVILLE — The accolades keep coming for Ottoville senior Brendan Siefker, both in the sports field and in the classroom.



The cross country runner just finished second for the second straight season in the OHSAA State Cross Country Meet Saturday.



He was also recently informed that he is one of the final 10 in the Wendy’s High School Heisman program.







“Our guidance counselor, Mrs. Leach, asked me to fill out the application and see what might happen. I wasn’t sure but I gave it a go,” Siefker said. “When I found out I was an Ohio state finalist, that was a Wow! moment. When I found out I was a national finalist, that was a double Wow!



“I thought that when I won the mile race (1,600 meters) at last spring’s State Track and Field Meet, that was the best feeling I could have. This beats it.”



According to the Wendy’s web site, “Wendy’s honors the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors by establishing the Wendy’s High School Heisman®, in partnership with the Heisman Memorial Trophy® Committee. Each year, this leadership award recognizes well-rounded young men and women who excel in learning, performing and leading in the classroom, on the field and in the community.”



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“There are two phases. The first is a personal nature: your grades, any accolades you have won in the classroom or in the sports you play and even what you do outside of school,” Siefker continued. “The second part is writing essays — I had to do four — describing all those things and what it means.



“What’s great about this is that you’re competing against so many high school seniors throughout the country. When I finished second Saturday, that was great because you’re competing in Division III and finished where I did. This is even more special because you’re going up against so many more people.”



Siefker can look back on the end of one phase of his high school years.



“It finally hit me Saturday that that was my finish high school cross country race and I’ve had three good years running in high school. I have had a lot of fun and a lot of great teammates in those three years,” he added. “It’s been a lot of hard work and that’s what I can say to any young people that might ask: this is what you can accomplish if you’re doing something you love, work hard and try to keep it fun. I had a goal to finish runner-up this year and got better as the year went on; that’s all you can do. I’m happy with that.



“I haven’t decided where I will be going for college yet but I still have track and field to run in the spring. I want to work hard and see if I can do even better than last year in the mile.



“I remember as a seventh-grader thinking that I had so much time left. Now as a senior, I realize that time seems to fly by so fast.”



His coach at Ottoville, long-time mentor Bob Kaple, calls Siefker the best cross country runner has had had in his 49 years.



“He has the whole package. He is an outstanding athlete, and outstanding student and an outstanding person. I haven’t had anyone better,” he began. “I can remember in the seventh grade, he was beaten by some kids that I knew he was better then but he had to figure it out. By the end of the year, he was beating those same kids. He has worked so hard during his career to be where he is today and it’s no surprise to see him in a position like this.



“He shines the light on what we have here at Ottoville in the community, the school and everything. It’s a nice place to live and he’s a perfect example of what can happen when you’re willing to work as hard as he does.”