One was known for encouraging those around her, whether in victory or in defeat.
The other didn't possess the best physical skills, but was willing to fill in wherever he was needed, whether it was playing any of five positions on the football field or raising money for his team off the field.
For Nicole Blimline, a forward for the Patapsco basketball team, and Kevin Groszkowski, an all-purpose player for the Franklin football team, those qualities were enough to earn each a 1992 McCormick Unsung Heroes Award at a ceremony last night at the Hunt Valley Inn.
Guest speaker Mary Lou Retton, winner of five medals during the 1984 Summer Olympics, including the first gold for an American gymnast, was among more than 700 people who attended the banquet, which honored 100 nominees representing football and women's basketball players from 64 schools in the Baltimore area. It was the 52nd year that McCormick has sponsored the Unsung Heroes banquet.
In being named the 28th and 29th recipients of the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship, which was established in 1969, both Blimline and Groszkowski will receive scholarships with a four-year value of $14,000.
Blimline, who lives in Baltimore, will attend Towson State in the fall and plans to become a teacher. Her high school coach Nancy Woodside, said Blimline's teaching qualities were evident during the basketball season.
"On and off the court, she is an unselfish individual, looking out for others before thinking of herself," Woodside said. "Through her unselfishness, commitment, teamwork and the team spirit she generates, she made my job easier."
Blimline, teary-eyed, thanked her coaches and family for their support.
"I'm really nervous, but I'd like to thank Mrs. Woodside for her support," Blimline said.
Groszkowski, who lives in Reisterstown, played mostly wide receiver for Franklin but also filled in as a defensive back, outside linebacker, split end, wingback, tight end and quarterback. He also collected more than $3,600 in advertisements for the annual football program during his four years at the school.
"I know I didn't have the physical ability, but my coaches and my family always encouraged me over the years," said Groszkowski, a senior class president and National Honor Society member the last three years who will attend Harvard. "I never had the kind of success as someone with more size, strength and speed, but they encouraged me anyway."
In addition to the scholarships, Blimline and Groszkowski received trophies and watches. Before the awards were announced, Retton, who recently was named a special adviser on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, acknowledged the athletes who were standouts for their teams, despite not having starring roles.
"I look out at this group and I see a group of winners," said Retton, a West Virginia native who lives in Houston. "You may not be the star of your team, but you have been noticed and you are a winner."