Athletes and coaches wrap up 2018-19 athletic season
EUSTACE–Eustace High School hosted their 2019 athletic banquet at First Baptist Church in Eustace Saturday, May 4.
First-year Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Steve Smith welcomed everyone to the banquet and spoke highly of the progress he has seen in the athletes and coaches that led the way for Eustace athletics during the 2018-19 school year.
First Baptist Church Senior Pastor Paul McKinney led the invocation before the National Anthem. Leann Carlson, the President of the Eustace Athletic Booster Club, gave special recognition to all the volunteers, board members and parents, as well as athletes that help through the year, along with helping put together the banquet Saturday night.
Before naming the superlative awards for the night, two members of the Trinity Valley Volleyball Officials Associatoin (TVVOA) handed out a scholarship to Eustace senior Reece Thorne for the college of her choice.
To lead off the night was Coach Smith handing out the boys’ offseason MVP award for the male student who put in the work in the summer, in the weight room and other areas to improve themselves and help others along the way. Wesley Kirchenbauer was the recipient of the award.
Coach Cody Taylor awards the girls’ offseason MVP award to Sierra Castillo.
Next up was 50-year Eustace ISD veteran and 43-year Head Volleyball Coach Chuck Powers. Powers announced before the 2018 season that this would be his last season as volleyball head coach. Powers received a giant sign recognizing his 907 career wins at Eustace in volleyball, putting him at eighth place in victories in the state of Texas.
The volleyball Heart award went to Havynn Mahaffey. Since the entire team displayed so much grit and heart, the Newcomer of the Year went to the entire varsity team. Team MVP went to senior Reece Thorne.
The volleyball team also raised $35,000 over the last eight years for breast cancer awareness, including $5,900 this season, the most the team has ever raised in one year.
Next up was Josh Sypert and Kenneth Henderson to hand out the awards for the boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams for the 2018 season.
The girls’ cross-country team finished the season with their ninth consecutive District championship and as Region 3 champions. Newcomer of the Year went to Madisen Kulsa, Heart award went to Yasmine Washington and MVP went to Kayla Fruean.
On the boys’ side, the JV team was honored for their District championship in 2018. The varsity squad also won their ninth consecutive District title, their ninth consecutive State appearance and wrapped up the season as State champions, which received a standing ovation from the crowd at Eustace First Baptist Church.
The boys’ cross-country team’s Newcomer of the Year was Colby Carpenter, the Heart award went to Nicholas Westbrook and Dalton Page took home MVP.
Coach Smith presented awards to the 2018 varsity football squad, which finished the season returning to the postseason and winning the Bi-district championship.
The 11-strong award went to Skyler Pritchett, the Defensive Player of the Year went to Kole Graham, Offensive Player of the Year went to senior quarterback Alejandro Sanchez and MVP went to Ethan Austin.
Ashley Coker honored the trainers who work tirelessly throughout the entire athletic season, helping tape up ankles, get each team ready on game nights and on off-days helping athletes with different injuries.
Up next, Jaci Aiken honored the varsity cheerleading squad, who finished seventh place out of 84 teams at the UIL State competition.
Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Kimberly Branch handed out the superlative awards for the varsity girls’ basketball squad. Heart of a Bulldog award went to Kendall Lowry, Defensive Player of the Year went to Rubi Bailey, Lily Sorrells took home Offensive Player of the Year and Madison Holbert received the honor of MVP.
Sunny Hardy handed out the awards for the boys’ varsity basketball team, who went 19-14, the best record for Eustace in 22 years, along with recognizing the impressive 21-9 season from the JVA team. The Heart award went to Adrian Gonzales and Jayson Losiewicz, Defensive MVP went to Blake Martin, Offensive MVP was awarded to Tucker Reeve and Ethan Austin took home team MVP.
Coach Vaugn Zwick handed out awards to the boys’ and girls’ powerlifting members. Ashlyn Burke took home the girls’ MVP and Chad Fancher received the boys’ MVP award.
With Fishing Coach Roger Carpenter at a different banquet, AD Smith handed out the fishing awards. The 2019 MVP for the bass fishing team was Eduardo Valencia, who is part of a two-athlete team along with Mitchell Boyd, who will take part in the State tournament May 11-12 at Cedar Creek Lake.
Lauren Odom handed out the awards for the Lady Bulldogs varsity softball squad, who reached the postseason for the first time since 2013 this season.
The Heart award went to Faith Merchant, the Defensive Player of the Year was Lauren Herring, Offensive Player of the Year was awarded to both Kayla Lovelady and Dawson Davlin and team MVP went to Alyssa Lane.
Chris Powers handed out the varsity baseball awards for the 2019 team. The Bulldog award went to Cade Adair, the Pitcher of the Year was awarded to Kobe Borchardt, the Offensive MVP went to Carson Kelly and Team MVP went to Kole Graham.
Steve Tardiff awarded the superlatives to the boys’ and girls’ varsity golf teams. The girls’ team finished as District champions for the 2019 season. Most Improved Girl went to Melissa Millan and Most Improved Boy went to Clayton Carpenter. The Girls’ MVP award was given to Brooke McCord and the Boys’ MVP went to Paxton Schwartz.
Coach Taylor handed out the girls’ track and field awards to a team that had a lot of firsts in 2019. Newcomer of the Year went to Grace Ferrell, Field Event MVP went to State competitor Miranda Fontenot and MVP went to Yasmine Washington. Fontenot will also be competing at the State competition in Austin May 10-11 in the discus throw. Fontenot set the Eustace school record and a Regional record with a throw of 131’ 10” at the Regional meet in Whitney.
Coach Aaron Slider handed out the awards for the boys’ track and field team. Nicholas Westbrook and Colby Carpenter each were awarded the Heart award, Newcomer of the Year went to both Dominik Rudman and Jacob Haney and the Team MVP award went to Dalton Page.
In the special awards category, the Team of the Year went to the State champion boys’ cross-country team. The Code Purple award went to Kole Graham. The Eustace Female Athlete of the Year went to senior Reece Thorne and the Male Athlete of the Year went to senior Ethan Austin.
Coach Smith summed it up best talking to the senior athletes at the event, talking about what participating in sports does in creating relationships and lasting bonds.
“The teams you’ve been a part of, as you get older, the bonds you’ve made doing those things will be the strongest of your life,” Smith said. “You’ve made life-long friends that you’re going to rely on that will be behind you and beside you the rest of your life. It’s wonderful to see this as a coach as you all go out into the world and I’m glad to be a part of it.”