|SSHS athletes honored at All-Sports Banquet|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 3, 2005 - Sulphur Springs coaches and parents not only celebrated the athletes of today during the All-Sports Banquet Monday night, they also saluted a former Wildcat.
The banquet started with the recognition of 2003 SSHS graduate Jose Osornio, who recently received a Purple Heart for injuries suffered while serving with the U.S. Marines in Iraq, and ended with the school's most prestigious athletic honors - the James Cameron Fighting Heart and the Forrest Gregg MVP awards.
The Fighting Heart Award, given to a senior male and female athlete who exhibit the most courage and are committed to giving 100 percent in practice and games, was presented to Jared Ramey and Stephanie Kethley.
The MVP Award, which honors the senior male and female athlete who not only participate in multiple sports, but excel in them, was given to Betsy Blount, Casey Carper and Keelan Green.
Ramey was recognized for playing his junior year of football with a torn ACL, then playing through a dislocated elbow in soccer. He was All-District in both sports.
Kethley, said coach John McCullough, "was the first to arrive at practice, and the last to leave. She was a leader on and off the field and never stopped working to get better."
Blount, who will play volleyball at Southwestern Oklahoma, was the MVP Setter of the district in volleyball, a four-year regional qualifier in cross country (she was also the MVP in that sport), and a starter in softball.
Carper, who has signed to play softball at Odessa College, was a three-time winner at the banquet. She was also named the MVP of softball and volleyball.
Green played three sports: football, where he was an All-State kick returner; track, where he holds the 100-meter and 200-meter dash records and was named the sport's MVP; and basketball.
One of the most special awards was given to Osornio by head football coach Brad Turner. Osornio played football in 2002, graduated in 2003 and joined the Marines later that year.
He was injured when his Humvee ran over a land mine and was destroyed. Osornio received stitches in his head, missed a week of duty, then went back into battle.
"I've always believed that the values you learn in football help you become a better person, and he's living proof of that," Turner said. "But, what he's doing for his country and his community goes way beyond what he did in football," said Turner.
Osornio's story will be in tomorrow's edition.
In his closing remarks, SSISD athletic director Dwayne McMeans alluded to the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats' athletic success, which included a playoff victory in football; making the playoffs in volleyball, girls and boys soccer, softball and baseball; earning regional berths in boys and girls cross country, team tennis, boys and girls golf, boys and girls track, and powerlifting.
He also penned a moving poem about how younger people look up to the Marines like Osornio and the athletes like Green.
It was a fitting end of the evening, which began with Eric Chenault's invocation and closed with Christina Patchen's well-spoken benediction.
In between, head coaches in the 17 varsity sports presented MVP awards and recognized the Academic All-District athletes.
Tommy Kimmel was presented the Special Olympics award by Turner.
Haleigh Hampton was given the Athletic Trainer Award by trainer Matthew Torbert, who said she helped him get settled in his first year here. Whitney Mitchell and Tasia Barrett was given academic awards.
Carper won the MVP award in girls volleyball after being named Defensive MVP of the district. She helped the Lady Cats to a second-place finish in district and their first winning record in four seasons. Academic athletes were Carper, Blount, Patchen, Kayla Morgan, Ne-Ne Hynson, Kethley, Tanna Lampp, Jennifer Moreland, Jessica Owens, Hailey Watson, Marlee Peugh and Cassie McClendon.
In football, the MVP award was given to the four senior team captains voted on by the players: Rolaundo Wright, Keidric Duffey, Wes Woods and Keenan Clayton.
Cross country MVP winners were Blount for the girls after she finished eighth at district and become a four-time regional qualifier, and sophomore Graham Northcutt, who was second at district, fifth at regional and qualified for the state meet. Academic awards were given to Jill Wood, Morgan Baima, Makenzie Kelty, Blount, Tate Ramirez, Ty Stephens, David Miranda, Wilson Jones and Northcutt.
Senior Terra Jackson, the lone Lady Cat to make First Team All-District, was named the MVP of girls basketball. She was joined on the Academic All-District list by Ne-Ne Hynson, Patchen, Kayla Morgan and Kaitlin Black.
In boys basketball, the team's leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, Rolaundo Wright, was named the MVP. Academic awards were given to Stephen Kramer, Ryan Allison and Derek Dickson.
The girls soccer award was shared by senior Tess Bragg, the team's inspirational leader and fierce competitor, and sophomore Gayle Grand-Lienard, the district's MVP. Academic awards were presented to Morgan Baima, Maci Chester, Andrea Cordova, Robin Grafton and Neesha Malaj.
In boys soccer, the team's two captains, seniors John Fox and Wilson Jones, shared the MVP award after the district championship squad won a school-record 20 games and posted nine district shutouts.
Senior Kasey Follis, one of the four Wildcats to qualify for the state meet, was named the powerlifting MVP. Given academic awards were Eric Gunderson, Zach Lewis and Tory Mathies.
The SSHS tennis team won a regional berth in the fall format, and had eight individuals/teams place in the top four at the spring district meet. The MVP awards were given to junior Cynthia Sanchez, a two-time winner of the honor, and senior doubles player Luke Panter. Academic athletes were Jacob Harris, Jordan Horne, Aly Jackson, Katie Hettich, Lauren Longino, Landon McCaig, Morgan McCormack, Tara Moore, Luke Panter, Paul Pattberg, Kendall Smith and Ryan Thompson.
Girls golf MVP winners were seniors Faith Harry and Brooke Wilson after the Lady Cats won the district championship and finished sixth at regionals. Academic awards were given to Jessica Anderson and Harry.
In boys golf, the Wildcats' two regional qualifiers, junior Seth Northcutt and sophomore Dustin Gideon shared the MVP award. Then both were academic athletes along with Sam Dolan and Chase Helm.
Junior Bridgette Nash won the girls track MVP award after winning the district title in the shot put and finishing third at regional, one inch away from a state berth.
Green won the boys track award for rewriting the school's record book. He also had the state's fastest time in the 200-meters this year and won the 100 at the Texas Relays. He was district champion in both sprints. Academic awards were given to Ramirez and Tim Phillips.
Carper won the girls softball award after leading the team in batting average, hits, walks and stolen bases, and being the best defensive player. Academic athletes were Blount, Carper, Kelsey Evans, Tara Gibby, Hynson, Kethley, Tanna Lampp, Amanda McGowin, Tarra Morton, Patchen, Hailey Watson and Marci Womack.
The baseball award will not be presented until after the season is complete. The Wildcats play a bi-district series against Mesquite Poteet this weekend.