INDIANAPOLIS — After Fort Wayne Snider topped New Palestine on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Class 5A state title, the IHSAA Executive Committee named the Dragons’ senior quarterback Alex Neligh as the winner of the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award for Class 5A.
Jay Neligh had trouble finding the words to sum it all up as he left the field. Seeing his son honored after such a devastating loss (64-61) was bittersweet.
But it was fitting, to watch a young man who stays so grounded in the face of all he has accomplished, be recognized, he said.
“It’s hard to describe,” he said, “because he’s so humble about everything he does. We’ve done a lot of hard work over the years, and it’s paid off.”
Neligh is undecided on his college choice but plans to study psychology. This season, Neligh was accountable for over 8,000 yards and 60 touchdowns for the top-ranked Dragons.
Head coach Kyle Ralph said Neligh, a two-sport athlete, is one of the best human beings to be around.
“He’s one of the best kids you’re going to find,” he said. “He represents the program well. He is one of the most pleasant kids to have in class.”
Each year, the IHSAA Executive Committee selects a senior player who was nominated by his principal and coach. The athlete chosen demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and ability.
The Indianapolis Colts will present a scholarship ($1,000) to Neligh and New Palestine High School.
The award is named in honor of the IHSAA’s third commissioner from 1962-76.