Hartselle holds winter sports banquet
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The Hartselle Athletic Booster Club held its winter sports banquet Monday night, recognizing Tiger athletes who participated in wrestling, basketball and cheerleading for those two sports.
Also awarded at the banquet was the Robert W. Grammer Award, an annual honor given out to a Hartselle figure who has a lifetime of devotion to Hartselle athletics. This year's award was given to Hartselle basketball scorekeeper Sandra Meadows, who choked back tears after accepting.
"I just love Hartselle," she said. "I love the kids. I just want to say thank you. I love you all."
Hartselle athletic director Bob Young opened the banquet by lauding the accomplishments of all the school's athletes.
"These sports are special to me because of the time you have to put in during the holidays when you play winter sports," Young said.
Wrestling cheerleader coach Sonya Nave awarded the Highest GPA honor to Dana Watson and the Most Spirit award was a tie between Julie Redmond and Brittany Cobb. The Leadership award went to Casey Gibson.
Hartselle first-year coach Dan Styles lauded his team for finishing with an 18-15 dual record and a total record of 302-170 in individual matches.
"I think the future is bright for us," he said.
Styles awarded the Rookie of the Year to Kyle Davis, who wrestled as a ninth grader and was a state qualifier. The Most Improved award went to Caleb Blanton, who did not qualify for state last season but this year was the state runner-up in the 145-pound weight class.
Rico Elliott received the award for Most Takedowns and Brad Eubanks won the award for Most Pins, after pinning 27 of his 37 opponents during the season. Dallas Kalber won the Iron Man award, named for the junior's ability to work through injuries during the season.
Kalber also took home the Highest GPA honor with a 4.057 GPA. Eubanks was named the team's Most Outstanding wrestler after finishing with a record of 37-6 and qualifying for state in the heavyweight division.
Basketball cheerleading coach Beth Long gave out awards to Varsity head cheerleader Haley Dean and a special honor to team mascot Houston Slate.
"I think he had the toughest job out of all of them because he has to wear that heavy sweaty (Tiger) suit all the time," Long joked.
Hartselle boys basketball coach Johnny Berry expressed disappointment with the team's 2-27 record during the season, but remained light-hearted and optimistic about the future.
"It was a hard year for us, but the thing that meant the most to me was that this boys practiced just as hard the last day of practice as they did on the first day of practice," Berry said. "Our seniors spent a lot of time after our last game talking to the younger players and telling them things that will help us not go through a season like this again.
"I couldn't be prouder of the leadership of this team."
Jackson Holmes won both the statistical awards, finishing as Top Scorer and Top Rebounder. Cline Thompson, with a 3.98 GPA, won the Highest GPA award and Johnny Jones and Justin Billings were honored as team captains.
Berry also gave a special honor to team manager Max Walden, who has been involved with the basketball program for four years.
"I don't think there's anybody around who likes Hartselle basketball as much as this guy," Berry said before naming Walden an honorary team captain.
Hartselle girls basketball coach Greg Adams handed out statistical awards for his Lady Tiger team that finished with a 26-6 record and advanced to the Northwest Regional.
Lauren Drake received the award for Most Rebounds as well as Most Blocks. Shan Jones won the awards for Three-Pointer Percentage and Most Assists.
Jessica Andrews received an honor for the team's Free Throw Challenge and Anna Reeves won the Free Throw Percentage award. Mary Virginia Reeves won the Field Goal Percentage award and also took home the Casey Long Hustle award.
Jones and Drake were also honored as the team's captains.