Penn's Mike Carroll does it all, both on the field and in the classroom

If you are wondering if there are things Penn senior Mike Carroll can't do, there are.

But they are hard to find behind all the things he's really good at.

Carroll embodies Penn high school in almost every way. He's full of school spirit. During the fall, he bleached his hair black and gold in honor of the Kingsmen colors.

And then of course he went and backed up that spirit on the football field. Carroll was outstanding during the 2008 campaign. During the regional finals against Merrillville, he intercepted three passes to lead Penn to victory and a trip to Semi-State.

Simply put. He was the area's best player on the area's best team.

He's also at the top of his game in the classroom. Mike is ranked 27th in Penn's senior class of more than 700.

We checked Mike out in Calculus this week. His humble and charismatic attitude even shined in a class derived from numbers.

Still a high school student (for a few more days anyway), he often gets into philosophical conversations with his older brother.

"I always feel it's best to have knowledge with you," Carroll explains. "You can carry yourself better if you have additional knowledge that you can present to people."

So it just makes sense with the grades and athletic ability, why Carroll is headed to Duke to play football.

One problem. While he is headed to Duke, it's not to play football.

It's to play baseball. He's even better at that. Carroll is sporting a batting average above .500 this season.

"Over the past 30 years, I've come across some very good people," Kingsmen baseball coach Greg Dikos says. "He has to rank athletically in the top 10 easily."

He's got the speed and the brains. And one of his biggest strengths is his strength. I mean, the kid even busted a metal bat last week in game at the Cove.

His facial expression when he reached first base said it best. He couldn't even believe it.

So he's got many unique talents. And he's excited to bring those to Duke and its baseball team.

"It's a great opportunity for me," Carroll says. "I think I'm going to be playing in the best conference in America in the ACC."

"It's going to be great competition every day and that will make me a better player."

Carroll oozes competition, although sometimes it might get the best of him. Try two weeks ago, when he slid into home and drilled his head on the shin pad of the catcher.

It knocked him out cold. He had a concussion and went to the hospital.

Mike doesn't remember anything else from collision, but he's been told a few things.

"I didn't know who the President was, what month it was or that I went on spring break."

And apparently he didn't know where he was when he was at the hospital. While his mom was signing him in, he got up and walked out of the hospital. Luckily his mom and brother found him in the parking lot.

Mike can joke about it now since he's ok and back on the field.

And for him, he just chalks it up to another learning experience.

"In baseball you have to keep learning," he says. "Everything changes--the atmosphere, the field, the team you are playing. You always have to be on your toes and keep learning."

Now that's a student of the game.

Oh by the way, if you are wondering what he's not good at, Mike is quick to point out he is the worst player on his intramural volleyball team.

So I guess he isn't perfect, just close.


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