VAHS athletes honored for successful year
The Van Alstyne Athletic Booster Club sponsored the annual athletic banquet on May 11. Last year, during the school shutdown, the event was held with coaches traveling in a bus to each of the honorees' homes, this year back at the school but with some changes. The event was held without a banquet meal and in the gym with parents between the two stands and the student-athletes on the gym floor.
In a year of unknowns, the Panthers competed without losing games, much less a season. There were a couple of big winners on the evening celebrating the year. Kate Carson, the senior multisport athlete, walked away with her name on several plaques. She was awarded MVPs in track, basketball, and cross country. Adding to those were the superlative awards of the FCA Leadership Award and the Panther Pride Award. The Panther Pride award is an award chosen by the coaching staff as one that best exemplifies what a student-athlete is to be on and off the field.
Senior male athlete Connor Loftice was awarded in three areas for his work on and off the field. The first baseman received the Baseball MVP. The athletic training staff awarded him the 'Silver Star' award to the athlete who had to overcome injury and put in the training effort to return to play. Loftice was recognized for his work in the classroom for having the highest GPA of the senior male athletes with the Scholastic Athlete Award.
Senior Kylie Allen received the prestigious Athlete of the Year award and the female 'Silver Star' award. Kylie moved to Van Alstyne this year while still recovering from a torn ACL until she returned to play halfway through the volleyball season. She went on to contribute heavily in volleyball, basketball, and softball for the Lady Panthers. Her cousin, Junior Gavin Montgomery, came away with three awards for his team contributions: Track MVP, Football Offensive MVP, and the overall Football MVP.
The most successful team was still competing at the banquet time; with the softball team in the playoffs, Kelsie Adams did not receive her honor of being the team MVP until after the season concluded.
A couple of senior awards to note were those given to Tom Fowler and Nathan Henley. Fowler, a team-first contributor in the successful basketball season and a multi-tool baseball player, was awarded the superlative Panther Pride award. Henley, who played football, basketball, and baseball, was awarded overall Male Athlete of the Year. The senior who played football for the varsity football for the first time, mainly for the unknowns associated with competing in the pandemic clouded return to school.
The biggest applause on the night was when Austin Cuthbertson was awarded his MVP for Powerlifting. Coach Guerrero reminded everyone that only one person in the room with a State Championship was Austin; the crowd erupted in applause for the senior.
Congrats to the Panther athletes and coaches on a great year. Everyone knows that this year was a unique one and that it took extra resolve and effort even to reach the competitive opportunities.
CROSS COUNTRY - BLAKE HYATT, KATE CARSON
FOOTBALL MVP - GAVIN MONTGOMERY
DEFENSIVE MVP - COLLIN REYNOLDS
OFFENSIVE MVP _- GAVIN MONTGOMERY
LINEMAN OF THE YEAR- JACOB GALLARDO
VOLLEYBALL MVP - VALERIE YOUNG
POWERLIFTING MVP - AUSTIN CUTHBERTSON, JESSICA THOMAS
GIRLS BASKETBALL MVP - KATE CARSON
BOYS BASKETBALL MVP - J.J BOLING
GIRLS TENNIS MVP - MAKENNA DANCER
BOYS TENNIS MVP - BRYCE WICKERSHEIM
GIRLS GOLF MVP - ALEX HILL
BOYS GOLF MVP - RANDALL SEARLS
SOFTBALL MVP - KELSIE ADAMS
BASEBALL MVP-- CONNOR LOFTICE
GIRLS TRACK MVP - KATE CARSON
BOYS TRACK MVP - GAVIN MONTGOMERY
STUDENT-ATHLETE TRAINER OF THE YEAR – JANESSA CRAWFORD
SILVER SHIELD AWARD – CONNOR LOFTICE, KYLIE ALLEN
FCA AWARD - AUSTIN CUTHBERTSON, KATE CARSON
VAHS ATHLETES OF THE YEAR - NATHAN HENLEY, KYLIE ALLEN
PANTHER PRIDE AWARD - TOM FOWLER, KATE CARSON
SCHOLASTIC ATHLETES - CONNOR LOFTICE, MAKENNA DANCER