Allison and Anderson win O’Melia Award for Rock Island High School | QC varsity

Rock Island’s Emily Allison and Marion Anderson received one of the school’s most prestigious awards Wednesday night with the James Omelia Jr. Award.

The pair received an award for being the best male and female multi-sport athlete in Rock Island. The James O’Melia Jr. Award is given to Athletic Award in memory of RIHS alumnus James Omelia, Jr., and is distributed by the Rock Island-Milan Booster Club in association with the RIHS Department of Sports.

Voting is based on the following criteria: 1) Outstanding sportsmanship 2) Sportsmanship 3) Leadership 4) Honesty 5) Personality. Regarded as Rock Island Athlete of the Year, each of the recipients receives a plaque, their names are added to a permanent large display of the O’Melia Prize at Rock Island High School, and each receives a $1,000 college scholarship funded by the Booster Club.

Alison was chosen as the winner after excelling in volleyball and basketball. She was the third member of her family to win the award, along with her uncle Chris Allison and her cousin Colin Kartsins.

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“It means a lot because it showed me that a lot of hard work pays off,” Allison said. “Two other people in my family have won the prize, so it meant a lot to me to win it, and it kind of kept going. I wasn’t expecting to win it since there were so many other great female athletes in my class.”

Allison was selected twice to the Quad-City Times All-Metro Volleyball team, selected to the Illinois-Iowa All-Star team, selected to the All-Western Big 6 Conference first team, and selected as her team captain for the small and big seasons.

She finished her first season with 237 kills and 27 aces. Allison also collected 181 holes and 18 blocks to help the Rocky’s best season in nearly a decade.

“Winning a regional spot for the first time since 2013 was something I’ve been working towards personally since I was a student, and as soon as we realized we had a chance, we believed in ourselves,” Allison said. “We are working to win this title.”

Allison was a member of the Rocky’s Elite Eight basketball team that finished the 2018-19 season 30-2, was named to the all-championship Booster Club Thanksgiving Tourney, and was named captain of the team in her first year. She scored the team’s top nine points in the first half of Rocky’s 52-41 win over the then-number. 1 Geneseo seeded and undefeated.

“We didn’t get a regional player, but we still beat the state’s first team and beat Mullen twice, at home and at Wharton,” Allison said. “That was really cool, but the win over Geneseo was probably one of the best experiences of the year.”

She is also a distinguished researcher with four IHSA Scholastic Awards, four Western Big 6 Academic Awards, and a Charles O. Austin Jr. Scholarship. Scholastic, and was a three-year member of the National Honor Society.

Allison will continue her education and career in volleyball at Central Illinois College in the fall.

Anderson was named the man after great seasons on the court and in sneakers. During his Rocky sports career, he earned six college speeches – three in football and three in basketball.

“It means a lot, especially considering they call it an award for the highest-grossing athlete in the Rocky,” Anderson said. “Recognition of the previous winners certainly means a lot.

“I was a little surprised that he could have gone to any other athlete given how talented our school is, but I’m glad she came to me. It means a lot.”

In basketball, Anderson received a special honor from the Illinois All-State Basketball Coaches Association after receiving the All-Western Big 6 Conference’s second-team honor. Anderson led WB6 with 8.4 rebounds per game in the league. He was also among the top 10 points (12.1) and assists (3) in each match.

In football, Anderson set a Rocky School record for receiving touchdowns en route to earning an All-Western Big 6 Conference first team honor on both offense and defense. It was also named by the “Preparation District” to the 6A 2nd Team All-State Offense.

He earned 43 passes for 671 team-high yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I remember having a lot of fun with my mates in the locker room and facing adversity almost every night, but I still would go out and be together,” Anderson said. “I definitely remember a few games from each season, but overall it was really fun.”

Off the field, he was a member of the Student Council and the African American Heritage Club. He also served on the board of the Rock Island Police Community Relations Committee. After receiving college offers in football and basketball, he decided to take his talents to Lewis University Basketball.

During his time as a student, James Omelia Jr. was an outstanding multi-sport athlete. He graduated in 1966 and has gone on to be a dedicated supporter and ardent fan of Rocky Athletics. However, Jim’s life was cut short, and he died in a drowning accident on May 27, 1981.

Award recipients are nominated by coaches, teachers, and school administrators. The first award was introduced in 1982, and there have been 73 athletes who have received the James Omelia Jr. Athletic Award since that time.

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