By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | June 14, 2018
His career started with an award and, now Gary Raupers caps his career with another award.
The Notre Dame standout finished his first year on varsity as The Daily & Sunday Review Newcomer of the Year for the region. Now, he finishes it as the Review's Athlete of the Year for the region.
"It's an honor, there are so many athletes around this area that are really good at what they do," Raupers said. "I'm blessed to be able to be the head of that I guess.
"The newcomer of the year, that was a really big surprise. I was really excited about that and thankful and this is even better."
There was plenty that Raupers had to deal with this year, including the passing of his father toward the end of basketball season.
Raupers knows that his dad would have wanted him to continue with sports no matter what. He also knows that his dad would be excited to see him get the athlete of the year honor.
"I feel like if my dad was here, what would be different?" Raupers said of playing sports. "He'd just be pushing me a little more. I feel like I had that push for him. With him not being here, everything I did was for him, my family and everything I started playing sports for."
"I bet you he'd be sitting out here with his camera out, smiling as huge as possible right now (when Raupers got the award)."
The school year started with a good football season for Notre Dame that ended in the Section 4 playoffs.
"Football season was a lot of fun," Raupers said. "I think that was the best sports team, the most tight knit group I've ever been on and I just enjoyed myself every second of the year. Losing to one team (Tioga) that went so far in the playoffs, not a lot to be upset about."
Things were tough in basketball season after the passing of his father. But, Raupers knows having the sport, and his team helped him a lot.
"It was wild, everything that was going on," Raupers said. "There were a couple games I played where I didn't really feel like playing, and that's the first time I ever didn't feel like playing. But, I kept playing and I was with my teammates and I think basketball was obviously a huge help from everything going on because it took my mind off it and let me get into another world."
In baseball season the Crusaders had a younger team and Raupers enjoyed being one of the leaders on the team.
"I have so much fun with the younger kids," Raupers said. "I always loved playing with the younger kids because they are the future of the program at the school and if I can help them out, be a good teammate to them, a mentor, I am happy I am able to help them out."