2014-06-05 / Sports

‘Strong’ Showing In Track Earns OVHS Senior School’s Spring Patriot Award

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


Senior track standout Andrew Strong accepts the Spring 2014 Patriot Award from OVHS Principal Rhonda Schafer during Tuesday’s annual springs sports awards program. Strong will compete in the IHSAA Boys’ Track & Field State Finals this coming Saturday, June 7, in the 300-meter hurdles at Indiana University. (Staff Photo) Senior track standout Andrew Strong accepts the Spring 2014 Patriot Award from OVHS Principal Rhonda Schafer during Tuesday’s annual springs sports awards program. Strong will compete in the IHSAA Boys’ Track & Field State Finals this coming Saturday, June 7, in the 300-meter hurdles at Indiana University. (Staff Photo) A solid senior season on the high school track will culminate this weekend in the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Track & Field State Finals for Owen Valley senior Andrew Strong, but the school’s highest athletic honor was bestowed upon him during Tuesday’s annual spring sports awards program.

Receiving the boys’ track team’s Most Valuable Runner accolade for the third consecutive season, Strong’s contributions both on and off the track earned him the Spring Patriot Award.

The son of Ben Strong and Orpha Summers, Strong is currently ranked 22nd in his graduating class with a 3.7 grade point average. Active in Beta Club, National Honor Society and Mission Ignition, Strong helped lead the boys’ track team to records of 16-3 and 19-4 in the last two seasons. He earned a 23-0 mark in the 110-meter hurdles in the regular season and finished second in the Western Indiana Conference in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. He also served as the anchor leg on the undefeated 4x4 relay team. He qualified for three events in regional competition, advancing in the 300-meter hurdles.

“He is coachable, charismatic, respectful, a great team leader and everything this award stands for,” boys’ track coach Chad Smith said.

Boys’ track


OVHS student-athletes receiving awards in their respective sports included, shown above, left to right: Andrew Strong, Ethan Sparks, Andrew Wickerham, Zach Carver, Chase Roberts, Casey Roberts, Devon Shouse, Caleb Wade and Alex Johnson. Pictured below, left to right: Jessie Ward, Rebecca Walcott, Kaitlin Keller, Sara Gilstrap, Beth Mauder, Katrina Dayhuff, Gracie Terrell, Zoey Bennington, Jennifer Morgan and Jami Harris. (Staff Photos) OVHS student-athletes receiving awards in their respective sports included, shown above, left to right: Andrew Strong, Ethan Sparks, Andrew Wickerham, Zach Carver, Chase Roberts, Casey Roberts, Devon Shouse, Caleb Wade and Alex Johnson. Pictured below, left to right: Jessie Ward, Rebecca Walcott, Kaitlin Keller, Sara Gilstrap, Beth Mauder, Katrina Dayhuff, Gracie Terrell, Zoey Bennington, Jennifer Morgan and Jami Harris. (Staff Photos) Members of the boys’ track team included Brandon Bedolla, Austin Boyd, Ethan Daffron, Dillan Daniel, Laramie DeFord, Austin Elliott, Casey Hancock, Laramie Hancock, Dusty Hendrickson, Josiah Henson, Nate Hickman, Timothy Marlett, Ethan Meadows, Tanner Ray, Chandler Roadruck, Ramsay Sadler, Jacob Seibert, Issac Sims, Ethan Sparks, Jacob Staley, Andrew Strong, Alan Summers, Leroy Terrell, Caleb Wade, Ethan Wade, DJ White and Corbin Wrightsman. Seniors included Strong, Sparks, Marlett and Seibert.

Coach Smith presented the team’s MVP award to Strong for the third straight season, while Sparks received the team’s Mental Attitude Award; Most Improved Athlete went to Caleb Wade.

Earning All-Western Indiana Conference honors in boys’ track were Caleb Summerlot, Ethan Wade, Josiah Henson and Dilan Daniel.

