The American public is so pro sports oriented these days that the poor high school athlete is sometimes all but forgotten. For the past three years a national recognition campaign, Hertz's "No. 1 Awards" program, has helped to remedy matters. The program seeks to single out the most outstanding high schoolathletic performance in each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Panels of sports editors are assigned the task of determining their state's winner, who then travels to New York to be honored after two days of activities.
Not surprisingly, most of the winners play either football or basketball, those being the staples of the high school sports calendar.
A sampling of the winning efforts:
* A 25-point, 22-rebound, 19-blocked-shot- game by seven-foot junior Pat Ewing of Cambridge, Mass., the only high school player invited to the Olympic basketball tryouts.
* Kathy Van Heule's five first-place medals in Wyoming's state AA track championships -- victories in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 100-meters low hurdles , long jump, and 800-meter medley relay.
* A seven-touchdown performance by Hanover, N.H., quarterback Jim Yukica, son of Dartmouth College football coach Joe Yukica.