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Talent plus brains equals all-American

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Juan Diego's Lindsey Padjen, left, battles with Ben Lomond's McKenzie Favero for the ball in October 2005 at Juan Diego.

Juan Diego’s Lindsey Padjen, left, battles with Ben Lomond’s McKenzie Favero for the ball in October 2005 at Juan Diego.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News

DRAPER — Despite flying under the radar a little bit because she wasn't the highest scorer on the state championship team, Lindsey Padjen got noticed.

Padjen, a multi-sport athlete at Juan Diego, was named to the NSCAA high school scholar All-American team during a ceremony last month in Philadelphia.

The senior soccer player led the Soaring Eagle in scoring with 18 goals last year as Juan Diego advanced to the 3A semifinals. Perhaps more impressively, though, was her 4.0 GPA.

"I was really surprised," said Padjen, a Taylorsville resident. "My coach had me fill out an application and send it in, but I never thought about it after that."

The NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) awards high school and college soccer players from around the country with the awards. Padjen, though, was the only Utahn named to the scholar athlete team. The minimum GPA to be considered for the honor is 3.75, and Padjen easily passed that.

"You have to be a good player," she said. "So I think our team's record and being on the all-state teams helped. But they wanted to see what kind of community service you did and stuff like that."

Padjen said she is being recruited by schools like Swarthmore, Denver and Lewis-Clark. She's had contact from some of the instate schools, but said she's hoping to play a little farther away from home.

"I want to go to a smaller, private school," she said. "I like that kind of school and I'll probably enjoy playing farther away."

Padjen is not the only Utahn to be honored by the NSCAA.

Skyline High alum Courtney Kjar was named NCAA Division III player of the year after wrapping up her season at the University of Puget Sound.

Hillcrest star Becky Riddle was also honored by the NSCAA after her all-state season for the Huskies. Riddle, who has committed to play for BYU, was chosen as a member of the All-American team for female high school players.

Riddle had 17 goals for the Huskies.

E-mail: jeborn@desnews.com