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Ravenwood's Zoeller, BGA's Dunavant named John Maher Scholar Athletes

Ravenwood High School’s Madison Zoeller and Battle Ground Academy’s Anthony Dunavant have been named this month’s recipients of the John Maher Scholar Athlete award.


Zoeller, daughter of Dan and Tami Zoeller, is a four-year member of the Lady Raptor softball team. Through her junior year, the team had compiled an overall record of 70-35-1 – 27-1 in District 11-AAA play.


Cj Pangallo is in her first year as head coach for Ravenwood, but has been an assistant for the team for the last few years. She says she has seen drastic growth in her starting catcher following a change in focus.


“Zoeller’s love of competition and winning is infectious,” Pangallo said. “Her determination is expected to help Ravenwood Softball reach its potential this season.”


The squad is off to a hot start with a record of 13-5, 3-0 through April 8.


Zoeller has six years of experience playing travel ball for Xplosion and was a member of the Chattanooga Force travel team in the fall of 2012 and summer of 2013.


Her hard work and natural athleticism paid off last season as she was named to the 2012 All-District 11-AAA team, but Pangallo stresses that Zoeller is more than just a great softball player.


“Madison has an exceptional ability to lead others,” said the coach. “She commands the field as our starting catcher but also guides, instructs, and encourages teammates on a daily basis. Madison is a dynamic role model by holding both herself and others accountable to high goals and expectations.”


Away from the field, Zoeller maintains a 3.827 grade point average while having actively participating in Ravenwood’s Best Buddy Program and being a Special Education Kickball Buddy.


She also served her church as a third-grade religious education teacher and through a 2012 mission trip to Honduras.


Zoeller will continue her athletic and academic career next fall at Delta State University.


Dunavant, son of Vince and Wendy Dunavant, is a track and field standout that BGA Athletic Director Robert Jemison characterizes as a perfect representation of the school’s three pillars – scholarship, excellence, and character.


His athletic achievements are well documented. Dunavant is a three-time All-American and the National Decathlon Champion at the 2012 AAU National Championship held in Orlando. He finished that year ranked as the No. 1 US high school decathlete for the 2012 season and finished third in the TSSAA Division II state tournament.


This season he has set a personal record in high jump at Ravenwood’s March Madness event while earning 16 of BGA’s 29 points. He finished second in long jump, fourth in high jump, and fifth in shot put.


Dunavant also competed at the Feb. 9 Indiana University High School Track Open, placing third in the 60-meter hurdles and the long jump while earning sixth in the 400-meters.


Once a multi-sport athlete, Dunavant decided to focus his attention on track, stepping away from the football field as a junior.


“He believed he could have the most impact for our school and for his future by focusing his athletic efforts fully on track,” said Jemison. “His decision paid off as he was recruited by numerous schools, including Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, and Virginia.”


Dunavant chose Virginia, saying he felt they gave him the best combination of athletics and academics.


His effort in the classroom easily qualifies the senior as a scholar. Dunavant maintains a 3.95 GPA while taking a rigorous schedule of Advanced Placement and honors classes.


Even with all of Dunavant’s achievements, he remains humble and level headed, making him a solid representation of character.


“He is BGA’s school record holder in the decathlon,” Jemison said. “(He’s) won a national championship and is currently ranked No. 1 in the decathlon by US Milesplit, but most people wouldn’t know of his achievements because he never brags about any of his accomplishments.”


Dunavant is a Peer Leader at BGA - mentoring freshman – while volunteering with the Tennessee Senior Olympics and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin.


He is an active member of Fellowship Bible Church and Youth Leadership Franklin.


“He is a young man Williamson County should be proud to call its own,” Jemison said.


The John Maher Scholar Athlete of the Month Award, given by John Maher Builders and the Williamson Herald, is decided by a four-person panel that makes their decision based on GPA, leadership qualities, community service, community service, athletic competition, and a written essay by the student-athlete’s nominator.


Each recipient is invited to the annual scholar-athlete banquet, being held May 30 at First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, where one male and one female winner will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship. The athletes must be present at the banquet to be eligible.

Madison Zoeller photo by Reed Galin /





Posted on: 4/10/2013


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