In what might be the highest honor any high school swimmer could receive, Franklin Central senior Rachel Schiffli couldn’t believe she was named the IHSAA’s Mental Attitude Award Winner.
“I was not expecting it at all actually,” Schiffli said. “My coach (Nick Stevens) kinda made us stay around for the end of the meet. I was a little bit confused because my events had already taken place, so I thought we were going to leave after that. He was like let’s stick around and keep watching the last couple events, so I was like OK (because) that didn’t really bother me. And my friends started recording me and I was confused. This guy started talking about the mental attitude award and I kinda put it together. But I didn’t really expect it all.”
Coach Nick Stevens nominated Schiffli for the award and found out from an IHSAA official during the state meet that Schiffli was the winner.
“Winning meets is always fun, going best times is always fun but the fact that we have somebody who, other than winning the state title, I think having the mental attitude winner is the highest honor anybody can win,” Stevens said.
Schiffli is the first Franklin Central athlete in any sport to win the Mental Attitude Award since 2000. The award consists of being a top 16 athlete in an event at the state meet in addition to volunteering and community work. She has worked in student government and became a member of National Honor Society her senior year. Outside of school, Schiffli has volunteered at Wheeler Mission, Servant’s Heart, Lord’s Pantry and Anna’s House. She was also a member of the Academic All-American Team. It’s not easy for a high schooler to do but the senior finds a way manage her time.
“It’s difficult but sometimes I kinda have to make sacrifices like in choosing to go have fun and hang out with my friends. I have to stay in, get my homework done and make sure I being efficient. All together I find it fairly easy to prioritize my time if I stick to a schedule.”
As part of the award, $1,000 was presented to Franklin Central High School’s general scholarship fund in her name. Her twin sister Reagan is also on the swim team as the sisters pushed each other in races. The Schiffli sisters won sectionals this season as part of the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams.
She was seventh in the 50 freestyle and ninth in the 100 butterfly. Schiffli was in the state meet her final three years and was an alternate on a relay team as a freshman. “It’s not very often that we get someone to win 2 individual events. She is among the few since 2002-2003 that’s had multiple events go to state and the fact that she’s done three years in a row is a huge accomplishment,” Stevens said.
Her senior season saw another milestone as Franklin Central won the Marion County meet for the first time in school history. Schiffli will swim for Akron University next year. She is thankful for the positive comments she received upon winning the Mental Attitude Award.
“A lot of people congratulated me afterwards,” Schiffli said, “I was just shocked with all the nice messages I got afterward. I think the end of my season put me in a good spot going into college. Gets me excited and motivated for the next four years to come.”