St. C. grad wins national scholar-athlete award

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Luke Smith, son of John and Callie Smith, St. Clairsville, is one of six national scholar-athletes to be honored Aug. 22, by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.

The 2013 St. Clairsville High School graduate who will attend the University of Mount Union, Alliance, will receive the Louis G. Manesiotis Scholarship from AHEPA, and he is the only national scholar-athlete recipient from Ohio.

Other honorees are from Maryland, Illinois, Utah and two from Massachusetts.

Also being honored by the AHEPA as national honorees in athletics will be Niko Koutouvides, professional football player with the New England Patriots, and Toni Kokenis, a women’s basketball player from Stanford University.

Smith intends to play football at Mount Union. While in high school, he was one of the key cogs for coach Brett McLean’s defensive unit.

Serving as team captain, the Red Devils standout was first-team all-OVAC, all-Eastern District, all-Buckeye 8 and all-Times Leader.

Recipient of the George Strager Award, he also was an honorable mention All-Ohioan..

In the Division IV state title game in 2012, Smith led St. Clairsville with 11 solo tackles and 13 total stops.

While playing for the Red Devils last season, he recorded more than 160 tackles including 21 tackles for loss from his outside linebacker post. He also was strong against the pass with 10 pass breakups and three sacks.

Smith was a member of the French Club in St. Clairsville and is active in the Church of the Life-Giving Fountain, Zoodochos Peghe, in Martins Ferry.

The East Ohioan and other honorees will receive their awards at the athletic luncheon held at the 91st AHEPA Supreme Convention planned at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

“The 2013 national athletic honorees are all truly deserving of the accolades they will receive,” said Dr. John Grossomanides, AHEPA supreme president, “Each recipient has worked extremely hard and demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to reach great heights in their respective sport. Congratulations to all of the honorees.”

After noting a large number of applications for many deserving athletes had been reviewed, national athletic director Ike Gulas emphasized, “The honorees are to be highly commended for upholding the AHEPA ideals of family, individual excellence and community service. Each one is keenly aware of his or her heritage and culture and is committed to promoting these ideals.”