ALPENA, Mich. — Monday afternoon, Alpena High school recognized two seniors for this year’s athlete of the year award. Allie DeRocher was selected as the top female athlete, while Declan Genova was named the top male athlete.
Athlete of the year runs in the DeRocher family. Allie’s older brother (Chris DeRocher) was selected as the top male athlete in 2019. As a Wildcat, Allie played sports year-round (volleyball, basketball, and softball).
DeRocher’s biggest achievement in her senior year was being named first team all-Big North Conference in basketball. Allie leaves Alpena High with multiple all-Big North Conference honors in both basketball and volleyball. To add to her impressive resume, DeRocher earned all-region honors for volleyball in three consecutive seasons (2018-2020).
“It’s really cool to be recognized as a top athlete in my class,” said DeRocher. “There’s a lot of cool names on this list, so to be put on there is also really cool.”
For Declan Genova, all it took was one wrestling season to be selected as the male athlete of the year. Declan had a remarkable season on the mat. With over 20 wins in his one season at Alpena High, Declan earned all-Big North Conference. In addition, at districts he placed first overall in his weight class (145) and was able to punch his ticket to states.
At first, moving from North Dakota to Michigan in a pandemic wasn’t a smooth transition for Declan. New area, new school, and new wrestling team. However, he managed to fit right in and made the most of it in his final year of high school.
“I’m really proud of myself. Coming into a new state, a lot of people can see that as an obstacle,” said Genova. “I think I thrive in that environment and I did pretty well overall.”