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Loudonville High football fans will remember the high school football lineman Austin Cary, who led the Redbird football team to its first playoff berth in a decade in the fall of 2012.
Cary just graduated from Malone University in Canton, earning a Bachelor of Science in biology while starting all four years as a lineman for the Division II football Pioneers. What people might not remember about Cary is that in addition to being an outstanding high school football player, starring not just in football but wrestling and track, is that he was an academic heavyweight, graduating third in his high school Class of 2013.
The son of Trev and Karen Cary of rural Danville, Austin continued his academic excellence at Malone, earning a 3.84 accumulated grade point average, giving him the Magna Cum Laude distinction with his Bachelor of Science degree. He is now serving an internship in the laboratories of the Ohio EPA in Columbus, preparing samples for water pollution testing.
"The internship, which ends in a few weeks, is for gaining experience in the laboratory field," Cary said. "My first major experience goal is to enroll in the Medical Technical Program at Akron Children's Hospital, but I can't enter that program until next July, so right not I am applying like crazy to find another laboratory job to work in prior to starting that program."
Cary's academic performance did not go unnoticed in athletic circles at Malone. This spring, as a member of the track team, he received his second recognition as a Division II Academic All-American, earning one for football in the fall. He was the first Division II football player ever to be recognized as an academic all-American, he said, and is Malone's first two-time academic all-American.
He said he greatly appreciated the Christian atmosphere provided at Malone, "a teaching atmosphere that inspired me to maintain my Christian principles while experiencing success both academically and on the football field."
Cary broke into the Malone starting lineup in the middle of his freshman year.
"The first game I started was at Ashland University at about the mid-point of the season, and I was thrilled there that I recorded a solo sack in that game," he said.
While Cary's football teams did not have great success, he enjoyed the football experience immensely.
"Our records over my four years were 2-9.1-10, 0-10 and 3-7, as we played in the very tough Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) my first three years," he said. "With an enrollment of less than 2,000, Malone was by far the smallest school in the league, while some of our opponent schools had enrollment of up to 30,000. We also had horrible travel distances to some league games, with Michigan Tech, in Houghton, Mich., an 15-hour drive from Canton.
"Our schedule got a little better this year when we switched to the new Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC), whose schools were mostly in Ohio," he continued. "I look for several more of the Ohio GLIAC schools to switch to the GMAC in coming years."
A factor that thrilled Austin at Malone is that two of his Redbird teammates followed him there, Ryan Weber, who now is a senior studying zoology; and his younger brother, Blake Cary, a junior nursing major, as well as both playing football. This spring, for the first time, he went out for college track, and had a great deal of success with the hammer throw and the weight throw, which is a heavy object that looks like a shot put with a chain on it.
"I went to state my senior year of high school throwing the shot, but I found the college shot, several pounds heavier than high school, very difficult," he said. "I had success with the hammer and weight throw, winning both events at the GMAC indoor track meet, and placing fifth in the outdoor meet."
Academically at Malone, while he got good grades, Austin admits he struggled at just what he was going to study.
"I started out as an undecided major, then thought about being a chiropractor, then took a hard look at becoming a high school teacher and coach, but finally decided on laboratory science," he said. "My love for sciences started at LHS with teachers David Spreng and Dan Weber."
His reasons for not becoming a teacher were related to the time on the job.
"With lab work, I can work and then go home and the job be over for the day, but with teaching, I learned, the job never ends," he said. "You teach all day and then go home and make out your lesson plans, and grade papers, before the next day. In the meantime, I have found I really love the lab work, and I am excited about opportunities to take it to the next level," he said.
He extended special thanks to his parents, and to his girlfriend, Kelly Sikula, "for all their support during my time at Malone."