By Julia Polston
Last Tuesday, Van-Far hosted their annual spring athletic awards ceremony in the high school gymnasium. Principal Blaise Stuedle started off the event by welcoming everyone and thanking them for their support. Stuedle introduced baseball coach Pat Connaway and his assistant coach, Cody Gilley. Connaway thanked all their supporters for the season.
“We have a good young group, and we got better as the season went on,” said Connaway. “We made too many mistakes though and that cost us too many games. We have a good group of players to be around,” he added.
Connaway moved on to giving out awards and everyone on the team received a letter. Also, the following athletes obtained a bar; Nikos Connaway, Reece Culwell, Gage Gibson, Ryan Null, and the team manager, Rebecca Motley. Dalana Gay and Cody Smith got the ball for lettering for the first time in baseball. Bransen Salmon got the ball and the bar because he received a provisional letter last year. Tarion Aguirre, Jacob Radmacher, and Gibson Condie got their first varsity letter and ball. Rebecca Motley, Ryan Null, Reece Culwell, Gage Gibbson and Dalana Gay all won academic all-conference. Reece Culwell made second all-conference team, Nikos Connaway made first all-conference team. Reece Culwell received a plaque for most RBI’s. Nikos Connaway received four plaques for Highest Batting Average, Most Hits, Most Runs Scored, and Most Doubles.
Awards included the Newcomer Award that went to Cody Smith, Most Improved that went to Ryan Null, and Mr. Defense was received by Gibson Condie. The fourth award, Most Valuable Player, went to Reece Culwell, the fifth award Most Outstanding Player was given to Nikos Connaway. Before Pat Connaway introduced Track Director Kris Cross, he gave a special thanks to Cody Smith for helping out during his second year in baseball. Cross said she was grateful to the administration and parents for support.
“I’d like to thank admin, Stuedle, and Smitty who drove us to most of our meets this year. I’d like to thank parents for coming to the meets and cheering on your kids. I’d like to thank our Athletic Director Kelly Orf for coming and taking pictures, and also the local newspapers,” said Cross.
All the Lady Indian track members lettered. The bar winners included, Madelynn Caldwell, Erin Childs, McKenna Engh-Hoffman, Mara Jensen, Hailey Lowry, Olivia Roed, and Abigail Shelton. Shoes which are for athletes who have lettered in other places but not track before now, Addyson Hays, Trinity Skwirts, Elaina Brogden, and Mariah Maggard. The athletes taking home Lettermen Shoes for lettering for the first time in high school are, Kylie Brooksher, and Clara Muffat-Meridof. A Van-Far letter and manager pins go to Lydionna Cranston and Emma Schambach. For EMO Conference All Academic Awards, Madelynn Caldwell, Erin Childs, McKenna Engh-Hoffman, Brooke-lyn Forman, Dalana Gay, Addyson Hays, Mara Jensen, Clara Muffat-Meridol, and Abigail Shelton.
An award was also given to Mara Jensen and Erin Childs for always being on time to practice, never complaining and running in extra events.
Cross called the boys Indian Track members to receive their awards. Track Director Cross stated that their criteria for lettering is harder to obtain, however, Jason Baugh, Gage Gibson, Domonic Hartley, Richard Hayden, Austin Selsor, and Drake Woodson all lettered for a bar. Ty Evans, Jackson Fischer, Gaven Gaston, Easton Sharp, and Evan Utterback. All lettered for shoes. The next awards given were letters and a shoe for the individuals who lettered for the first time in track and in general, Caleb Hazel, and Austin Holtkamp. Members who place on the all-conference teams, Gage Gibson, Easton Sharp, Evan Utterback, and Drake Woodson. Gage Gibson placed All District at the District for 300m Hurdles. Plaques were given out to Most Valuable Runner, Gage Gibson, Most Valuable Field, Jackson Fischer, Most Points, Gage Gibson, Most Valuable Newcomer, Gaven Gaston, and the Gusto Award was given to Jason Baugh.
Cross introduced Golf Director Nate Isenberg. Nate Isenberg thanked everyone for coming. Academic All-Conference awards went to Katelyn McCurdy, Pacey Reading, and Clara Wallace. Cody Smith received All Conference and All Districts. Athletes receiving a bar were, Cody Smith, Katelyn McCurdy, and Clara Wallace. Members receiving a club were, Pacey Reading, and Kasen Christian. The Lowest Season Average was given to Cody Smith.
Cross handed out The Lady Sportsmanship award which was given to Mara Jensen, The Steve Snowden Award that was given to Jason Baugh, and The Ronald Stallcup Award which was also given to Mara Jensen. Tim and Christy Lowrance presented the Tanner Lowrance award to Gage Gibson.
Stuedle concluded the 2023 Spring Athletic Awards Ceremony with a big thank you to all involved.