OVERTIME: Salpointe's Pena receives national award - Tucson News Now

OVERTIME: Salpointe's Pena receives national award

IRVING, TX – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the five winners of the 2013 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, with each recipient selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level.  

Salpointe Catholic grad tailback Johnny Pena, who is in his freshman season on the football team at prestigious Brown University, was the West Region honoree.

A four-year starter at running back, Pena finished his Lancer career as Salpointe Catholic's all-time leader in career rushing yards (4,765), rushing touchdowns (61) and career touchdowns (64).

He led the team to three conference titles, and he served as team captain during his senior season, racking up 1,526 yards and 25 TDs. He twice earned honors as an All-State selection.

Graduating with a cumulative 4.03 GPA and scoring a 28 on the ACT, Pena was a four-time recipient of the Arizona Interscholastic Scholar-Athlete Award. A member of the National Honor Society, he claimed numerous honors, including the 2013 Gary Gillette Inspirational Student-Athlete Award, the 2013 Cox Arizona Scholar-Athlete Award, the 2012 DaVina Award, the Leonardo Ashton Bene Award (2011, 2012), the Ashton Bene Award (2011, 2012) and the 2011 John Glunski Award.
Active in the Southern Arizona community, Pena earned the Association of Fundraising Southern Arizona Chapter's Youth Philanthropy Award in 2009 and 2010. He has served as a Special Olympics student coach, a Tucson Youth Football volunteer, a NYS Youth Soccer volunteer and a student tutor. His other volunteer work includes the Boys and Girls Club, Breast Cancer Book Donation Drive, Casas de los Ninos Nursery, Community Food Bank, the Juvenile Diabetes Toy Drive and the Marshall Home for Men.
Pena is enrolled at Brown as a pre-med major.

"The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards showcase first-class high school football players from across the country," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "This year's honorees have set the standard for accomplishment on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We are truly proud to honor their success in December."

The five winners will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Waldorf=Astoria.
First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include, but are not limited to, academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement.
During the past 22 years, 96 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year will mark the 23rd class of honorees. Recent recipients include Andrew Luck (2008, former Stanford and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, Army linebacker and winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy) and Bryant Browning (2006, former Ohio State and current New York Giants offensive lineman).
Other notable past recipients include Jon Stinchcomb (1998, a former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman), Drew Henson (1998, a former Michigan quarterback, and professional football and baseball player) and Bobby Hoying (1991, a former Ohio State quarterback and winner of the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy).
Copyright 2013 National Football Foundation. All rights reserved.
David Kelly contributed to this story.
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