Players recognized at Fall Sports Awards Banquet
November 18, 2021
SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley-Swan High School (SSHS) fall sports awards banquet was held Nov. 9 at Seeley-Swan High School. Football, volleyball and cross country athletes were recognized for their participation and performance during the season.
Each player receives a letter after participating in the required number of varsity games or meets. They receive a pin for every activity for which they meet the varsity requirements. For every year they meet the varsity requirements after receiving their pin in a specific activity, they receive a chevron.
Conference coaches select All-Conference and All-State awards. Students receive the Academic All-State award if they maintain a 3.5 or better grade point average and earn a varsity letter in athletics during the same academic quarter.
The football coaches again gave out Blackhawk Awards to recognize the players that stood out on and off the field. Head Coach Jay Crum and Assistant Coaches Eric Samuli, Jeff Ebert and Jacob Haley chose which players received the Blackhawk Awards. This was the first year the coaches awarded co-award winners because they had more than one kid equally stand out.
“We did have some kids that really shined but it is hard to tell when you go 3-5,” Crum said adding by the last game they had lost five starters to injury. “That is why I give the awards.”
The Newcomer Award recognizes a player that is new to the program and hasn’t played before. This year freshman Seth Dunster and sophomore Cadence Mauldin received the award.
This was Dunster’s first year playing football for the Blackhawks. He played offense and defense and was one of their starters all year. Crum said he is “a tiny human” that is “really fast.”
Mauldin had never played football before. Crum said he is strong and was an “animal.” He expects that Mauldin will start next year.
Senior Walker McDonald was named the Special Team MVP. He was unanimous All-Conference for kicking and punting. Crum said he placed fifth or sixth nationally in punting averages.
McDonald also received the Defensive MVP with teammate sophomore Cannon Hawkinson. McDonald was All-State and All-Conference and finished the season with 73 tackles. Hawkinson led the Blackhawks with 77 tackles. When he was moved from defensive back to middle linebacker Crum said he excelled.
Offensive MVP went to Quarterback Owen Hoag. Hoag accounted for 19 touchdowns for the year. He was also named All-Conference Slot Back after playing that position in just one game.
Senior Brice Hawkinson was named Mr. Blackhawk. This award goes to the player that is the team leader on the field, the motivator for the players when the coaches are having problems.
“Hawkinson just took care of business for us,” Crum said. “My opinion this is the most revered award we give out.”
Head Coach Pattie Crum said the high point of the season was coming out of the regular season in first place. She acknowledged that they were not feeling 100% going into Districts.
“We came out swinging and we came in second place,” Crum said. “They played their hearts out and I’m extremely proud of them. There were several points where people were injured or maybe sick but everyone played through it and I’m proud of them for just fighting and for being there for their teammates.”
At Divisionals, the team talked about their goals as a team and made promises to themselves and each other. They were proud that they all kept their promises.
“All season there was not any drama, everyone got a long like a family and for my very first high school coaching, they made it pretty easy,” Crum said. “I loved it.”
In addition to letters and conference awards, Crum recognized the statistic leaders on the team. Awards were based on the regular season stats.
Junior Dani Sexton received the Most Digs with around 300. She was also recognized for the Most Aces with 48.
“The Most Likely to Become a Killer” went to senior Sariah Maughan for more than 300 kills. Maughan also had the most stuff blocks with 18 for the season.
Junior Ava Thornsberry had the highest serving ratio making 96.5% of her serves. She also led the team with 386 assists.
Sophomore Mia Saalfeld received the Most Improved Award. Crum said she played the majority of the season in Junior Varsity. She proved herself in varsity when Maughan was out.
“That is a big roll to fill,” Crum said. “She did it and she played perfectly.”
Crum also gave a Certificate of Appreciation to Manager Mackenzy Best for her dedication to the livelihood of the team and thoughtfulness throughout the season. She did all the laundry, decorated the girls’ lockers and encouraged them with notes and treats.
Finally, Crum wanted to recognize junior Tru Good for her role during tournaments. She mentally focused on success and was able to step in when needed.
“There was a lot of pressure because it was a tournament,” Crum said. “She stepped in for a player and she was phenomenal.”
Football Letter Recipients – Name, Grade: Awards
Coby Gonzalez, 12: Chevron
Brice Hawkinson, 12: Chevron; Mr. Blackhawk Award
Jason James, 12: Pin
Walker McDonald, 12: Chevron; 1st team All-Conference Tight End/Punter/Defensive End/Kicker; All-State; Academic All-State; Special Teams MVP; Co-Defense MVP
Andrew Pearson, 12: Chevron
Seth Richardson, 12: Chevron
Sawyer Shelmerdine, 12: Chevron; Burlsworth National Character and Sportsmanship Award
Kace Anderson, 11: Chevron
Chris Auchenbach, 11: Letter & Pin
Dakota Gonzalez, 11: Chevron
Ben Haley, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Owen Hoag, 11: Chevron; 2nd Team All-Conference Slot Back; Academic All-State
Klayton Kovatch, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Connor Matthew, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Kaden Thornsberry, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Austin Gonzalez, 10: Chevron; Academic All-State
Cannon Hawkinson, 10: Chevron; Academic All-State
Jalen Kauffman, 10: Chevron; Academic All-State
Cadence Mauldin, 10: Letter & Pin; Newcomer Award
Zach Best, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
Seth Dunster, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State; Newcomer Award
Tyler Haines, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
James Hayhurst, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
Cross Country Letter Recipients – Name, Grade: Awards
Hunter Coyle, 12: Pin; Academic All-State
Kyla Conley, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Tyler Neher, 11: Chevron
Connor Chadwick, 10: Chevron; Academic All-State
Wesley Stevenson, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
Volleyball Letter Recipients – Name, Grade: Awards
Trista Wendel, 12: Chevron; 2nd All-Conference
Sariah Maughan, 12: Chevron; 1st All-Conference; All-State; Academic All-State; Most Kills; Most Stuff Blocks
Madison DeBernardi, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Dani Sexton, 11: Chevron; 2nd All-Conference; Most Digs; Most Aces
Cora Stone, 11: Chevron; Academic All-State
Ava Thornsberry, 11: Chevron; 1st All-Conference; Academic All-State; Highest Serving Percentage; Most Assists
Tru Good, 11: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
Trista Alexander, 11: Pin; Academic All-State
Mia Saalfeld, 10: Pin; Academic All-State; Most Improved
Aubrey Matthew, 9: Letter & Pin; Academic All-State
Volleyball Manager Mackenzy Best, 11: Pin; Certificate of Appreciation