The highest honor

Earning the 2014 Terry Griffey award was a fitting way for Hank Crimmins to cap off his memorable St. Edmond athletic career.

After competing in baseball, football, basketball and wrestling during his four years in high school, Crimmins was recently voted as the most outstanding boy in the Gael senior class.

“I thought the other guys were all deserving,” said Crimmins. “I was pretty surprised I won it, to be honest.”

On the diamond, Crimmins posted a .413 career batting average with 121 hits, 84 RBI, 77 runs and 25 stolen bases in 95 games. Pitching-wise, Crimmins went 17-10 overall with 193 strikeouts over 165 2/3 innings of work, allowing just 138 hits.

Crimmins was a three-time all-North Central Conference and all-district nominee, while landing on the Class 2A all-state third team this summer as an outfielder.

“Statistically, Hank was our best player this year,” SEHS head coach Joe Shanks said. “He was a guy we relied on throughout the season to come through, which he did many times. He was also a team captain. I just thought Hank made terrific improvement in the outfield after originally starting out as an infielder.

“He’s one of the few kids I’ve coached that can bring his hands in on an inside pitch and still drive it. Hank has a plus arm and the ability to put the fat part of the bat on the ball. With his leadership on the field, he kind of brought everyone together before and after practices.”

Crimmins will continue his baseball career at the NJCAA Div. II level for Iowa Central.

“Baseball is my favorite sport,” Crimmins said. “I’ve always liked it ever since I was little. I think it’ll be fun playing at Iowa Central, mainly since I already know a lot of guys on the team.”

Last fall, Crimmins helped the Gaels to a 1A, District 2 crown and their first-ever state runner-up finish in football. St. Edmond went 13-1 overall, losing its only game to four-time defending state champion Iowa City Regina in the title round. For his individual efforts, Crimmins was tabbed to the all-1A, District 2 top squad as a specialist.

Crimmins made 56 of 62 PAT attempts, while averaging 49.6 yards on his 68 kickoffs, including seven touchbacks. Offensively, Crimmins rushed for 200 yards and two scores. From his strong safety spot, Crimmins notched 71 tackles and two interceptions.

“Regina was a tough team that some people would say was kind of a buzzsaw,” said Crimmins. “I wouldn’t trade the whole ride for anything, though. We were only supposed to be about a .500 team before the season started, so we definitely exceeded our expectations.”

Legendary head coach Dick Tighe appreciated all the attributes Crimmins brought to the program.

“He was very versatile,” Tighe said of Crimmins. “Hank was just a good positive team leader that seems to have those qualities in all sports.”

Crimmins saw action in 36 varsity basketball games over two years, combining for 42 rebounds, 23 points, 21 assists, 11 steals and four blocks. As a senior, Crimmins registered 12 victories in his lone season of wrestling.

“I had a lot more friends that were out for wrestling, and I wasn’t really built (physically) to play basketball,” said Crimmins. “I wrestled up until high school and had a lot of fun. Looking back, I would definitely do it again.”

Crimmins credits his brothers and sisters – Max, Ben, Rose and Liz – for impacting his love of sports. His parents, Denny and Maureen, and coaches also provided unwavering support. Liz was the recipient of the 2009 Carol Donnelly award, which is handed out annually to the top girl student-athlete at St. Edmond.

“My brothers and sisters are the ones that got me hooked on (sports),” Crimmins said. “They had a huge impact on everything I did. My parents always made me strive to be succesful, too, and my coaches didn’t accept anything different.”

Away from sports, Crimmins participated in National Honor Society, Respect for Life and several other church activities.