For four years, Chesterton head gymnastics coach Kathy Wilburn has been
“coach” and not always “mom” to Samantha Wilburn.
Saturday at the conclusion of the IHSAA State Gymnastics Meet she finally
got to be as Samantha was named the Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award
“It’s an honor to have anyone in your program bring an award like that back
to Chesterton,” Kathy said. “Sam went through a lot of adversity during her
career and kept the best interest of the team at heart. She’s always put the
team first and found time do all the other things that this award
“As parent’s, Greg and I couldn’t be more proud of her. It’s nice that other
people see the wonderful young lady that she’s become.”
Samantha, who will attend Purdue on an academic scholarship to major in
nursing, is the third Trojan to win the award. Assistant coach Lauren West
was the last Trojan to do it in 2003, while Mary Spencer won the award in
“It’s one of those things I’ve seen other people get as I was growing up and
you think ‘that’s pretty cool’,” Samantha said. “Gymnastics has been a big
part of my life. I’m really honored to finish my career this way.”
Samantha has been a Scholar-Athlete Award winner all four year with a grade
point average above 3.5 and is an Academic All-State honoree.
The award was renamed in 1997 to honor Mildred Ball, who served as the IHSAA
Asst. Commissioner from 1977 until her retirement in 1997. The recipient of
the award, who was nominated by her principal and coach, must excel in
mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.
Indiana Farm Bureau, an IHSAA corporate partner, presents a $1,000
scholarship to the school in the name of the recipient.