Alex Hemberger, left, has been named the College Player of the Year in Oklahoma. The Argonia graduate plays for Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Hemberger named Player of the Year
By Amy Houston
Linebacker Alex Hemberger suffered a season-ending injury last year at Pittsburg State, but others noticed the Argonia man’s skills.
Hemberger, who plays for Northwestern Oklahoma State, was honored this summer as College Player of the Year at the 30th annual All Sports Scholar-Athlete Award luncheon. The award is given annually to Oklahoma collegiate student-athletes who demonstrate success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
“It was a good honor, considering I missed a couple games,” said Hemberger, who graduated from Argonia High School in 2011. “It was a pretty great award. I’m proud.”
Seven others received the College Player of the Year award in June, including the University of Oklahoma’s Blake Bell, a Bishop Carroll graduate. Hemberger, son of Lawrence and Joan Hemberger, was a two-year starter for Garden City Community College before transferring to Northwestern.
“Alex is someone that, with his infectious work ethic, motivates the players around him to do better,” said Northwestern head coach Alan Hall. “He is very deserving of this award and is a fine example to those striving to reach great heights.”
Hemberger injured his ankle at Pittsburg State during Week 9 of last year’s football season. He underwent surgery the following day and had physical therapy for about four months.
“I’m getting it back pretty good,” Hemberger said. “I’ve got a little ways to go. It doesn’t feel the same yet – not quite.”
Hemberger was leading the team in tackles before his injury. Even though his season was cut short, he earned honorable mention on the all-Great American Conference team.
Northwestern finished last season 2-9 overall. However, some new assistant coaches and new recruits have caused Hemberger to remain optimistic this year.
“I think we’ve got some new guys coming in that could help us pretty good, so I think it will be better,” he said. “I think it will definitely be better than last year.”
Hemberger, who has accumulated a 3.61 grade-point average, is studying agri-business. The luncheon where he was honored was sponsored by the National Football Foundation’s Oklahoma Chapter and College Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Oklahoman. It took place in June at the Jim Thorpe Museum/Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.