Geneseo's Ali Rapp receives WB6 Don Morris award

Claudia Loucks

It’s quite an accomplishment for a high school athlete to excel in one sport, but three?

Geneseo High School graduating senior Ali Rapps did just that, and recently received the Western Big 6 Don Morris Award for being the top multi-sport female athlete in the Western Big 6 Conference. Jeremiah Morris, Galesburg, was the recipient of the Don Morris Award as the top multi-sport male athlete in the WB 6.

The awards ceremony was held in the Concert Hall at Geneseo High School.

Geneseo High School teacher and Coach Scott Hardison, left; Paul Rapps, Ali Rapps, Alisande Rapps and GHS teacher and coach Kyle Morey posed for a photo at the presentation of the Don Morris Award made to Rapps in the Geneseo Concert Hall at GHS.

When asked about receiving the Don Morris Award, Rapps said, “I am honored to be chosen for the Don Morris Award. I cannot thank my family, coaches, friends and teammates enough because without them this would not be possible. I felt honored to be chosen as I know there are so many talented multi-sport athletes in the WB 6. I was humbled that the athletic directors chose me as the recipient.”

Rapps played tennis, basketball and track and ended her high school track career at the State Meet in Charleston where she broke both the 100m and 300m hurdles GHS records.

Her 14 .73 mark in the preliminaries broke the record in the 100m hurdles, set at GHS by Kaci Storm in 2012. Rapps ran 44.01 in the 300m hurdles to earn a second place medal and she finished fourth in the 100m hurdles.

In track, she ran the 100 and 300 hurdles, 4x4, 4x1, 4x2 and “any other sprint the team needed me in.”

Track and Field Coach Kyle Morey praised Rapps as an athlete and as a person and said, “Ali truly does exemplify what the Don Morris Award is all about. She is a three-sport standout, a natural leader, a great student, and an active member of the community.”

“On the track, it is very clear that Ali is the leader of our team,” he said. “The other girls on the team look to her as the example, which has resulted in a great deal of team success for us as well.”

“On top of three sports, school, and a social life, Ali works as a nanny,” Morey said. “You may have seen some of the children that she nannies attending a tennis match, or cheering her on during senior night of basketball, or even coming to track practice with her from time to time. The way that these children look at her in admiration and watch to see the example that she sets really shows the reach of her impact. Her legacy will live on here in Geneseo for a very long time.”

“Ali is the perfect example of the type of person and the type of athlete that every coach wants to work with,” he added. “I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity.”

In addition to setting records and qualifying for State in track, Rapps played point guard for the Lady Leafs basketball team that finished the season with a 31-2 record after winning the Regional Championship and held a No. 1 State ranking for the first time in GHS history.

In basketball, Rapps’ earned the team-high 126 assists, had 72 steals, and averaged 8.3 points per game.

GHS Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach Scott Hardison said, “Ali Rapps is a great athlete, but an even better person. She is a great teammate and works very hard to be a better athlete every day. She is a role model to young girls in our community and always takes the time to talk to the kids who look up to her. My daughter thinks the world of Ali because of how she treats her and Ali does this to all the younger kids.”

Hardison added, “The Don Morris Award is given to the best multi-sport athlete in the Western Big 6. Ali epitomizes this award. She went to State in tennis and track and was the starting point guard on a 31-2 record basketball team. Who else could compete with that?”

She didn’t just excel in track and basketball, Ali Rapps also made a name for herself on the tennis courts when she qualified for State in tennis with her doubles partner, senior Annie Turpin. The pair went 26-10 and finished second at the WB 6 meet.

Rapps has committed to run track at Division I Belmont University in Nashville, TN, in the fall.

Her plans are to major in interior design with a minor in marketing and she said she chose Belmont “because of their top rated interior design school combined with the ability to run track at the Division I level. It was the best combination that I found throughout my college visits. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee.”

Her athletic career wasn’t just on GHS teams as she also played on numerous travel sports teams including: Ballers, Midwest Shooters, All Iowa Attack, and MVTC.

“By being involved in so many sports, I’ve been so lucky to meet so many great people,” she said. “Some of my closest friends were found throughout sports.”

“I have been playing sports ever since I can remember,” Rapps said. “I played any sport I could growing up, but in high school I stuck with tennis, basketball and track all four years.”

When asked about the number of medals she has earned, Rapps shared, “I have been lucky enough to win nine state medals in my three trips to State track and bringing home two State team trophies with my teammates.”

The track season was cancelled during her sophomore year of high school due to guidelines in place from the pandemic.

“My favorite sport is track,” she admitted. “I love the competitive environment individually, but also that there is such a great team environment. I especially love the relays. Running alongside my friends and knowing we all were doing our best for each other was a really special experience.”

When asked to share a favorite memory from track, Rapps said, “Having so much success as a team, and being able to bring home state trophies with your best friends is a blast.”

She also was named Quad City All Metro Honorable Mention for three years and was the Defensive Player of the Year for three years.

In tennis, she received All Metro Honorable Mention in her junior and senior years of high school.

And the talented athlete is already in training for track at Belmont by beginning the school’s lifting and running program.

In addition to her accomplishments in sports, Rapps also ranked high academically and was in National Honor Society, Link Crew, Athletic Leadership Group, Social Spotlight, FCA, TFCA and Parish Council Student Representative.

She works as a nanny this summer and said, “I am a nanny for two great kids, Hayes and Nina, and they bring me so much joy! Our summers are filled with fun!”

The daughter of Paul and Alisande Rapps, Ali has five siblings, Becca, a nurse in St. Louis; Drew, an accountant with PWC; Colby, a college student; Jake, a junior at GHS, and Lizzie, a GHS freshman.

ABOUT THE DON MORRIS MEMORIAL AWARD:

The Don Morris Memorial Award is named after the late Alleman Catholic High School Athletic Director and Coach. Coach Morris passed away in 1983. He was one of the founding fathers of the Western Big 6 Conference….He coached at Alleman High School for 33 years and was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1975 as a coach and as a player. He also has been selected to the Quad City Sports Hall of Fame and the St. Ambrose University Hall of Fame.

The award was created in his memory to honor student-athletes in the Western Big 6 Conference that excel in multiple sports, school and community activities.

CRITERIA:

-Nominees must be a senior.

-No athlete shall be nominated that does not have a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

-Must be a multi-sport athlete.

-Awards earned in the school, community, conference and state will be considered when deciding the winners.

-Each conference school may nominate one boy and one girl with selections made by the principal and athletic director.