Stanwood High virtually honored its senior athletes in a video released Thursday, including announcing several awards and acknowledging the cancellation of the spring sports season.
“It’s difficult to stand here and talk to an open gym,” Athletic Director Tom Wilfong said in the video. “I know we have lost one of our seasons this year. It’s painful. I hope it will be something our students, our parents, our coaches, our community can absorb and eventually look back at and understand what happened and move on from it. But I have no doubt the student athletes will be able to be resilient and move forward.”
Twenty-eight Spartan athletes ended their careers with a 3.7 GPA or better, earning awards during the 14th annual Senior Athletic Banquet.
The Female Athlete of the Year award was shared by a pair of two-time state champions: Chanel Siva and Jetlynn Hau.
Siva went to the state wrestling tournament all four years — winning state titles the past two years — and has been nationally ranked in the top 10 of her weight class. She earned a scholarship to wrestle at Corban University in Salem, Oregon.
“She is always mentally prepared, physically prepared,” Spartan girls wrestling coach Todd Freeman said. “She has within her that drive that desire that she’s not going to let anyone beat her. She prepared herself, and she’s taken every opportunity to get better.”
Hau advanced to the state swim championships all four years, placing in the top 10 each trip including a pair of state titles in the 100 yard breaststroke.
“She started setting school records her freshman year and never stopped,” Spartan girls swim coach Rita Peterson said.
Hau won her most recent breaststroke title in 1:02.04 — the third fastest time in 3A or 4A state history.
“You don’t become a state champion by chance,” Peterson said. “It takes an incredible amount of determination and dedication.”
Male Athlete of the Year award winner Preston Pierce, who also claimed the Male Academic Athlete of the Year award, has played tennis, basketball and baseball in his high school career.
Spartan tennis coach Sean Cunningham said one word sums up Pierce: Competitiveness.
“I’ve yet to encounter an athlete that generates such a healthy, competitive approach,” said Cunningham, who has coached for 21 years. “He’s a consummate competitor. … He coaches himself up whether it's a game point or warm ups. His desire to succeed is infectious.”
Pierce, who graduates as a valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA, first picked up a tennis racket as a sophomore and qualified for state in his senior year. He signed to play college baseball at Allegheny College.
“He participated in every athletic season except one in his high school career,” Spartan baseball coach Matt Brennan said. “He takes those lessons he learned on the field and on the court and applies it to his academics.”
Lauren Brager earned the Female Academic Athlete of the Year, earning a 4.0 GPA in addition to advancing to the girls swimming district meet all four years and the state swimming championships twice. In all, she earned seven varsity letters in swimming and tennis.
“Lauren’s true value to our team isn’t summed up by those big meets, it’s captured in practice every day and in our dual meet season,” Peterson said. “The harder and longer the (practice) set, the better she swam. … I could always count on Lauren to finish with 110% effort every single time. … (T)hat perseverance and sheer mental toughness will take you further than you might imagine.”
Cam Everett and Maddy Hepper were honored with the Cliff Gillies awards, honoring participation in student activities, academic achievement, sportsmanship and citizenship.
Spartan boys basketball coach Zach Ward said Everett’s selection for the award is supported by a letter the school received from the local officials association recognizing his positive attitude during competition.
“His ability to play extremely hard and while keeping emotions in check is a constant challenge for young athletes today,” Ward said of Everett, who graduates with a 3.98 GPA and will attend the University of Washington in the fall. “His ability to handle pressures athletics bring while keeping up with classes. ... He handled this with great pride and determination.”
Hepper, who ran on the cross country and track and field teams, was honored for community involvement, Spartan track and field coach Jordan Sneva said.
“Maddy Hepper is all-state when it comes to being a teammate, person and someone involved in the community,” Sneva said. “She’s spent countless hours at the food bank” and at other community events.
Four Spartans played a sport all year, earning Three-sport Awards: Jacob Grant (football, swimming, track and field), Shelby Lund (soccer, basketball, golf), Lucien Mailho (tennis, swim track and field), and Dylan Link (tennis, swim, soccer).
Two Spartans earned the school’s Red Award, which goes to those who earn nine to 12 varsity letters during their career: Shelby Lund (12) and Preston Pierce (nine).
Seventeen students were honored with the White Award, which goes to Spartans who earn six to eight varsity letters in their career: Isabelle Acoba (six), Taylor Eldridge (six), Dylan Link (six), Hailey Ovenell (six), Anna Schander (six), Sarah Schmidt (six), Heidi Ten Hoopen (six), Paige Tift (six), Alanna Velasquez (six), Lauren Brager (seven), Kaleb Danielson (seven), Jacob Grant (seven), Luke Griffin (seven), Sadie Johnson (seven), Jason Khoury (seven), Charlotte Bentz (eight) and Shintaro Wilcox (eight).