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for the week of December 9-16


Trip memorable despite losing Heisman bid


blue01_next.gifBy Glen Miller/The Mustang News


Moments before the announcement of the winners of the 2004 Wendy’s High School Heisman Trophy, Mustang High School senior Danielle Zanotti knew she wasn’t going to win.

And oddly enough, Zanotti wasn’t disappointed.

“It would have been a neat experience to have won, but that wasn’t the focus of the weekend,” Zanotti said. “Just taking in everything, that was the focus, so deep down inside I wasn’t disappointed.”

Zanotti admits she was nervous in those minutes leading up to the announcements.

“I was nervous and I cried a little bit when they showed my video. It was different from the one on ESPN and it had some comments from my coaches,” Zanotti said. “Going up on stage I was shaking, but from the moment I met the girl that won, I knew she was going to win.”

Brenna Bruckner of Bethel Park (Pa.) won the award, only hours after finding out she had been accepted to medical school.

“She wasn’t that athletic, but she was a straight up genius,” Zanotti said. “I’m not that disappointed because every single girl there was amazing and it was an honor to be in with those girls.”

Zanotti said that all six of the female national finalists became friends in the short time they were together and joined the six male finalists for hours of conversation after the award ceremony.

“We sat in the lobby of the hotel and talked until 3:30 in the morning and it was nice to get to know them all.” Zanotti said. “I hung out most of the weekend with Emily King from Hawaii and it felt like we were best friends. I cried when we left her and I’m going to make a trip to Hawaii to visit her.”

The whirlwind trip to New York City began on Thursday with a visit to Broadway and Times Square and a stop at the MTV show TRL. That evening Zanotti and her friends and family skated at Rockefeller Center and took in a Maroon 5 concert.

Friday brought about a trip to the famed Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes Holiday Special. There was a photo shoot with the college Heisman Trophy Award and two-time winner Archie Griffin. Afterward the high school finalists all got a signed autograph football from four of the five collegiate Heisman candidates.

That evening was the awards presentation.

Zanotti also got a private tour of the Empire State Building and visited the site of the World Trade Center attacks and Central Park Zoo.

Saturday night she attended the college Heisman Trophy Award presentation and private dinner. At the post presentation party, she spoke with Utah quarterback Alex Smith and University of Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.

“They surprised us with tickets to the Heisman show because we thought only the two winners got to go,” Zanotti said. “I’ve got the whole thing on tape because I snuck in a video camera.”

Zanotti said meeting four of the five Heisman candidates and getting to speak with them was a highlight of the trip.

“It was fun and getting to met Adrian Peterson and the others was awesome. No other way would I have had that opportunity,” Zanotti said.

Zanotti said the entire experience also taught her another lesson.

“It really does pay to fill out those college scholarship forms and essays,” Zanotti said. “You never know in the long run what will happen.”











Zanotti jets off to NYC, Heisman


blue01_next.gifBy Glen Miller/The Mustang News


What seemed a distant dream only a few short weeks ago has become reality for Mustang High School’s Danielle Zanotti as the senior makes her final preparations to leave for New York City.

“In the last couple of days it’s finally sunk in,” Zanotti said. “At first it didn’t seem like it was happening, but now that we have been scrambling around and buying some clothes and getting packed it’s become a reality.”

Last month it was announced that Zanotti has been selected as one of the six female national finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Trophy Award – becoming the third Oklahoman in the history of the award to earn the nomination.

She leaves Thursday morning for the Big Apple and the WHSH Award Ceremony along with her Mom and younger sister. They will be joined by Mustang cross country coach Mike McGarry and basketball coaches Nichole Copland and Kristin Kelly.

“We’re still going to have to follow a schedule, but it’s going to be like a big family vacation,” Zanotti said.

“I’ve got the digital camera ready and I’m going to capture everything. My sister and I have already made plans to stake out the MTV Studios and TRL, so I’m going to be a teenager for just a little bit.”

The ceremony is set for Friday night, in which the high school Heisman will be presented. There are six national finalists for the men and all 12 finalists will be honored during Saturday night’s college Heisman Trophy ceremony. The two high school Heisman winners will be recognized live during that broadcast.

Prior to the college Heisman show, all the high school and college finalists will have a dinner together.

Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2, Zanotti will have her profile aired along with the 11 other finalists for the high school award. The show will be replayed on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Then on Dec. 26th the ABC Family Channel will air the high school Heisman Award’s Ceremony.

The other five female finalists for the WHSH award are Brenna Bruckner (Bethel Park, Pa.), Joy Kessler (Republic, Ohio), Kaitlin Daley (Canaan, Vt.), Brittany Lee (Franklin, Tenn.) and Emily King of Honolulu, Hawaii.

“My chances are 1-6 statistically. But I have looked at the bios of the other finalists and there are some pretty bright girls,” Zanotti said. “But I’m happy and I’m honored to have gotten as far as I have.”

If she wins the award, she will become the first Oklahoman to do so.






























































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