Accomplished Athletes Awarded


Jonah Armstrong

Alondra Cisneros receiving her Academic Scholar Athlete award.

The 2017-2018 Winter Sports Awards Banquet highlighted the successes for all of the Winter Sports teams. Tears were shed and smiles were passed around the rooms as awards and small speeches for each player were given. Two Scholar Athlete awards were given to Senior Alondra Cisneros and Sophomore Coletin Hamblin for their outstanding academic achievements while playing a winter sport.

Sofia Zendejas
Zayn Herrera getting a handshake from her coach and receiving an award.

The girls’ soccer awards included many plaques distributed by the coaches. Coach Curtis gave a soccer ball to his assistant coach. The soccer ball contained signatures from the J.V. team. Linda Huerta and Maria Huerta were given Team Captain awards. Perla Botello and Tisel Martinez were awarded the Coach’s Award, while Isabella Toro was awarded Most Valuable Offensive Player, and Mackenzie Lynd was given the award for Most Valuable Defensive Player. Most Improved Player went to Clara Meza. Once all the J.V. girls got their awards, they gave Coach Curtis a gift. The gift was a frame with a picture of his team inside. This emotional tribute ended with a team hug. The varsity team laughed most of the time during their awards. They made jokes about each other and had fun, but when Coach Hickman would describe the girl he would give an award to, the tone of the room would become more serious and sentimental. “Papa” Steve, the varsity assistant coach, was also there helping pass out the awards.

Varsity girls’ soccer awards were given by Coach Hickman. The Captain awards went to Yadira Astorga-Leon and Taylor Hale. Coach’s awards went to Regan Barnachia and Millie Reynoso.  Rookie of the Year was awarded to Evelyn Camacho and Most Improved went to Saskia Haag. Offensive Player of the Year went to Bella Nuncio and Defensive Player of the Year went to Jonelle Rouell.

Mariah Nevarez
Regan Hamilton and Samantha Verdugo sitting together as teammates for the last time.

The awards for girls’ basketball took place in the I.R.C. Lecture Hall. The frosh-soph team members received the following awards: Alexus Villasenor got most improved player. Acsiris Silva-Almanza received the Captain award. Roslyn Tuaila also got a Captain award, as well as Kayron Vasquez. Judith Lopez was given the Coach’s Award.

The junior varsity team went undefeated this year. The players received the following awards: Mariah Nevarez was awarded the Defensive Player Award. Mahaila Laulu was given Most Improved.  Macayla Wells got the Top Offensive Player Award. Tyler Portenga received the Sixth Person of the Year Award. Bree Johansen got the Heart and Hustle award. Rylee Mizener got the Coach’s Award.  

Varsity girls’ basketball awards were given to the following: Senior Samantha Verdugo got one of the Captain’s Awards and Honorable Mention. Senior Haley Pulido got the Captain Award. She was also awarded 2nd Team All League. Senior Sierra Pilgrim also received the Captain’s award and Honorable Mention. Sophomore Morgan Pulido got the Heart and Hustle Award from her coach and was nominated for the 1st Team All League. Cherise strong got the Coach’s Award and Honorable Mention. Sophomore Regan Hamilton was nominated 1st Team All League. Sophomore Kyleigh Phillips was awarded Honorable Mention.

In the Taft Union High School library, both boys’ soccer teams were given awards for their participation in the sports season. Surrounded by loving parents and friends, the J.V. coach Roberto Gonzales awarded Ramiro Gonzalez with Most Improved, along with Michael Van Zee. Cristobal Huizar was given Offensive Player of the Year, and was noted as “mature and dedicated” by the coach. Andrew Rosales was awarded Most Defensive Player. The heartfelt coach shed tears during Emmanuel Miranda’s award, due to similarities in their passion for soccer and life stories. At last, Ilan Katz was awarded with Most Valuable Player, and was mentioned to never miss a day of practice. All in all, the ceremony was bitter-sweet and all-around a great way to end a season.

James Buddell
Michael Van Zee receives his Most Inspirational award from Coach Gonzalez.

The varsity team has more players, but Daniel Stewart, the varsity coach, gave out fewer awards. Most Improved Player was given to Roberto Frausto. This team gave an award commemorating Thomas Guzman for being the highest GPA athlete, and Most Valuable Player was Luis Tabares. All team members were called up and celebrated for their efforts, but only a select amount were given awards for their outstanding athleticism. According to Roberto Gonzales, “Yes, awards are important, but I believe that every single one of you deserve one.”

Jonah Armstrong
Connor McAfee with his awards.

The boys’ basketball teams, held their awards ceremony in the staff dining room. Head Coach of the basketball team, Eric Newton, started the night off by thanking all players, coaches, and parents respectively. Coach Newton also explained how his experience with the players from this year was one of the greatest he has ever had. He told of fun memories, thrilling game moments, and how he will never forget this team that he had coached. After the heartfelt story from Coach Newton, frosh-soph Coaches, Don Shock and Leroy Day, handed their awards out to the frosh-soph squad. Chase Letterman was selected as the M.V.P. for the year, and Kody Gary was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. Junior varsity Coaches, Jarrud Prosser and Anthony Reed, then took the stage to hand out the awards for the team. Connor Mcafee received the M.V.P. award, while Brett Walls received Defensive

Jonah Armstrong
Jacob Ellis received the Heart and Hustle award.

Player of the Year. Jacob Ellis, who is a well-known hustler in every sport, received the Hustle Award. Head Coach, Eric Newton, then handed out the awards for varsity. Fano Maui received the Team Captain Award, which is the equivalent to M.V.P., while Zach Tuila received the Wildcat of the Year Award. Jackson Van Roekel received the Heart and Hustle Award, while Blake Smith received the Most Improved Award.

Congratulations to all who competed in winter sports for Taft High.