Class Acts: Barrington's Anna Mae King was queen of the classroom
Editor's note: Today, the Daily Herald prep sports staff begins a series of articles highlighting those student-athletes who were selected to the IHSA All-State Academic First Team.
While I watched her hit huge 3-pointers for Barrington's girls basketball team during its run to the Class 4A Sweet Sixteen, Anna Mae King was also one of the state's top divers at the IHSA state swimming meet with her second-place finish.
Somehow between her expertise in both sports, King was also the queen of the classroom.
While acing almost all of her classes the last four years, King's score of 34 on the ACT and the IHSA honor are the exclamation points on her academic resume.
"At a young age my parents (Michael and Katie) always pushed me to do my best in school," King said. "And I always tried my hardest in the classroom and with my homework. That's really how I started -- trying to be the best student I could be."
As a student at Barrington, King produced a 4.3 GPA as a National Honor Society member.
She plans to continue her education as a business major at Boston College, where she will also be a Division I diver for the women's swimming team.
"I don't really have any specific dream jobs in mind at this time," she said. "But I'm really excited for all the different options that business will give me."
King was excited to be involved in both basketball and diving at a young age.
Her diving background extends all the way back to third grade when she was at her family's lake house in Lake Geneva, Wis.
"I would always dive off the piers there," King recalled. "That's how it all started."
King's mother was a diver when she was young.
"When she saw me diving off the piers, she thought I was pretty good at it and she said 'hey, you should start diving classes,' " King said. "So she signed me up for some classes (at Barrington High School led by the swimming coach at the time) and I never stopped. I loved it."
Before she began diving, King was involved in basketball, the same sport her father played at Carmel High School in Mundelein.
"Basketball has always been a huge part of my family," she said. "Everyone has done it at some point. I started in first grade and never stopped."
Just like she never stopped in four years at Barrington High School.
"It was definitely tough at times," she said of her busy academic/sports schedule. "At times I would have to choose what I could fit in. I had to decide what practices I could go to because they sometimes conflicted with my other commitments.
"To balance everything, I really had to focus during the day. Sometimes I would use my lunch period to get my school work done so I had time to go to my practices after school."
It all paid off.
"I'm going to remember all my teams, all my teachers and all my coaches who helped shaped me into who I am today," King said. "They were all so important. I obviously can't pick one cause there are so many who have made such a big impact."
As for all-academic honors, King was thrilled.
"I was very happy when I found out," she said. "It's a great honor and I'm really excited."