Few high school athletes are able to command more respect from their teammates and opponents than Theresa Doyle.
After etching her mark as one of the elite female performers in St. Edmond history, Doyle was recently picked as the 2012 Carol Donnelly Award winner, which is given annually to the most outstanding senior girl.
"I was really surprised to win (the award)," Doyle said. "I was nominated over some extremely athletic girls."
During her four years with the Gaels, Doyle has been the undisputed leader of the basketball, cross country and track programs, earning 11 letters and three all-North Central Conference honors.
On the hardwood, the diminutive 5-foot-7 point guard saw action in 72 career games, racking up 671 points, 400 assists, 291 rebounds and 271 steals. Doyle finished 103-for-247 (41.7 percent) from behind the arc and 106 of 156 (67.9 percent) at the charity stripe.
"Theresa pretty much started all the way through, and was almost like another coach on the floor," said SEHS head coach Scott Messerly. "She knew the game so well, and didn't make very many mistakes. The big thing on Theresa was she made everyone so much better around her. She could penetrate and kick out to wide open people, and was so quick at getting to the hoop. She's the best player I've ever coached."
TIMEOUT WITH THERESA DOYLE
Vacation destination: Hawaii.
People I would like to have dinner with: Jesus, Michael Jordan, Pat Summitt.
It would surprise people that I: have a tattoo.
My sports role model: my dad.
My everyday role model: my mom.
I can't go a day without: Dr Pepper.
Superstition: wearing long black socks.
Most heated rivalry: Algona.
Favorite road trip: Algona.
What are you listening to right now? Sugarland.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder.
Book: Harry Potter.
Being sidelined for 13 games with an ACL tear this past winter was clearly the most difficult obstacle for Doyle to overcome.
"It was actually really hard having to sit out and watch my team play, especially my favorite sport," Doyle said. "I absolutely hated (being injured), but I was really proud of how the rest of the girls did without me."
Finding a way to replace Doyle's consistent production was a major challenge for Messerly and the Gaels.
"It was devastating to everybody in the school and the whole team," said Messerly. "We still had a really good feeling with (backup freshman point guard) Jaci (Stumpf) in the lineup, but replacing a player of Theresa's caliber is obviously never easy."
In cross country, Doyle helped the Gaels to their first NCC championship as a freshman and back-to-back Class 1A district titles in 2008 and 2009. She also set a new school record clocking (15:47.58) as a junior and ran at state three consecutive years.
"She got the school record and junior record, so that obviously tells you how important she's been to the program," SEHS head coach Mike Szalat said. "I never remember her taking one day off during the season. I hope other kids saw what a good role model and great student she was. If I had a daughter, she would be the kind of person I'd like to have. She made me look good just through her hard work ethic, which comes from her family."
Doyle competed on nine different events as well at state track, including running the third leg on the fifth-place 2A 4x200 relay in 2010. She qualified individually in the 400 as both a freshman and sophomore.
"Theresa was very familiar with state competition," said Gael head coach Donn Larson. "She was a hard worker, always trying to get better and was somebody that did whatever you asked her to do."
Doyle described her most memorable sports moment as knocking off then-No. 3 Carroll Kuemper in basketball as a junior.
Unwavering support from parents, Tim and Susan, was instrumental in Doyle reaching her potential both on and off the playing field.
"I always had my mom and dad pushing me to be a better athlete," Doyle said. "I for sure wouldn't be the athlete I was without them."
Away from athletics, Doyle stayed active in Student Council and National Honor Society, while also taking part on a service trip to Guatemala her junior year.
Future plans for Doyle are continuing her basketball career at Iowa Central.
"I'm really excited (for Iowa Central), especially playing for such a good coach (Craig Carlson) and with good teammates," Doyle said.