RIDGELAND - Veritas senior Maryanna Story was named on Friday as the 23rd winner of the Don Souder Award - an honor bestowed annually to the top male and female scholar-athlete who competes at any of the 115 member-schools of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

Story helped lead the soccer, softball, basketball and track teams to numbers district, regional and class A championships. She was named to the All-MAIS teams for soccer, softball and basketball, and played a crucial role on championship track teams in all of her four years in high school.

Academically, she scored 31 on the ACT, carried a 3.95 grade point average and served as Salutatorian at graduation last Friday.

"My sisters have always set high standards and I just wanted to live up to them," Story said. "There's not much you can do to be sure you are going to win that award, but I thought that it was a good goal to have. Veritas really helped me along the way. If I had gone to another school, I would not have had the opportunities I had, and I hope it's great publicity for them."

Story, who was reached for comment Tuesday while attending college orientation at the University of Mississippi, won the award over two other finalists - Madison-Ridgeland Academy's Carmen Carter and Lamar Christian School's Ashley Hobson.

She is the second Veritas student to win the award, following Clara Gardner in 2010.

Story plans to major in history, with a minor in biology, in hopes to achieve her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

"Maryanna is just a very diligent person when it comes to athletics and academics," Veritas Director of Athletics Stacey Sikes said. "She is a great recipient of this award, and very deserving. She put forth so much effort in the classroom, and had enough left over for the sports fields."

The male recipient of the award was Benton Academy running back Kent Manor, who rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns and helped Benton to a District 4-A basketball title as a senior. Other male finalists included MRA's Sean Rawlings and Jackson Prep's Robert Mounger.