If there was one phrase more valued by Ignacio High’s athletic faculty than “weight room” at IHS’ 2015 Athletic Awards Banquet, it had to have been “Academic All-State.”
Presented by Athletic Director Rocky Cundiff to all gathered within the Ignacio Middle School cafeteria Monday night, May 18, eight IHS student-athletes – with many suiting up for at least two different teams during the year – received First Team Academic All-State honors from the Colorado High School Activities Association for maintaining a grade-point average exceeding 3.7 while participating in CHSAA-sanctioned athletics.
Those recognized were: Austin McCaw (football, basketball, baseball), Chrystianne Valdez (volleyball, fall cheerleading, basketball, track), Tyler Riepel (track), Davey Cooper (wrestling, track), Wyatt Hayes (football, basketball), Dynesha Drake (fall cheerleading), July Stricherz (winter cheerleading) and Jerica Jackson (fall/winter cheerleading).
Senior Adison Jones, a rock for Bobcat Football and Basketball during the 2014-15 year – now preparing to study and hoop at Otero Junior College this fall – swept the scholarships awarded during the event in receiving the San Juan Basin League Scholarship, the IHS Booster Club Scholarship and the Butch Melton Scholarship.
Senior Blaine Mickey (football, wrestling, track) was saluted for his dedication to the Red-and-White as IHS’ only three-sport, four-year participant set to graduate, while a team’s worth of student-athletes were noted for three-sport work in ’14-15:Tori Archuleta, Tyler Beebe, Marcus Chapman, Rachel Cooper, Sky Cotton, Alex Lopez, Austin McCaw, Cole McCaw, Mickey, Lea Monroe, Lucas Monroe, Lorenzo Pena, Mike Perez, Timmy Plehinger, Ellie Seibel and Chrystianne Valdez.
After the celebration began with Booster Club President Janet Reinhardt’s speech stressing the importance of self-motivation and perseverance – the backside of the night’s program aptly summarized it, saying, ‘No matter how you feel … get up, dress up, show up, and never give up. Because YOU are a Bobcat!’ – each IHS team was brought up near the podium in full view of all, and its individual standouts announced.
Jones and Hayes were revealed as Co-Most Valuable Players for boys’ basketball by head coach Chris Valdez after the Cats captured third place at the 2A State Championships in Pueblo. Senior Iaasic Pena and junior Tucker Ward were then declared Co-MVP’s for baseball by head coach Bert Miller.
Jones, IHS Football’s quarterback (and a defensive back and linebacker) for four years, was named gridiron MVP by assistant coach Anthony Archuleta, with Mickey receiving the Coaches’ Award for his overall impact.
Riepel earned the Coaches’ Award for boys’ track, with Lillianna Romero given the girls’ equivalent, while Cotton was named Girls’ Most Valuable Athlete by coach Dylaina Morelli and Perez the Boys’ Most Valuable by coach Tony Kimball.
Volleyball boss Thad Cano bestowed upon Valdez both the team’s MVP and Coaches’ Award, and Oscar Cosio gave the girls’ soccer MVP to senior goalie Krissy Velasquez and the Coaches’ Award to senior defender Sarina Vigil.
The girls’ basketball MVP left little in the way of suspense; skipper Shane Seibel proudly presented it to Cotton, possibly the SJBL’s most energetic player and catalyst of the Lady Bobcats’ awesome nine-win turnaround and 17-5 overall record this winter. Cortney Baker, her braces-free smile well noted, received the Coaches’ Award.
Cheer Squad coach Jessica Musch presented Coaches’ Awards to fall-season cheerleaders Vigil and Da’Shonetta Lloyd, and to Sage Medicine Blanket off her winter roster, with Jackson named Most Valuable overall.
Wrestling head coach Cody Haga then stepped behind the microphone and delivered probably the most forceful address – a tough act for Cundiff to then follow – in presenting his hard-working crew.
Pena, having overcome multiple serious injuries during his four seasons on the mat to place sixth (at 152 pounds) in his final trip to Pepsi Center, was named Most Valuable, sophomore 138-pounder Ethan Appenzeller received the Coaches’ Award, and in a singlet-singular moment accompanied by extra applause, senior 106-pounder Wyatt Mickas stepped forward to receive his varsity ‘I’ letter.