Winter athletes lauded at ceremony

Pat Pakkarato prepares to embrace coach Brian Pierce after winning Male Swimmer of the Year honors Monday. He was regional champion in the boys 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly.  Photo by Anthony Militano inning Male Swimmer of the Year honors Monday. He was regional champion in the boys 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly.  Photo by Anthony Militano
Pat Pakkarato prepares to embrace coach Brian Pierce after winning Male Swimmer of the Year honors Monday. He was regional champion in the boys 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly. Photo by Anthony Militano inning Male Swimmer of the Year honors Monday. He was regional champion in the boys 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly. Photo by Anthony Militano

Grand County High School held its Winter Sports Awards Ceremony on Monday, March 2, in the high school auditorium. 

Principal Dr. Steven Hren said, “I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight to support our winter athletic programs. I also want to thank all the coaches for the amount of time that they put in, those countless hours, and their families for allowing them to do that. We all know it’s a sacrifice for everyone.” Hren also acknowledged administrative and office staff, and the transportation department for bringing athletes “to and from events safely.”

Milo Birdwell achieved academic all-region and all-state in basketball. Josie Wakefield earned academic all-region and all-state for swimming. Kiersten Kimmerle picked up academic all region honors in swimming and Emma Millis scored academic all-region in debate. 

“We have four special seniors,” cheer advisor Rae Lynn Mason announced. “Each of them has worked really hard and achieved some incredible things. Two of our seniors are graduating with 4.0s.” 

Malissa Christensen has been taking college classes. Alezea Corthern is a Sterling Scholar. Shealby Lay plans to attend Dixie State next fall and intends to be a Dixie State cheerleader. Lay became a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-American designee last summer. Gillian Windsor will graduate a year early and she will enter service in the U.S. Navy. 

Wrestling coach Dennis Wells made a point to thank Landon Morales and Oscar Martinez in the 106-pound weight class, Trenton Nelson in the 160-pound division and Jacob Kelley and Jaymmin Hester in the 285-pound section. Wells announced the USHAA might approve girls wrestling, perhaps by next year. Wells admitted he was intrigued by the thought of female grapplers on his team and encouraged girls in the audience to take up the sport. 

The Grand County drill team is small. “There is no JV here, you are kind of thrown on the varsity team and are expected to perform at that level” coach Regan Ballard said. The team might be small compared with others in southern Utah, but Ballard and co-coach Heather Dowd agree the Devilettes learned a great deal this year and the team went toe to toe with larger schools this season and really kicked it. Captain Daisy Mecham will try out for the UVU Drill Team and “we wish her luck,” Ballard said.  

 “I don’t judge varsity or actually any of it by wins and losses,” basketball coach Scott Horton said. “I judge by how we grow as individuals. This is the whole point why we are here, me and the other coaches. We want kids to grow, to be productive members of society.” Horton recognized seniors Birdwell, Kaine Allred, Luke Williams, Eli Hazlett, and gave a special shout-out to senior Zach Cook for his loyalty and helping the team during practices. 

First year girls basketball coach Andrea Noyes took the helm of a young team and she credited the Red Devils with perseverance, a character trait that will lead to solid citizenship and success across many aspects of life. The girls basketball team had the highest cumulative GPA of all of the winter sports teams. 

The swim team set 312 personal records this year, an emotional coach Brian Pierce announced. Zoe Warren earned rookie of the year honors and Aly Bertoch picked up most improved swimmer for the girls. Kimmerle scored most dedicated swimmer and Wakefield earned the Lady Red Devils swimmer of the year award. 

Rookie of the year went to Tagert Farnsworth and Stryder Young was cited as the most dedicated swimmer for the boys. Camron Stotz locked up most improved swimmer and Pat Pakkarato was awarded male Red Devils swimmer of the year.