Whether she was trying to ace a math test or going for a kill in volleyball, Kate Stromberg always went full-throttle in her high school career at Henry Clay.
The drive to succeed in the classroom and on the court earned Stromberg the 26th annual Tommy Bell Award, which honors the outstanding student-athlete in Fayette County.
Stromberg accepted the award at a luncheon Thursday from the sponsoring Lexington Rotary Club.
"Competition is a huge part of my life, not just in volleyball, but in school, too," she said. "I love competition."
Never miss a local story.
Stromberg will graduate next week with a 3.95 grade-point average in Henry Clay's Liberal Arts Academy.
"The academy has a very high-caliber set of students, so there's a lot of pressure to perform well," she said. "That competition helps drive me."
In volleyball, Stromberg led the Blue Devils to the state semifinals last fall and was first-team All-State.
"My favorite part was playing against great teams," she said. "Even if we lost, it was a great experience."
Stromberg will attend Florida Southern on academic and athletic scholarships.
Henry Clay volleyball coach Dale Grupe said Stromberg's legacy with the Blue Devils "will be that she taught her teammates how to compete. She had a drive to be the best she could be."
Stromberg found that success in academics and athletics had common ingredients.
"Focus is the biggest part of it," she said. "And surrounding yourself with people — great teammates and great friends — who will help you perform well."
Stromberg is on a pre-pharmacy track in academics for now, but that could change. Her choice of athletic endeavors, however, isn't about to change any time soon.
Asked what she hopes to be doing 10 years from now, Stromberg had a quick answer: "Hopefully, still playing volleyball. I hope it's part of my life forever. I really love it."
The Lexington Rotary Club has sponsored the Tommy Bell Award since 1986, the year Bell, a community leader and highly respected pro football and college basketball official, died.