The original purpose of the Bulldog Award was to recognize an athlete that made coaching enjoyable at practice and during competitions. The award was suggested when Ramona High School was not winning many games and was the smallest school in the North County’s Avocado League East. Almost all of its opponents had twice the enrollment of RHS. The award’s purpose has not changed. It is voted on by the coaches at RHS and those with the most votes receive the Bulldog Awards. To be nominated is an honor and a tribute to the athlete’s attitude, dedication and sportsmanship.
By Bill Tamburrino
Nicole Darrough has been named the 2012 Female Bulldog of the Year.
The RHS senior knows what coaches expect. Both of her parents have been head coaches at Ramona High School. Her mother, Rose, was one of the best athletes in RHS history. She is now a history teacher at Ramona High and at Palomar College.
Darrough is a peer tutor in Ramona High’s Ready to Learn program. She is an ASB (Associated Student Body) leader and was the vice president of her class her junior year.
She volunteers in the community for sports for exceptional athletes and has a 4.07 grade point average in college preparatory, honors and advanced placement classes.
“She exemplifies the Pillars of Character,” said her lacrosse coach Jim Bliss.
“She is an overall incredible person,” said volleyball coach Connie Halfaker.
Darrough is a two-sport athlete who has earned letters in volleyball and lacrosse. She earned all league honors her senior year in volleyball and was All Palomar in lacrosse twice.
She was awarded the Most Inspirational Player in volleyball and the Outstanding Defensive Player. Darrough scored 150 goals in her three years on the varsity lacrosse team. She was nominated for the Female Athlete of the Year Award and was a candidate for the Scholar Athlete Award.
“Every coach should get a chance to coach Nicole. She brings a positive attitude to every practice and game. She is fun to coach,” said Bliss.
“Nicole works and plays hard. She is willing to do anything for the sake of the team,” Halfaker said during volleyball season.
Darrough has praise for her coaches.
“He is the founder of lacrosse at RHS and he is fun to play for. He is a hard worker,” she said about Bliss. “Coach Halfaker demands that you do your best at all times. Her love of volleyball is evident.”
Darrough didn’t start playing volleyball or lacrosse until her freshman year.
“My mom always supported me. She has helped me in athletics and academics and has always been there. She never missed a game,” Darrough said.
Her brother, James, is an RHS grad. Her three sisters, Hana, 13, Casey, 12, and Sara, 9, will attend RHS and are athletes. Darrough’s advice to them is “Find a passion and stick with it.”
Darrough will be attending Northeastern University in Boston where she will pursue a degree in business and marketing and hopes to play intramural sports.
According to her, the best aspect of playing sports at RHS was “working for something and feeling positive about the result.”
The best lesson she learned from playing sports at RHS was “you are the only one in the way of reaching the top.”