Every spring, we sift through about three dozen applications to select the Carroll County Sun Scholar-Athlete Team, trying to select the top male and female student athletes at each of our five public high schools, Carroll Christian High and Western Maryland College.

We further sift through those winners to pick an overall male and female winner in the county.

But every year, when we travel around the county to present the plaques and savings bonds to the winners, I learn about other gifted student athletes who never applied for our award.

And that hurts, because we take great pains to encourage applications. We run copies of the application in our newspaper frequently in the winter and spring, we send copies of the ballot to each high school coach (and tell them to make as many extra copies as they need) and we have information about the contest read with the morning announcements at the schools.

This year, we even plan to run the ballot in the various schoolnewspapers.

That's because we want to honor all of the top scholar athletes in the county.

We have only two qualifications to enter:

* You must have earned a varsity letter during the current school year (or be a likely spring letter-winner).

* You should have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Entering is simple.

You fill out our application, giving us as much detail as possible about your academic, athletic and community service. We also ask for a briefessay listing athletic and academic goals and how you would like to be thought of by peers, teachers and family.

Transcripts (unofficial copies are fine), college test scores, and letters of recommendations from teachers, coaches, employers and community leaders also should be sent. Those letters need not be addressed specifically to this contest; copies of letters of recommendation for college applicationswork just as well.

The more information you give us, the easier it is to break ties between three-sport athletic standouts with 4.0 averages (we had several of those last year).

Finally, we also need a sharp, color facial yearbook portrait photo that's 2 1/2" by 3 1/2"(very important).

Send all of your information to: Scholar-Athlete Team, the Carroll County Sun, 15 E. Main St., Westminster, MD 21157-5052. Entries must be received by Monday, May 6, 1991.

This is the sixth year of the program, and we'd like to select male and female winners from all seven schools, something we haven't been able to do yet. We came closest last year, with 13 winners. And, more importantly, we'd like to make sure we don't hear about any more 4.0, three-sport student-athletes when we travel around to this year's awards ceremonies.

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