Sam Hefler has made the most of his high school experience at John Burroughs.
The senior, who will graduate later this month, has been involved in numerous clubs and functions at the school. He was the senior class president this year and one of the biggest supporters of Bomber sports when he is not on the field.
He was leading the cheers last weekend when the Bomber girls defeated MICDS to win the state lacrosse championship.
Hefler was a catcher on the Bomber baseball team but his favorite times were probably on the football team as he was part of two teams which made it to the Edward Jones Dome. The Bombers lost a pair of heart-breakers in the championship game but those moments spent on the turf at the Dome and all the preparations to get there will be fond memories for Hefler, who has been named the Ladue-Frontenac Patch Male Athlete of the Year.
"I have been in a lot clubs which have been fun and great," Hefler said. "But I would have to say that football is definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had."
The expectations coming into this year were not high as the Bombers lost some great players from the 2010 team.
"Bear Kaminer and I were both devastated after the loss in the championship game last year," Hefler said. "But he said don't worry, we will be back. I didn't know if I believed him or not and there were a lot of questions after the loss to MICDS.
"But we got it together and it was so rewarding to have all 11 guys lay it all out there and accomplish what we did. It was an honor to be one of the first captains for Coach (Gus) Frerotte. We knew who he was obviously, but you don't really know what to expect from a new coach. But he brought in a new intensity and made everyone accountable. He was a great guy who really cared about his players."
And Frerotte certainly was impressed by the play of his linebacker, who finished the season with 177 tackles.
"Sam was the ultimate leader and player for us," Frerotte said. "He is a very tough guy who plays with so much energy. He is fearless and has a passion for the game. He is a perfect example of the fact that it is not always about the size but the heart."
John Burroughs athletic director Peter Tasker could appreciate Hefler as an athlete, student (he taught him in Geometry) and supporter of John Burroughs.
"He is a natural leader," Tasker said. "As a former CEO of a company, I often look for the qualities in someone around whom I could build a company. Sam possesses all of those qualities: leadership; citizenship; intelligence; empathy; strength and the ability to laugh at himself.
"He gave me a sense that he appreciates this great journey he is on and he truly enjoys sharing it with the people around him."
Hefler will attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where he will concentrate on academics. But sports is not entire out of the picture. He said he is going to try out for the varsity rugby team.