It was a night to honor athletes and their performances during the year at the Sulphur Springs all sports banquet at the high school cafeteria Monday.
Awards were presented to all athletes in all high school sports with coaches and other members of the support staff also honored at the event.
Top awards including the James Cameron Fighting Heart award went to Meagan McCullough, Hailey Dixon, Cole Hill and Tony Bravo. Named recipients of the Forrest Gregg MVP award were Toni Cody and Jenner Jackson.
Coach Matt Young lauded Hill for the award, saying the senior wide receiver on the football team and shortstop on the baseball squad was a clutch, tough and determined player and great teammate.
Young said, "He plays at a different level, he takes charge. He is a team player and at his best in big games. He plays with passion and emotion."
Head soccer coach Andy Holt presented the award to soccer standout Bravo saying he was going to miss the senior. Bravo was a four-year starter and finished his career with 77 total goals, most in team history. Holt said, "He played well even when he was hurt. Tony scored five goals in two soccer playoff games on one foot. I hate to see him go."
Head volleyball and soccer coach David Carrillo presented Cody the Forrest Gregg award. She was recognized for "playing to a higher standard." Carrillo said, "Toni is a selfless person who tries to work and make the team better. She never has a negative word and is always ready to help the team."
Jerrod Hammack, head baseball coach, told of the talents of Jenner Jackson, senior pitcher/third baseman. "He is a consistently excellent, he has toughness and is a competitor. He goes beyond the call of duty. He sets high standards. He played hurt and handles adversity well. He welcomes the hard struggle."
Booster club officer Craig Roberts welcomed the crowd to open the banquet. He told the coaches to use their outside voices due to the large crowd so people to hear through the public address system.
Roberts said he was blessed to be part of the event which could honor 17 sports and 49 teams at Sulphur Springs. He thanked the booster club, parents, school administration and all involved in making the banquet a success.
Sulphur Springs athletic director Greg Owens echoed the remarks made by Roberts and also thanked personnel who made the banquet possible. He thanked the band, drill team, cheerleaders, school officials, coaches and athletes.
Doug Haston video producer of KSST, Ch. 18 was given a special award for 23 years of media service covering Sulphur Springs sporting events.
Special education teacher Kailey Bowman gave the special education athletic award to Iris Ortiz.
Head athletic trainer Tammy Carrell thanked her assistant Josh Neill and all student trainers. Carrell presented the athletic trainer MVP award to senior Andrea Vasquez.
Carrillo, sporting blond hair he recently got due to a softball playoff win, also presented volleyball awards. He told of the sacrifice and hard work done by the players and coaches during the season. MVP awards went to Kasey Moore and Destiny Wade. He also recognized three special senior players Andi Clark, Bailee Coleman and Toni Cody.
Greg Owens, head football coach, thanked all coaches and their wives, students and parents involved in making the football program a success. He listed awards for athletics and academics won by team members. Brad Macek, Jordan and Jenner Jackson were given all-state academic awards. Owens told of the Wildcats going undefeated in district and winning the fourth title with a perfect mark. Owens said the 8-3 team had a successful year and gave the MVP award to all senior players.
Holt introduced all boys and girls cross country team members. He told how the teams battled injuries, but still had success. The boys MVP award went to Carter White while Madison Ramirez was given the MVP award for the girls team.
Head girls basketball coach Jeff Chapman introduced his team and told of honors won for athletics and academics. He told how all five starters were named to the all-district team as his squad made the playoffs. Desi Debase, who averaged 20 points a game, was the recipient of the MVP award. Chapman said, "We are just losing one senior, Syndie Fisher, so we should have a good team returning."
Jeremy Josey, head boys basketball coach, thanked all involved. He introduced all team members and assistant coaches. He gave special notice to seniors Austin Buck, Reid Burns, Connor Cooper, Mel Person and Andra Smith. "They are my first senior class to graduate, so they are special to me," Josey said. Isaiah Lacy was recognized for earning TABC all-state academic honors for maintaining a 94 or above average and making first team all-district. Cooper was named the MVP by Josey.
Jesus DeLeon, girls soccer coach, told how his team had a good year and again made the playoffs. DeLeon said they had wins over Greenville twice and North Lamar. "We had a good year with some outstanding young players." DeLeon said. Harlee Schulz and Emalee McMillan were named MVPs.
Holt, the boys head soccer coach, recounted success of the year as they went 24-5-4 and advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs. The success of the team equalled the most success ever had by the squad. The team won district with an undefeated record and scored playoff wins of powerhouses Highland Park and Frisco Legacy. Holt said the 12 seniors were the backbone of the team and responsible for three district titles in the last fours years. All seniors were named as MVPs according to Holt.
Powerlifting head coach Jeremy Offutt explained how he had limited experience in the sport to start the season, but grew with his team. The Wildcats had seven quality for regional and Jesse Ortiz made the state finals. Ortiz was named MVP of the team.
Head tennis coach Randy Namanny said his team turned heads with outstanding performances during year. "People starting to watch and see if the kid was from Sulphur Springs and they took notice of us. That was a pleasure to watch when we played teams like Robert E. Lee and other big schools." The team was fourth overall in district with the girls team in second. MVP awards went to Will Horton for the boys team while Namanny honored the entire girls team with the MVP award.
Chris Owens, head girls golf coach, told of the academic and athletic awards won by the team. "We finished third in district and narrowly missed regional. We have a young team, we had some growing teams. But we will be better next year." Owens gave the MVP award to senior Victoria Chapman who is a four-year letterman and all-district player.
Boys head golf coach Ross Funk said his team participated in eight tournaments, finishing third or better in six events, winning two tournaments. Haden Sickles was recognized for making a hole-in-one during regional. Funk named senior Zachary Blackmon, team MVP. Blackmon will be playing golf next year at UT-Tyler.
Track coach Triston Abron told of success experienced by the girls team with Chrissalynd Person and Destiny Wade setting new school records. LaBrandis Adams was named the MVP.
Young, boys track coach, said the team won first place at the hometown Wildcat Relays. He also told of the dedication and hard work by team members. Young gave the MVP award to Willy Ivery who advanced to regional in two events, despite dividing his time between track and baseball.
Carrillo, recounted the softball team's success. The Lady Cats are still in the playoffs after taking third in district and winning the bi-district title over Nacogdoches. Carrillo said, "We are 22-12 and still going. This the most success the softball program has had since 2013." The team will be in the regional quarterfinals Friday at Royse City against Mansfield Legacy. No MVP was named.
Carrillo did give a special award to longtime assistant coach Eric Buck. Buck said this, his 27th year, would be his last year to coach. He will return as a classroom teacher. Buck, fighting back emotion, told of his love for the support and the enjoyment he has experienced during his coaching career.
Hammack, the head baseball coach, told how his team is continuing in the season and the squad was still after more wins. The Wildcats are 20-5-1 for the year even after a 0-4 start. The coach told of the success of his team. Current senior players Jenner and Jordan Jackson will be playing college ball at Grayson County College and Hill will be playing for Galveston College.
"We have been to the playoffs eight years in a row under me," Hammack said. "We have a good, determined team. We have gotten better during the year. We just had a very exciting win over a good Wylie East team. We now take on Whitehouse in the next round of the playoffs."
No MVP award was given.
The awards banquet was opened with the invocation by Brad Macek. Toni Cody gave the benediction to close the event which was attended about 450 persons according to officials.
Photos will be posted on the myssnews.com Facebook page.
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