West Vigo's Fennell, Murphy sweep McMillan honors
May 24—The West Vigo High School Senior Awards Program got off to a rousing start Wednesday morning when two senior Vikings, Katelyn Fennell and Carter Murphy, were named winners of the 2023 McMillan Awards as Vigo County's top athletes.
Fennell, a four-year starter in soccer and basketball and a tennis player (at the behest of a friend and teammate) as a senior, is the third female Viking to win the award in the past four seasons. Annalyse Dooley won in 2020 and Torie Buchanan the following year.
Murphy, generally considered one of the state's best high school baseball players (and its best third baseman, although he's a shortstop this spring), is the first West Vigo boy to win the award since Tyler Wampler — another Viking who went on to play baseball at Indiana State — in 2010. It was West Vigo's first sweep of the award in 30 years, since Tim Stuck (football, baseball) and Tracy Richey (volleyball, basketball, softball) won in 1993.
"We're proving to this class that at West Vigo, we work our butts off," Murphy said after receiving the award.
"It was very surprising [to win the award] and I'm very honored," Fennell said, "and it's very cool that Carter got it too."
Fennell might be best known as a basketball player who scored more than 1,000 points and who had to fill a lot of roles for the Vikings in her career. In soccer, she was a four-time all-conference player for a team that won 70% of its games who has the single-season and career records for assists (47) while also scoring 43 goals. She has won character awards from the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
And, incidentally, she is the valedictorian of her class.
"I already have 50 college credits," said the ISU-bound Fennell, whose athletic careers are over, "so I hope to graduate early and go to med school."
The McMillan Award?
"I knew about the award," she said, "but I didn't think I was gonna get it. It was a big shock, and I'm very thankful."
Not shocked? Katelyn's twin sister Madilyn, seated next to her on the awards day stage. "She looked at me and said, 'That's you,' " said Katelyn, who said she's considering being a volunteer soccer coach for the Vikings in the fall.
Murphy, whose familiarity with the McMillan Award includes two family members who are previous winners, was also surprised.
"You don't think about [the McMillan Award], but you do," he admitted Wednesday. "It's always been a huge goal of mine."
Murphy has started every game of his West Vigo baseball career — he also lettered in football as a sophomore — and has a career batting average of .492. Before his Sycamore baseball career begins next spring, he'll also play for the Rex this coming summer.
It also wouldn't be a shock if he were chosen in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft, and a professional future in the sport has probably crossed his mind.
Wednesday morning, however, his focus was just a few hours into the future.
"This is awesome," he said while discussing the McMillan Award, "but I've got a game tonight [when the Vikings open sectional play at Owen Valley]. We want to make sure the season is as special as it should be."