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coaches name 5 top athletes
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENSThe sheer quality of this years senior class made it impossible for Eustace High School coaches to select a single boy and girl as athletes of the year.
So, coaches introduced two girls Jenny McConathy and Victoria Tori Bynum and three boys Trevan Johnson, Chris Compton and Joseph JoJo Bradburn as this years top athletes to a gathering of parents, students, booster club members and school administrators Saturday night.
Both veteran volleyball coach Chuck Powers and head coach/athletic director Doug Wendel noted they didnt particularly like naming more than one person for a top award.
However, once coaches decided to pick more than one student, deciding who to select became much easier, both coaches said.
Weve been blessed with two girls who have pride, poise and all the characteristics you look for, Powers said.
One (McConathy) started as a gym rat, and wound up playing almost every sport offered all four years of high school, he said.
As a senior, McConathy participated in volleyball (district MVP), basketball (honorable mention all-district), track (regional qualifier) and softball (second team all-district).
Bynum bounced back from reconstructive knee surgery and then had to recover from a broken back to return to the playing field as a senior, running cross country, playing volleyball and becoming a regional qualifier in track.
Bynum also had to endure a couple of personal tragedies along the way, but still managed to be a straight-A student and the highest-ranking senior this year (she finished as salutatorian) with perfect attendance for eight straight years, Powers said.
She is the true epitome of what wed like to have our daughters to be, Powers said.
Picking the three boys was an easy decision; in fact, a unanimous decision, Wendel said.
Great champions raise the level of play of everyone around them, and thats what they did, Wendel said.
All three are multi-sport stars, particularly the speedy Johnson, who qualified for the regional track meet in four different events (setting a new school record in the long jump) as well as being an all-district performer in football and basketball.
Johnsons record-setting 22-9 leap in the regional track meet was good for fourth in this 3A region, but would have won state in 4A, the audience heard.
Compton has the rare distinction of being named the districts Newcomer of the Year in both baseball (as a freshman shortstop) and football (as a sophomore quarterback), and recently signed to play baseball at Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla.
Bradburns football speed forced defenses to not key on Johnson, and he became a regional track qualifier in two events (800 relay and 1600 relay).
Our mission is to run a first-class program and to practice winning every day, Wendel told the crowd in his welcoming address.
A major aspect of a top program is academic performance, and 54 EHS athletes were named to academic all-district teams, while 10 were named academic all-state.
This years valedictorian, Jesse Contreras, was named elite academic all-state in football, the highest designation available, Wendel pointed out.
Out of our 14 varsity teams, eight of them participated in post-season play, and three of them (volleyball, boys track and baseball) were district champions, Wendel added.
During volleyball season, the girls raised more than $7,500 for breast cancer research, Powers pointed out.
During the event at the Cain Centers main ballroom, students also received scholarships from the Courtney Howard Foundation and the Eustace Athletic Booster Club.
Howard Foundation scholarships were presented to Caleb Bailey, Kimberly Austin Bennett, Bynum, Compton, Contreras, Ariel Gilbert, Erica Sanchez and Taylor Snow.
Booster Club scholarships went to Michael Brown, Amanda Herrera, McConathy and Compton.
Three-year Booster Club president Shelley Compton turned over the club to incoming president Wendy Renteria.
Joining Renteria are vice president DeeDee Parrent, secretary Stephanie Kirkhart, treasurer Nita Sawicki, concessions Jimmy Kirkhart and Sharon Strickland, and spirit Gayle DeAlba and Norma Herrera.
Individual sports standouts were recognized during the three-hour program, and are listed below. Sophomore Catania Grant was noted as the Newcomer of the Year in both volleyball and basketball.
Volleyball Newcomer of the Year Grant, Heart Award Bynum, co-MVP Kim Austin Bennett and McConathy.
Cross Country Heart Award Bynum and Ben Huddleston, MVP Nancy Murff and Evan Arambula.
Football no individual awards; Contreras recognized as academic elite all-state, Zach Bennett first-team academic all-state, Compton honorable mention academic all-state.
Powerlifting no individual awards, Kelsey Maltos recognized for qualifying for state and setting a new regional record in the squat (425 pounds).
Girls Basketball Heart Award Aurora Beasley, Most Improved Megan Renteria, Role Player Award Vanessa Lopez, Newcomer of the Year Grant, Offensive Player of the Year (POY) Ashley Phillips, Defensive POY McConathy, MVP Allie Cass.
Boys Basketball Offensive POY Addison Scott, Defensive POY Johnson, MVP Guy Hargrove, Heart Award to entire team.
Girls Soccer Offensive POY Hailey Mathis (also received Heart Award from district coaches), Defensive POY Chelsea Grimes, MVP Kayla Ward.
Boys Soccer Offensive POY Michael Brown (eight goals, school season record), Defensive POY Dakota Mitchell, Most Improved Taylor Brown, MVP Zach Bennett (noted as scoring the first goal in school history as a freshman).
Softball Defensive POY McConathy, Newcomer of the Year Chelsea Oldham, MVP Josie Collie.
Baseball Heart award to whole team (won six straight to tie for district championship), MVPs Compton and Braden Strickland. (Compton noted as first player in school history with 100 hits, finished career with 137.)
Girls Track no individual awards; Grant, Bynum and Cass recognized.
Boys Track MVPs Johnson and Bradburn.
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