Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker (middle) learned Tuesday afternoon that he was a national finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He is one of 10, five boys and five girls, high school students from across the
nation up for the award that will be announced in December in New York City. With Siefker (from left) are
his mother, Cheryl, Don Reeves, Director of Operations with Wendy’s, Siefker, Chad Donelson, Vice President with Wendy’s and his father Dr. Tom Siefker. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker (middle) learned Tuesday afternoon that he was a national finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He is one of 10, five boys and five girls, high school students from across the nation up for the award that will be announced in December in New York City. With Siefker (from left) are his mother, Cheryl, Don Reeves, Director of Operations with Wendy’s, Siefker, Chad Donelson, Vice President with Wendy’s and his father Dr. Tom Siefker. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)

OTTOVILLE — It’s been quite a impressive last four days for Ottoville High School senior Brendan Siefker.
On Saturday, at the Division III state cross country meet, Siefker finished as the runner-up for a second straight year. On Tuesday, the senior learned he was a national finalist in the Wendy’s High School Heisman Program.
Siefker is one of ten finalist nationwide, five males and five females, that will be invited to New York City in December to see who wins the award. This program will air on ESPN-2 sometime in December.



Wendy’s representatives Chad Donelson, Vice President, and Don Reeves, Director of Operations, were at Ottoville High School Tuesday to make the announcement before the schools student body, teachers, Siefker’s parents and grandparents and cross country coach Bob Kaple.
Ottoville principal Jon Thorbahn said 30,000 students from across the nation applied for the program, including 600 from the state of Ohio.
Siefker was the male award winner from the state of Ohio and when the field was paired down from 100 nationally, one male and one female from each state, he was one of the 10 finalist that will head to New York. The decision on the finalists were made by Wendy’s representatives.
This program started in 1994 by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas after his retirement because he wanted to do something on the national level to give to everyone and that’s how the Heisman Program was born, Donelson said.
Siefker said the announcement came as quite a surprise to him.
“Mrs. (Michelle) Leach, our guidance counselor, said something to me about filling it out, so I was like okay,“ Siefker said. “I really didn’t expect anything from it. I thought maybe there was a chance. I saw one night, I was with the cross country team, that I was a state finalist, that was kind of cool, I didn’t expect that.
“I looked a little further into it and I saw I was a state winner, then I was like double wow. This next one just kind of tops the cake. I was expecting that at all.”
Siefker said there are two phases to application process.
The fist phase is filling out personal information, scholastic information and athletic information, sports involved with and accolades and the same thing with school, grades and awards.
Plus there is a section for community service that you do and are involved in.
The second phase is all essays and they range from sports to academics and life in general Siefker said.
Although Siefker has finished twice as a state runner- up in cross country and was a state champion in the 1600 meter last spring, he said this honor tops the list of achievements he has earned.
“This is the highest,” Siefker said. “I won state in the mile last year and I always thought it couldn’t get much better than that. That was my goal in high school.
“That was just against Division III kids from Ohio, this is against a lot of different states, it’s definitely tops it.”
For being a finalist, Siefker will get a Gold medal, a Wendy’s gift card and as a national finalist he receives a $5,000 scholarship.
The winners, one male and one female, will be announced in New York City the same weekend as the NCAA football Heisman Trophy winner is announced.
Siefker is the son of Dr. Tom and Cheryl Siefker of Ottoville.