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Chuck Haga / Forum Communications Co., Published December 03 2010

Hillsboro’s Suchor in semis for national ‘Rudy Award’

GRAND FORKS – Gary Suchor, the Hillsboro (N.D.) High School football player who drew inspiration from his mother as she fought the cancer that eventually took her life, has been named a semifinalist for the national Rudy Award, which honors players “who bring the most heart to the game.”

Suchor, a senior all-state linebacker, is one of 50 semifinalists nationwide for the award, named for Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the less-than-athletic Notre Dame walk-on whose dream-driven effort to play football for the Fighting Irish inspired the 1993 film “Rudy.”

More than 12,000 high school football coaches were invited to nominate players for the award. Twelve finalists will be named Dec. 28. The winner will be named Jan. 18 and receive a $10,000 college scholarship. Two runners-up and a “fan favorite” chosen by online voting will be named Jan. 18.

Gary’s mother, Renell Suchor, watched from the sidelines two years ago as Gary, then a sophomore, helped his team win a state championship in Grand Forks. She died four months later.

“I keep her close to my heart all the time, to remind me to never give up,” he said last month, when he was named a candidate for the Rudy Award. “She never did.”

The award selection committee includes professional football players and coaches, commentators and others connected to the sport.

To vote for Gary Suchor and read more about the award, go to www.highschoolrudyawards.com.


Haga writes for the Grand Forks Herald