Several students, parents, and fans of the Van-Far R-I School District packed the Jr./Sr. High gym last Thursday for an official state championship ring ceremony honoring both the boys track and field program and cheerleading squad.
Van-Far track coach and athletic director Kevin Baldwin opened the evening by talking to those in attendance about the championship rings.
The $360 rings were purchased through fundraisers and the support of parents in the district. Each athlete received their rings at no cost to them.
“My applause goes out to you all for helping to raise the money and supporting the fundraisers so that could happen,” Baldwin noted.
Van-Far cheerleading coach Angela Carlyle noted how special the ceremony was in honoring two programs.
“I think it says a lot about our small community, about this school, about the coaches, and about the athletes that we are here to recognize not one but two state championships in five months,” she noted. “I think that is phenomenal.”
She noted that when the track team won the state championship, her cheerleaders were inspired and they too wanted to win a state title.
Carlyle thanked the Van-Far Booster Club and April Willis for her efforts in spear-heading the fundraisers.
She also thanked local newspapers and school administrators for their support during the season.
Rings were presented to Alyssa Hays, Olivia Bybee, Mady Swafford, Mallory Williams, Emily Willis, Emily Humphrey, Claire Motley, Bethany Regot, Avery Rost, Lauren Shaw, Maddie Dunn, Ashley Stanich, and Makayla Vigil. Coaches read information on each cheerleader who received rings and the importance of their roles on the squad.
Two other coaches recognized were Hannah Bauman and Marissa Cox. Carlyle also thanked fellow main coaches Lisa Otis and Jody Bauman publicly for all they do and noted the importance of their friendship.
Van-Far’s boys track and field coach Kevin Baldwin talked about memories of the season. They included recovering from injuries, battling rain, and talked about how the squad has some of the fastest kids in the state.
In 13 competitive meets, the squad won four and took second four more times.
It was noted that the Indians faced 222 different squads with a 213-18 record.
Baldwin then talked about each of his track athletes before presenting them with the special championship ring to commemorate the team’s accomplishment of winning the district’s first state title in the sport.
Those honored included managers Reaghan Case and Koby Uhey along with athletes Walter Salmon, Verdell Johnson, Morgan Slatten, Dillion Minor, Nathan Beatty, Kyle Ebers, Joe Clithero, Josh Hodde, Alex Flowers, Sam Hazel, Tyler Robinson, Verlyn Johnson, Lathyn McMorris, Trevor Crider, Jacob Garner, Parker Wallace, and Sharrod Connor.
He also gave special thanks to Dana Wallace, school administrators, along with the Van-Far Booster Club and booster parents.