Smith-Cotton High School senior Saige Peterson is the 2017 female Wendy's High School Heisman Scholarship winner for Missouri.

S-C High student reporter Lexi Venable provides the following story:

For Smith-Cotton senior Saige Peterson, being the 2017 female state winner of the Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholarship is pretty sweet. But it gets sweeter.

“I can’t forget the free Frosties,” Peterson joked.

Peterson, who holds the S-C record in the girls 800 meters, explained that the initial section of the scholarship application involved competing with many other students at S-C.

“I filled the scholarship out knowing I was competing against some really good athletes within school,” she said.

After being named the school’s female representative and receiving news that she was a state finalist, Peterson was eligible for the second half of the application, which she said consisted of many essay questions asking about her character and adversities she has had to overcome.

“When I found out I was a state finalist I was so surprised, but when I got the state winner I think it's safe to say I freaked out,” she said.

As a state winner, she received a $1,000 scholarship, a silver medal, a patch for her letter jacket - and those free Frosties.

An applicant must be an outstanding student, athlete, and member of the community. Peterson went above and beyond the requirements, especially when it comes to her track accomplishments. She was ranked third in the state last year in the 800 meters and came off the season as West Central Conference and district champion, as well as setting a personal record.

Brad Hagedorn, physical education teacher and track coach at S-C, said Peterson is very deserving of the scholarship. He adds that it is a great recognition of not only her athletic accomplishments, but also her character and hard work. To him, it’s no surprise that she was selected. He has always known how hard she works.

“This is just a simple way for the rest of the world to find out,” said Hagedorn.

Jad Mulgrew, S-C track assistant coach, agrees with Hagedorn that Peterson earned the honor in every aspect.

“For an athlete, if they look back on years of pain, sweat, frustrations, tears, blood and road rash; this is that pat on the back from onlookers for the work that you did to shape your soul,” he said. Mulgrew adds that Peterson’s countless hours of hard work and dedication to track alone do not completely sum up who she is as a person.

“She deserves this scholarship because she is a person of great quality,” he said.

Peterson now has two once-in-a-lifetime opportunities lined up. As a model, she has been offered to travel the world to continue her work, where she would do online college courses. For her track accomplishments, she has the chance to run at the Division I level at the school of her dreams. Although Peterson has not made her final decision, she said that regardless of what she chooses to do, she will attend college and get a degree - and the Wendy’s Heisman scholarship will go toward funding those college plans.

Currently owning her own business, Peterson has developed a passion for entrepreneurship.

“I know I can't model or run forever, so I plan on dual majoring in entrepreneurship and digital marketing, with the hope of opening my own business one day that helps companies further the digital aspects in their businesses,” she said.

Peterson feels blessed to have won the scholarship and be recognized for her accomplishments.

“I know there were many deserving applicants, and it was truly an honor,” she said.

Story courtesy of S-C High student reporter, Lexi Venable

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