Panthers honored among Texoma's best

By Griff Servati
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Austin Cuthbertson, surrounded by family members signed to Powerlift for Midland University.

The annual recognition ceremony for the year's best high school sports performances, All-Texomaland Awards, was held this week.

Three athletes are chosen as finalists for the "player of the year" superlative award from the awardees. This end of the year showcase features the announcements for the winner of that award.

For the second consecutive year, the show was held virtually featuring guest appearances from professional athletes in each sport who made comments and announced the top local athletes of the year.  

Bi District Champions; 2021 Lady Panthers softball.

The Panthers honored were Blake Hyatt, JJ Boling, Austin Cuthbertson, and the Lady Panther softball team. Blake Hyatt was a top-three finalist for the Male Track Most Outstanding athlete. Hyatt advanced to the State Track meet in the 800m and as a part of the 4x400m relay team in his junior season. The VAHS Lady Panther softball team was honored as a finalist for "Team of the Year". The team that fought to get into the playoffs went on a remarkable run to the Regional Semi-Finals.  

JJ Boling, VAHS Junior, was awarded the Most Valuable Player.

J.J. Boling was honored with winning the Most Outstanding Male Basketball player. Boling, as a junior, led the Panthers through his play and leadership on the court. The guard led the Panthers to its first District Championship at the 4A level. The team advanced to the regional quarter-finals in the playoffs beating Dallas Lincoln in the process. Boling will return to the Panther lineup for his senior season this year.  

Austin Cuthbertson received a special honor of the Deckard-Woodley-Pelton Courage Award. This special honor included a video interview with Cuthbertson, his parents, and his coaches. Austin, who has dwarfism, spoke about how he found powerlifting during his freshmen year in high school. His parents, Mark and Missy, spoke about all that Austin overcame to compete and grow as a person. His coaches talked about the moment when Austin captured the State Powerlifting Championship this season.  

The All-Texomaland Sports Awards show can still be viewed online at https://sportsawards.usatoday.com/texomaland.  

Blake Hyatt turns the final curve on his leg of the 4x400m relay as a VAHS student section "Packs the Curve".