PAOLA — Marina Johnson and Bo Robison were recognized as the Paola High School senior female and male athletes of the year, adding their names to the Clifford “Oscar” Durland Memorial Trophy.
The award was presented to Johnson and Robison during a spring celebration at Panther Stadium on Wednesday, May 5, recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week, as well as academic and athletic honors from the 2020-21 school year.
Durland, a graduate of Paola High School, served in World War II and was inducted into the Paola High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
“He went off to serve his country in World War II,” Paola Principal Jeff Hines said. “They called them the greatest generation for a reason. He parked his truck just outside of the gates and watched all of the home football games.
“This award, in his memory, recognized an outstanding female and male athlete at Paola High School,” Hines said. “The award goes to multi-sport athletes who are also involved in a lot of activities.”
Johnson ran on the Paola Lady Panther cross country team and is a distance runner on the track and field program.
She also took up wrestling this season as a senior, and was part of the Lady Panthers third-place state team.
“It is really an honor,” Johnson said. “It is awesome and really exciting. It makes me really grateful that I took a chance and went out for different sports and kind of went out of my comfort zone.
“I have seen people get that award since I was a freshman,” she said. “I never thought that would be me. It was super exciting to be part of the girls team that placed third in the state. It is great to be back on the track this spring and fans can come out and see us. The season is going by way too fast but we are having fun.”
Robison was a Paola Panther letter-winner in football, basketball and track and field. He was an all-league performer at wide receiver, an all-league selection at forward in basketball and is a state ranked javelin thrower.
“It is truly a blessing and an honor to win this award,” Robison said. “It was really tough to not have the spring track season last year due to COVID-19. Lot of kids didn’t get to play. I feel bad for them and for the seniors to go out the way they had to.
“I am really happy we got a full season and we are able to do everything and be back in front of our family and friends,” he said. “Slam dunks in basketball were a lot of fun. We brought some energy. I am going to miss it for sure.”
Durland’s family held tailgate parties for him at home football games, where he proudly cheered for his Panthers for more than 50 years.
Durland is the grandfather of Paola High School football offensive coordinator Mike Smith and the great-grandfather of former Paola Panther football players Drew Smith and Dunkan Watrous.
Clifford “Oscar” Durland Memorial Award winners are:
2020 — Sophie Jones, Preston Martin
2019 — Alyssa Henness, Brendan Ohlmeier
2018 — Jordan Johnson, Kurt Golubski
2017 — Matthew Wilson, Matti Morgan
2016 — Morgan Laudan, Dunkan Watrous