NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The 2017 Union County Interscholastic Association Conference Scholar-Athlete award has been earned by seniors Lauren Pope and Hudson Barth, as they have both excelled on the field athletically and off the field academically over the course of their four years in high school.

“It means a lot to win something like this,” said Barth.  “It’s nice that there is an award that recognizes people who work hard to succeed in both because I can assure you they work just as hard as the top-tier athletes and the top-tier scholars.”

“Winning this award means a lot because it means that my hard work has truly paid off,” said Pope.

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Each year, the school athletic department selects a male and female student athlete who embodies the qualities of an exceptional scholar athlete—leadership, intelligence, dedication, and motivation—striving for greatness in athletics and academics. The following criteria were guidelines used to choose the 2017 UCIAC scholar athletes: Nominee must be a graduating senior; nominee should have participated in extra-curricular activities; nominee must have participated in an UCIAC sponsored varsity sport; nominee must have exhibited athletic and academic excellence.

Barth, a standout on the football field, is furthering both his academic and athletic careers at William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia this upcoming summer.  The Tribe, who play in the Colonial Athletic Conference, are in one of the top conferences in Division 1 (AA), and Barth can’t wait to resume his football career down south.

“I’m very excited to move on to the next level,” said Barth.  “To think I’ll be on the field surrounded by division one athletes is still amazing to me because I don’t really feel like one yet.”

“I feel like I just got really lucky, although I do acknowledge that I worked very hard to get where I am.”

Not only will Barth be putting in a lot of work on the football field, but he is also gearing up for what will be a great education he will receive at the university, which he is just as excited for as football.

“I’m really looking forward to the fall.  I can’t wait to interact with new people and be able to participate in a different learning setting.  I think when you have free reign over what classes you take, you enjoy what you learn about more and it doesn’t feel like as much as a chore.”

Pope, took a different route on her athletic path in high school, as opposed to Barth who primarily focused on football, Pope was a cross country star as well as a dominant defender on the girls’ lacrosse team.

She was voted top defender in the Independence Conference as one of the backbones of the conference champion Lady Pioneers, on top of being a top runner on the girls’ cross-country team, where she was named first team all-Valley Division.

Despite all of her success in athletics in high school, she will be continuing her academic career just south of Barth, where she will attend Clemson University. 

At Clemson, Pope will continue to run and play lacrosse, but at the club or intramural level.

While both student-athletes are continuing to go down different paths athletically, they both have a similar mindset when it comes to balancing the two time-consuming fields.

“It’s hard to stay focused in both athletics and school at the same time but I kept myself on track by constantly reminding myself how important both things are to me,” said Pope.

“I just take it day by day,” said Barth.  “Every day has a different dynamic that depends on what time of year it is and what’s going on in school.  It’s overwhelming to look too far into the future and think of all the work I’m going to have to do, so I just try to do the best I can in the given 24-hour time period, and get back to it the next day.”

TapInto New Providence wishes both Lauren and Hudson best of luck with whatever paths they cross in the future!