“We had an excellent season and finished the regular season with a 19-4 record. We had several meets in the four losses that we could have won, had we been able to compete in pole vault,” Smith said. “We had several relay teams have phenomenal years; our 4x4 relay team, which is the last race of the night where each person runs a 400 (meter), had an undefeated regular season. We were the WIC champions in the 4x100 meter relay; Ethan Wade was a WIC champion in the long jump, and we had regional qualifiers with Ethan Sparks in the half mile (800 meters). Our 4x4 relay team made it to the boys’ regional, which consisted of Casey Hancock, Ethan Sparks, Ethan Daffron and Andrew Strong. Our 4x100 team also made it to regional, which included Dilan Daniel, Josiah Henson, Caleb Summerlot and Ethan Wade. Josiah Henson also made it in the long jump. I’ve been coaching boys’ track for 12 years and that’s the most athletes we’ve ever advanced to the Bloomington North Regional.”

Girls’ track

OV girls’ track coach Micki Strunk spoke about her tight-knit group of ladies, including Keely Arnold, Graceon Arthur, Bailey Broukal, Joslyn Bucy, Abby Carey, Eleanor Coffin, Jadyn Henson, Jessica Jemison, Sarah Jones, Kaitlin Keller, Hattie Mangin, Jesskia Meadows, Santanna Roberts, Olivia Truax, Elizabeth Walcott, Rebecca Walcott, Jessi Ward and Anna Wells. Seniors included Bucy, Carey, Jones, Keller and Rebecca Walcott.

Strunk presented the team’s Most Improved Award to Keller, noting her improvement in discus and shot put. The team’s Mental Attitude Award went to freshman Jessi Ward, while Rebecca Walcott received her third consecutive team MVP award and earned All-WIC honors in the 400-meter dash.

“We had a lot of success, both individually and as a team. The reason the season was successful is because the girls are very committed to everything they do, and they work hard all the time,” Strunk said. “They could hold their own against about any school around; we had a conference champ this year, a great showing at sectional and girls qualify in four events at regional. This year we had two individuals and one relay team qualify, the relay team members are Rebecca Walcott, Jaden Henson, Sarah Jones, Brittany Swaim and Jocelyn Bucy. Jayden Henson (400-meters) and Rebecca Walcott (200-meters) qualified for regional individually as well.”

Girls tennis

First-year girls’ tennis coach Matt Lowers spoke about his team buying into the coaching change and his adjustments to the program. Team members included Taylor Carmichael, Stephanie Clark, Darby DeFord, Cierra Dillman, Lorena Dourado, Sara Gilstrap, Jami Harris, Lexie Heck, Tara Langley, Emily Montenegro, Kayla Samick, Tan Songpaisan, Ryan Voorhies and Abigail Wells. Seniors included Carmichael, Heck and Samick.

Lowers presented the team’s Most Improved Award to Jami Harris and the team’s Hustle Award to Brazilian exchange student Lorena Dourado.

The team’s MVP award was given to sophomore Sara Gilstrap, who tallied the best single’s record at 7-4 on the year.

“Our record doesn’t necessarily reflect it, but you girls put in a lot of hard work this year and that’s something to be proud of,” Lowers said.

Boys’ golf

Transitioning from an 18-hole to a 9-hole course with no driving range was the task of the OV boys golf team under the direction of first-year coach Matt Beckwith. The team consisted of Levi Arnold, Simon Bault, Evan Brison, Jake Ferguson, Dakota Grier, Alex Johnson, Trevor Lanning, Cole Parker, Matt Patterson, Austin Rainey and Anthony Sessions. Patterson was the team’s lone senior.

Patterson was edged out of the team’s low stroke average by junior Alex Johnson. Patterson’s average of 42.026 was just shy of Johnson’s stroke average of 41.23. Both Johnson and Patterson also earned All-WIC recognition.

Freshman Dakota Grier received the team’s Mental Attitude Award.

“We went through a lot of changes and our season didn’t fare as well as we wanted it to. In golf, there’s a lot of four-way and three-way matches and we ended up outright winning two of those, which is good,” Beckwith said. “It was a very good team, we lost a lot of guys, good guys, so our upperclassmen really had to step up this year and they did a pretty good job of that. We have a lot of stuff to improve on and I’m looking forward to that.”

