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EHS banquet honors athletes
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–In a major step forward for Eustace High School athletes, Saturday night’s annual All-Sports Banquet moved to the Cain Center in Athens, instead of the traditional high school gym gathering.
For the second year in a row, there were two senior girls named as the “Female Athlete of the Year,” multi-sport standouts Rebekah Walter and Caty DiBari.
Both were all-district performers on the volleyball team, which advanced to the playoffs for the sixth straight year, and both were regional qualifiers on the district-winning girls track team.
Another multi-sport standout, senior Lucas Cope, was named the “Male Athlete of the Year.”
Cope was an all-district performer on the football team and recently was named as the District 13-3A baseball MVP (see related story).
“We had a tremendous season in athletics,” high school principal Stan Sowers told the gathering. “I can’t think of a better way to end it than honoring our young men and women.”
One of the highlights of the year was veteran volleyball coach Chuck Powers notching his 600th win, which came in a key district matchup against Kaufman.
Powers, in turn, recognized Ashley McCarter and Samantha Slay, who (he said) started out as managers and later became assistant coaches.
Athletic director Doug Wendel presented Powers with a plaque recognizing his milestone win.
Wendel also presented special awards to three top fans – Roland Bailey, Rusty Rhodes and Sowers, who helped coach the district-winning (both girls and boys) high jumpers.
The Courtney Howard Foundation presented $500 scholarships to 11 seniors, and the Eustace Sports Booster Club presented the foundation with a $1,500 donation.
Seniors getting Howard scholarships were Brittany Davis, Heather Bailey, Rebekah Walter, Samantha Slay, Garrett Rhodes and Adrienne Rhodes.
Also, Ashley McCarter, Ashley Houston, Tanita Durnell, Lauren DiBari and Caty DiBari.
The Booster Club also presented scholarships to Cody Lowe, Heather Bailey, Caty DiBari, Lauren DiBari, Lucas Cope, David Graves and Brandon Grayson.
Also, Ashley Houston, Michael McConathy, Garrett Rhodes, Christina Sawicki, Nick Shutak and Rebekah Walter.
The Eustace Area Sports Association presented $250 scholarships to Christina Sawicki and Nicholas Shutak.
Highlights of the past year in EHS athletics included:
• volleyball advancing to bidistrict competition as the district’s third-place team, and 26 of the 50 total players being named academic all-district. Three girls – Caty DiBari, Cassie Freeman and Rebekah Walter – were named academic all-state.
• the boys and girls cross country teams both winning district, dominating at regional competition and advancing to the state meet at Round Rock.
The boys finished ninth in the state, while the girls (who won four of the eight meets they entered) finished seventh at state after winning district for the sixth straight year and regional for the fourth straight year.
• the football team winning two district games for the first time in many years, and four players (Brandon Grayson, Garrett Rhodes, Matt Hickle and Harley Mitchell) being named academic all-state.
• the powerlifting team winning district and sending two lifters (Brisha Ward and Heather Bailey) to the state meet.
• the boys and girls soccer teams posting their first seasons in district play, with the girls playing their inaugural season.
• the baseball team advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 1989 as the district’s top seed, setting a new record for wins in a season (20, breaking the old record of 15) and gaining a tri-championship, the school’s first baseball title.
• back-to-back district championships for the girls track team, with 15 regional qualifiers, while the boys were runner-up in district and had 11 regional qualifiers. One Bulldog, junior Cameron Coffey, advanced to the state track meet in the 300 hurdles, the first EHS boy to do so since 1997.
During the season, the track teams set three new school records and missed setting two others by a second or less.
Individual award winners for teams are listed below.
Cheerleaders – Heart Award Ariel Gilbert, Cheerleader of Year Heather Bailey.
Volleyball – Newcomer of Year Jenny McConathy, MVP Cassie Freeman and Rebekah Walter.
Cross country – Newcomer of Year Cameron Coffey and Tori Bynum, Heart Award Jaqlynn Bless, MVP Zach Bennett and Laura DiBari.
Football – No individual awards, but each senior was recognized.
Girls basketball – Most Improved Jaqlynn Bless, Heart Award Jessica McConathy, MVP Cassie Freeman.
Boys basketball – Defensive player Colten Thomsen, Offensive Player David Graves, Heart Award Michael McConathy, MVP Jacob Horton.
Girls powerlifting – Most Improved Heather Bailey, MVP Brisha Ward.
Boys powerlifting – MVP Ahmed Abuhatub, special recognition to Cody Lowe.
Golf – MVP Matt Marder.
Girls soccer – Most Improved Nancy Murff and Chelsea Truitt, MVP Adrienne Rhodes.
Boys soccer – Most Improved Matt Hinkle and Chris Compton, MVP Zach Arambula.
Softball – Most Improved Nicole McNeel, Offensive Player Jennifer Whitlock, Defensive Player Cassie Freeman, Heart Award Jessica McConathy, MVP Jenny McConathy.
Baseball – Defensive Player Ryan Compton, Bulldog Award (four-year starter) Brandon Grayson, Newcomer of Year Braden Strickland, MVP Lucas Cope (second straight year).
Girls track – Most Improved Jaqlynn Bless, Heart Award Tanita Durnell, MVP Chelsea Truitt (third straight year to qualify for regional in five different events).
Boys track – MVP Cameron Coffey.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace High School Male and Female Athletes of the Year, Lucas Cope,
Rebekah Walter and Caty DiBari, gather after being honored at the annual
EHS All-Sports Banquet Saturday at the Cain Center in Athens.
Cope heads 13-3A baseball
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