Athlete of the week: Missy Gifford
Missy Gifford

Though Pusch Ridge’s Missy Gifford is honored to win the 2008 Arizona Interscholastic Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, she’s a bit baffled by all the attention.

“It’s been a really good year. I’m just so thankful,” Gifford said. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming — it’s like, ‘How come I’m getting all these awards and everyone else is getting shafted?’”

On top of being a four-year varsity volleyball and basketball player — with a quartet of hoops titles — Giffords ran two seasons of varsity track, earning last year’s regional long jump win. She’s also a three-year National Honor Society member, and graduated third in her class this year.

Gifford’s academic drive landed her a Presidential Scholarship to the University of Arizona, where she plans to study pharmacy. Still, she values teamwork-oriented awards the most.

“Getting accomplishments isn’t any fun unless you can share it with someone,” Gifford said.

Gifford wasn’t born with a stunning jump shot, but instead spent long hours dialing in her technique. That effort, along with her will to share the limelight, is what makes her an example for future standouts, said coach Lonnie Tvrdy.

“She’s probably the hardest worker, the most diligent we’ve had around here,” Tvrdy said.  “It’s just rewarding to see that good people do finish first sometimes.”


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