Calloway Lee

Calloway Lee was the MVP of Catonsville's football and wrestling teams this year, but his compassion is why he was named this year's Baltimore Sun Hayley Milbourn Integrity Award recipient. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / May 23, 2014)

In bold black letters across the back of Calloway Lee's Catonsville High wrestling hoodie are two words: Bone Crusher.

Take a quick glance at the senior heavyweight wrestler's 5-foot-9, 220-pound frame and couple that with his accolades as the captain and MVP of the Comets' football and wrestling teams, and the nickname is warranted.

But ask those around Lee, and they have different words for him. Once that hoodie comes off, the real Calloway Lee — one they say always puts others before himself — takes to the field or mat.

"I think he's probably one of the most caring athletes I've been around," Catonsville football coach Rich Hambor said of Lee, who plays defensive line and running back. "That's something that doesn't always go together, but he cares about everybody."


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For his selflessness, Lee will be presented with the seventh-annual Hayley Milbourn Integrity Award, which honors a local high school athlete who demonstrates extraordinary character. Lee will receive the award during Wednesday's boys and girls high school Athlete of the Year banquet at The Baltimore Sun.

Catonsville wrestling coach Eric Warm nominated the 17-year-old Lee for the integrity award based on his overall character, which was epitomized during one match from this season that Warm says he'll never forget.

In the semifinals of the Baltimore County wrestling tournament, Lee was leading Western Tech heavyweight Nico Freeman, 1-0. Lee was on top with his opponent's arm locked behind his back.

But Freeman had sustained an injury in his other arm, and though he tried to get the referee's attention with a twirling finger to stop the match, the ref was not in position to see Freeman.

Rather than exploit the advantage he had, Lee released Freeman's locked arm, stood up and motioned to the official.

"He was hurt. I could see it in his face," Lee recalled. "Some other wrestlers, they'd keep going because they'd want to hurt the person. Me, I don't want to hurt you. I want to win the right way."

The referee allotted Freeman the full injury time, which he used to recuperate before returning to the mat, and Lee still went on to claim a 3-0 victory. After the match, Western Tech coach Juan Solera approached Warm to show his appreciation.

"[Juan] came up to me and said, 'Thank you for that. Calloway is a class act,'" Warm recalled. "I was actually surprised that Calloway did it. Because in wrestling, most guys, as soon as they feel a weakness, they just punch their opponent over and finish the match. For Calloway to do that, it just shows how he does the right thing at the right times."

Without hesitation, Lee said that if he found himself in the same situation he'd "do it all over again."

Lee's actions in that moment conjure the origin of the Hayley Milbourn Integrity Award. Milbourn was a senior golfer at Roland Park who was in line to win her third straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship in 2007, when she realized that she struck the wrong ball toward the end of her round.

Nobody observed the violation, so she could have gotten away with it, but she still reported it to tournament officials, accepting an automatic disqualification.

When Warm called Lee to let know that he won this year's award, Lee thought he'd done something wrong.

"I thought it was something where I cheated. So I'm like, 'Wait. What did I do?'" Lee said with a laugh while recalling the conversation. "He explained the award to me and said, 'Can you think of any moment?' Then I said, 'Yeah. The county semifinals.'"

Livingston Lee, Calloway's father, was at that semifinal match but had no clue what his son had done until he found out about the award. But he wasn't surprised.

"He wants to win, but not at all costs," Livingston Lee said. "That's just him."

On Friday, Lee will graduate from Catonsville, and he'll attend Edinboro University in Pennsylvania this fall, where he plans to join the school's Division II football and Division I wrestling programs.

But maybe he'll leave the nickname he gained as a freshman on the football team behind. Instead of Bone Crusher, Lee wants to be remembered at Catonsville by another set of words.

"A nice, respectful young man," he said. "One that was always a leader on and off the field, on and off the mat"

adodson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/dodgerthat


Athlete of the Year nominees


BOYS
Zach Abey, Archbishop Spalding (football, rugby)
Wyatt Cook, McDonogh (football, wrestling)
Phil Booth, Mount St. Joseph (basketball)
Cory Daniel, River Hill (wrestling, football)
Ryan Forsyth, Severna Park (cross country, indoor track, track and field)
Chris Heydrick, River Hill (cross country, track)
Brock Turnbaugh, Hereford (football, wrestling, lacrosse)
George Campbell, McDonogh (soccer)
Shack Stanwick, Boys’ Latin (lacrosse)
Robert Miller, City (indoor track, track and field)
GIRLS
Sydney Biniak, Howard (volleyball, basketball, track and field)
Anna Bialczak, McDonogh (soccer)
Megan Whittle, McDonogh (field hockey, indoor track, lacrosse)
Ellie McNulty, Broadneck (lacrosse, soccer)
Linnea Gonzales, Patterson Mill (field hockey)
Olivia Gruver, Franklin (indoor track, track and field)
Ellie Gonzalez, Catholic (cross country, indoor track, track and field)
Isabel Griffith, Dulaney (cross country indoor track, track and field)
Teira Pendleton, Poly (basketball, volleyball)
Danielle Edwards, McDonogh (basketball, track and field)