The ALAH Jr. High track teams held their annual awards night on Monday, May22 at ALAH High School. Winning awards for the girls team were: Norma Mendoza, seventh grade Points Award; Zoey Mendoza, sixth grade Points Award; Gwen Herring, Team Award; Reece Oye, Leadership Award; Embrey Reardon, Team Award; and Cassidy Rohacs, eighth grade Points Award. Not pictured, Ella Oye, Leadership Award. Award winners for the Jr. High boys’ track team at the annual awards night were: Max Boddy, eighth grade Points Award; Jase Kingery, Team Award; Beau Green, sixth grade Points Award; Preston Gingerich, Leadership Award; Cooper Shoemaker, Team Award; Brennon Hutson, Leadership Award; and Alex Olivero, seventh grade Points Award. Not pictured, Tyler Lisanby, Leadership Award.
By SALLY McCARTHY
The Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond jr. high track boys and girls teams held their end of season Awards Night at ALAH HS on Monday, May 22.
Head Boys Jr. High Track Coach Don McCarthy led off the program with thank yous to parents, administration, administrative assistants, Athletic Director Nathan Seal, maintenance crew, teachers, clerks Josh Stack, Derik Eaton, David McGrath and
Josh Ryan for their help as meet clerks, the Athletic Boosters for their help with payment for motel rooms for state and the many meet helpers including parents and high school athletes and their coaches Matt Thomas and Ryan Jefferson. A special thank you went to Monica Green who took over the organization of the concession stand this season and did a fantastic job. All proceeds earned at track meets go back to the ALAH track programs.
He gave special thanks to Assistant Coach Mike Haste and Girls Coach Bryton Ragon for all their help this season. He also thanked Makaylah Graham for her time helping early in the season.
Coach McCarthy then spoke about his team and stated that track is both an individual and team sport and it is challenging and most times their opponent is themselves. He was proud of the way they overcame adversity throughout the season and the way individuals stepped up when needed. The goal of JH track is to improve every day and reach their full potential as an athlete, student and individual.
Coach then introduced the sixth graders who were members of the 7th grade team. Sixth grade team members introduced were: Conner Crabtree, Anthony Graham, Beau Green, Bentley Hutson, Jase Kingery, Colton Snyder, Dustin Snyder, Donovan Vanausdoll and Greyson Yoder. Coach then introduced the seventh graders: Anden Berry, Solly Binion, Ashton Crumrin, Cannon Doggett, Faemus Davison, and Alex Olivero. Their record in dual and triangular meets was 10-5-1. They took 2nd in both the ALAH Invite and Arcola Invite, 12th at Mt. Zion’s Invitational, were Jr. High Okaw Conference Champions and were 7th at the IESA Sectional at Newton. Beau Green represented the 7th grade team at State in the 1600 meter run.
The eighth grade team members were up next. Team members included: Max Boddy, Hayden Ely, Preston Gingerich, Coye Grant, Owen Herring, Brennon Hutson, Dylan Ingersoll, Tyler Lisanby, Cameron McGill, Nicholas Rafferty, Cooper Shoemaker, Josh Taylor and Mason Thomas. Their season record was 8-8 in smaller meets and they were 1st in their own Invite, 2nd in the Arcola Invite, 7th at Mt. Zion, 3rd in the JHOC, and 9th at Sectional. The six State qualifiers were Max Boddy, Owen Herring, Brennon Hutson, Tyler Lisanby, Cooper Shoemaker and Mason Thomas. Coach said they represented their team, school, and communities very well.
Coach McCarthy then gave out his Special Awards. The Points Award goes to the athlete in each grade that scores the most points during the season. Beau Green won the award for the sixth grade, Alex Olivero was the leading scorer in the seventh grade and Max Boddy scored the most points in the eighth grade.
The Team Award is given to the athlete that is unselfish, has a good work ethic, is coachable, sets a positive example and is consistent. Winners of the 2023 Team Award were Jase Kingery and Cooper Shoemaker.
The last award for the boys was the Leadership Award, given to the athletes that lead by example and also verbally and help their teammates become better. 2023 Leadership Award winners were Tyler Lisanby, Preston Gingerich and Brennon Hutson.
Coach McCarthy wrapped up his portion of the evening by stating this year’s team were a great group at both practices and meets. They worked to be the best and he was privileged to be their coach. He looks for good things in the future for his returning athletes and those entering athletics in high school.
Coach Bryton Ragon then began the girls’ portion of the program. Coach Ragon said it was quite an interesting season and sometimes it seemed as if it was held together with ice, bandages, and KT tape!! Younger athletes stepped up and ran in events in the eighth grade and the girls all persevered to get through the season. Their motto was: “We are small, but we are mighty!!”
Coach Ragon introduced his sixth grade team members Katharine Palma, Georgia Stroh, Gwen Herring, Macey Boddy, and Zoey Mendoza and then the seventh graders: Brianna Clayton, Emily Keagle, Ella Oye, Layla Beck, Sophia Johnson and Norma Mendoza.
Before he had the eighth graders come up front, he mentioned that this his first group of girls he coached in Jr. High starting with them as sixth graders. This group won the ALAH and Arcola Invites all three years and were Jr. High Okaw Conference Champions each year also. Eighth grade team members were Ashby Coblentz, Reece Oye, Leighton Poulos, Maleyna Vanausdoll, Kate Wiley, Cassidy Rohacs, Riley Strode, Embrey Reardon and Morgan Casteel.
Coach Ragon then handed out his Special Awards. First up was the Points Award given to the athlete that scores the most points during the season. The 6th grade winner was Zoey Mendoza and the 7th grade award was won by her sister Norma. Coach Ragon thought the sisterly rivalry between the two helped them to score the most points. Cassidy Rohacs was the Points Award winner for the eighth grade as she consistently scored high in the hurdles and on relays and in the high jump. Cassidy was also the only girl to qualify for the State meet this year.
The Team Award for the girls is given to the athletes that put forth consistent effort, are willing to learn, develop and get better. Winners of this award were Gwen Herring, who was willing to move up and run against eighth graders as she learned it would only make her a better runner and Embrey Reardon who had drive and endurance and was often harder on herself than Coach.
The girls’ Leadership Award goes to those who lead by example, lead during warm ups and can be counted on to take care of the other girls. Another pair of sisters were the winners of this award, Ella, seventh grade and Reece Oye, eighth grade.
Coach Ragon said the season was a success despite the setbacks and was a year of almosts, mentioning how close some athletes came to qualifying for State. He also wanted to recognize Kate Wiley who although she was hurt most of the season was there all the time, cheering on the other girls and doing whatever she could to help. He was very proud of the fact that she got to run one race in the final home meet of the season.
The Jr. High track teams would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the 2023 season.