The stars were out in full force Wednesday night at the Civic Auditorium as The Dalles High School celebrated athletic and academic achievements at the annual All Sports Awards Show.
With TD athletic director Mike Somnis as the orator speaking highly of his support staff, administrators, coaches, parents and community members, Riverhawk student-athletes had 16 members recognized for their scholastic endeavors for the Student Athlete Academic Excellence Award for multi-sport athletes, who were in the top-10 of their respective class.
Honored were William Burns, Spencer Honald, Maria Keilman, Jessika Nanez, Quinn Strassheim, Alexia Tapia, Jodi Thomasian, William Brewer, Luis Meyer, Molly Nelson, Chase Snodgrass, Katie Burns, Avery Cardosi, Whitney Scott, Katie Conklin and Andy Felderman.
Each of these student-athletes maintained a 3.95 grade point average or higher while playing at least two sports.
Colin Noonan picked up the Male Scholar Athlete Award, and senior Olivia Starks, with her all-league status in volleyball and basketball, along with her 3.95 grade point average, won her second consecutive Scholar Athlete of the Year Award.
Starks said balancing civic duties, athletics and academics is not an easy task by any stretch, but added that it is worth it.
“It is a combination of responsibility and desire. It is really about that desire to want to be the best in every aspect,” Starks said. “I think the people that were recognized tonight realize that. They put in that work every single day into the late night. It is a lot of late nights and I will really miss it.”
Somnis offered his gratitude to Ethan Wray, Bryan Dean, Courtney Kiser, Trudy Lupkes and John Westhafer for their time spent helping with events throughout the year.
Principal Nick Nelson, vice principal Kurt Evans and Kristal Corey were honored for their support of TD athletics.
Al Wynn, Bob Brockman, Bob Caldwell, Paul Beasley, Rod Runyon and Randy Haynes received praise for announcing games, and Kevin Bailey was thanked for his coordination of TD Riverhawk swim meets.
Somnis added a special commendation to long-time athletics secretary Alyson Vennewitz.
“Truly, the athletics department could not function without her,” Somnis said. “With the amount of time that I am out of the building throughout the year, she does an incredible job of staying on top of all the issues that come through our department and keeps our paperwork and our coaching staffs up to speed at all times.”
This past season, The Dalles girls’ tennis team sent Marisa Cianci, Anna Miller and Johanna Wilson to state, and the track and field and swim teams had multiple state qualifiers.
The girls’ cross country team captured a Columbia River Conference championship and finished in fourth place at state.
In coach Kristi Maley’s final season, The Dalles Cheer and Dance squad claimed the 5A state championship.
Maley, swim coach Scott McKay and boys’ basketball coach Bob Townsend were honored for their contributions as coaches.
TD senior Katie Conklin, who will attend Northwest Nazarene University, was called up by track and field coach Garth Miller and was awarded Female Athlete of the Year for her solid basketball and track and field seasons.
Miller also presented four-sport athlete and district track and field hurdle champion Sant Strassheim with the Male Co-Athlete of the Year Award.
Strassheim, who is off to the Oregon Institute of Technology, finished his final year with a 3.51 GPA.
Hall of Fame baseball coach and current varsity football head coach Steve Sugg, called all-league football player and state-qualifying track and field standout Riley Bardes to the podium for his Male Co-Athlete of the Year award.
Bardes, who had a 3.36 grade point average, is off to Western Oregon University this fall.
Community staple and Babe Ruth president Butch Hert received the Amaton Award from Somnis.
Hert has transformed the old Wahtonka baseball field for usage by the TD freshman and Babe Ruth baseball teams by moving the soccer scoreboard, manicuring the cutouts, filling in the basepaths and revamping the dugouts.
“He has and will continue to be an invaluable asset to baseball in The Dalles for many years,” Somnis said.
TD softball coach Steve Garrett honored senior volleyball, basketball and softball standout Morgan Goslin with the Vince Peickert Citizenship Athlete of the Year.
Goslin is an active participant in the Parks and Recreation program and during the softball season, she helped coordinate an ALS fundraiser to raise money for research.
The trio of Ale Pena, Sydney Langer and Aldo Rivas had their names called as TD Riverhawk Hall of Fame winners.
Goslin plans to play softball at Big Bend Community College, Rivas heads to Eastern Oregon University, and Langer, a first-team all-state dance winner, will head to Seattle University.
Pena, who had a 3.51 grade point average, will attend the University of Oregon in the fall.
“Honestly, I am very proud of this accomplishment,” said Pena, a first-team all-state dance recipient. “It is probably one of the biggest accomplishments of my high school career. I am really excited to have left my mark in front my teammates and friends.”
Students do not need to wear a jersey to be part of a team, and Somnis called up Charlie Hert, Bri Staavas-Jamack and Deysi Velador for Special Student awards for going above and beyond the call of duty as a team manager or support staff to various programs.
Staavas-Jamack, a senior, was an integral part of the soccer and swim program.
Velador, a varsity volleyball letter winner, played a major role for the girls’ basketball team during the winter and Hert was team manager, scorekeeper and videographer for the volleyball program.
“It means a lot. It feels good to be a part of the team and help them,” said Hert, who also played baseball this past spring. “There’s a lot that goes into it and I was willing to do whatever it took to make everyone’s job easier.”
Somnis also paid homage to Lori and Daniel Bonham, along with Carrie Armstrong for restarting The Dalles Athletic Booster Club, which had been defunct for the past 17 years.
Nine Riverhawk athletes donned uniforms through the entire school season, as three-sport letter recipients at the varsity level.
Goslin, Colton Lee and Strassheim highlighted the senior group.
Thomasian was the lone freshman and juniors Jennifer Bonham, Lori Cimmiyotti and sophomores Brooke McCall, Ivorie Taylor and Iliana Telles were honored for their hard work and dedication through multiple endeavors.
“This is honestly my favorite awards banquet of the year,” Starks said. “I think it really illustrates all of the hard work that these athletes put in. I think that needs to be highlighted because it is such an important piece when you can combine athleticism and academics. It is important to see that hard work does pay off.”