The boys’ golf season is not finished, though, with a match scheduled for last night (Wednesday) in Terre Haute and sectional competition set to begin Monday, June 9 in Martinsville.

Softball

Softball coach Jamie Summerlot spoke about the hard work of her varsity and junior varsity teams. The JV team included Brianne Burke, Shelby Carter, Savannah Duncan and Tori Floyd.

Varsity players included Kristen Alexander, Kendall Arnold, Zoey Bennington, Emma Clark, Katrina Dayhuff, Samaritan Lighter, Kati Lowe, Beth Mauder, Jennifer Morgan, Courtney Ooley, McKenna Richardson, Madison Summerlot, Gracie Terrell and Emily Wood. Arnold was the team’s lone senior.

The team’s leader in hits and runs with a .426 batting average was junior Jennifer Morgan. Junior Beth Mauder received the team’s Mental Attitude Award and Katrina Dayhuff was voted on by her teammates to receive MVP honors.

“We didn’t have a great winning record, but I’d like to definitely call it a building year. We were a very young team and I think these girls have a lot to show in the future. They did a lot of moving around this year... we tried girls in all different positions, just trying to find that combination that worked for them,” Summerlot said. “Overall, I think defensively we had a solid season, it was offensively that we struggled at the plate, getting those runners scored. Each girl stepped up when needed, but we need to work on consistency, just taking it to the next level. These are hard working girls and I really appreciate all the time they put in this season.”

Baseball

Head coach Brian Greene recognized both his junior varsity and varsity squads. JV players included Holden Abrell, Dusty Hendrickson, Tyler Hendrix, Keaton Lester, Gove Morrison, Austin Parker, DJ Risk, Riley Seymour, Jesse Wilcoxen and Brayton Wyatt. The JV’s Best Hitter Award went to freshman Zach Carver, who hit .333 with eight runs driven in.

The varsity team finished with an 11-11 record, improving from a six-win season a year ago. The team included Zach Carver, Bo Elliott, Ryne Heckman, Jeff Hunt, Nolan King, Matt Mauder, Cameron Roadruck, Casey Roberts, Chase Roberts, Parker Roberts, Devon Shouse, Hunter Sturgeon, Lane Trimble, Andrew Wickerham and TC Yeatman. Seniors included King, Casey Roberts, Roadruck and Wickerham.

Earning All-WIC in baseball were King, who hit .317 on the year, and Casey Roberts, who hit .405 with a team-leading 21 RBI.

Greene presented the team’s Most Improved Award to junior outfielder Devon Shouse and the Coaches Award to Wickerham.

MVP honors were voted on by the team, with a narrow vote giving the nod to sophomore catcher Chase Roberts, who also earned the team’s Batting Award with a team-leading .409 batting average, with 17 RBI.

“We were 11-11 on the year and to be perfectly honest, we’re not very happy about it. We thought we could have been a little better, we wanted to be better, and we thought that we left a couple out there,” Greene said. “There were some other games where we played some teams that were good and we had a chance to win, but couldn’t quite get by them. Two of those teams are playing on our field right now for the sectional championship. Both of them beat us by one run, and I’m still not very happy about it. For these young guys that are returning, I hope they feel like I do and they’re ready to get to work so that next year we’re playing in this (sectional championship) game. I think all of us athletically, our ultimate goal is to get better every day and I think we did that. We beat two teams by 10-runs that beat us by 10 runs the year before, so there’s improvement there. I feel like we were competitive every night, and that we played high-quality baseball. I think this team executed more double-plays than any team I’ve coached in the last seven years. Offensively we bunted, executed situations where we got into run-downs and scored runs, we hit and ran. As a fan for those watching us play, we 10-runned people, we had walk-off wins, close games... I think that we were an entertaining team to watch play. I’m proud of the year we had and I’m extremely excited about the direction our program is going.”

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