WEST JEFFERSON — As the fall sports season came to a close, Ashe County High School’s autumn athletes were honored during the Fall Sports Banquet Monday, Nov. 25, at the high school.
After refreshments, dozens of parents, coaches and student athletes gathered in the high school’s auditorium for opening remarks from Athletic Director David Koontz.
“This has been an outstanding fall sports season for Husky Athletics,” Koontz said. “I am proud to share that all of our varsity sports teams advanced to post season play this fall.”
Koontz added that ACHS currently leads in the Wells Fargo Cup Standings for the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference, which recognizes the most outstanding athletic program for each conference throughout the state. The Huskies lead over Elkin by 15.5 points, holding an overall score of 48.5 points.
Koontz recognized 31 athletes who received MVAC All-Conference awards, and 14 athletes who received Honorable Mention status. In addition, cross country coach Shane Greene and football coach Brian Hampton received Coach of the Year awards in their respective sport. Those three teams were also conference champions, Koontz noted.
Of the 12 fall sports teams, including JV, that received honors during the evening, the varsity football took home the most awards, with Hampton presenting 10 awards to varsity players. Offensively, Dawson Cox won the Coaches Award, J.J. Mannan won Most Improved Player, Camden Current received Best Offensive Lineman, Austin Poe took home Best Offensive Back and Boen Crouse won Most Valuable Player.
On defense, Gabe Bare received the Coaches Award, Keagan Church won Most Improved Player, Colby Baldwin won Best Defensive Lineman, Drake Elliott earned Best Defensive Back, and Ryan Blevins took home Most Valuable Player.
Ceasar Martinez, Drew Roland and Trent Trivette took home awards for the JV football squad. Martinez won the Offensive Award, Roland received the Defensive Award and Trivette received the Coaches Award.
For the varsity cheerleading squad, seven awards were presented, including Most Improved, received by Madi Lewis, the Spirit Award, awarded to Haleigh Braybeal, Summer Young, who was recognized for putting the team before herself, Coaches Award, presented to Ashley Tilley, and Best All Around, awarded to Sarah Bledsoe.
Three JV cheerleaders also received awards. Angel Phillips took home the Coaches Award, MacKenzie Campbell earned Most Improved, and Chloe Ashley won Best All Around.
Mahaley Cronk, of the women’s cross country team, received two awards for her stellar performance during the season, taking home Most Valuable Runner and being one of three to receive the Running Husky Award. Zoe Schell and Malorie Eller also received the Running Husky Award. In addition, Schell won the Coaches Award. Maggie Powers was recognized as Most Improved and Abby McClure won Rookie of the Year.
On the men’s cross country team, five runners were presented with awards, including Eli Randolph, Joseph Cary, Grady Rector, Noah Farmer and Josh Roten. Randolph won Most Valuable Runner, Cary earned Most Improved, Rector won the Running Husky Award, Farmer earned Rookie of the Year, and Roten won the Coaches Award.
Coach Larry Dix of the Lady Huskies tennis team took to the stage to present four awards to his players, in addition to the six players who earned All-Conference recognition. Elizabeth Wallace won Most Valuable Player and the Coaches Award, Zoe Greene was awarded Most Improved, and Karoline Keith won Best Sportsmanship.
For women’s golf, Ashley Hardin won Most Valuable Player, Sarah Noblett earned Most Improved and Melena Howell took home the Coaches Award.
Five players from the varsity volleyball team received awards. Abby Aldridge won MVP, Jordan Lewis received the Play Maker Award, Ashlynn Jones earned Team Before Self, Cierra Burgess won the Heart & Hustle Award and Allison Brown won Most Improved.
For JV volleyball, Adeline Bowers and Kirklyn Hudler won Best Net Play, Mallory Bledsoe won Play Maker and Emily Ramirez earned the Team Before Self Award.
A total of five players for the varsity soccer team took home awards, including Justin Lopez with the MVP award, Trent Baker as Best Offensive Player, Cristian Ramos as Best Defensive Player, Shawn Bast with the Coaches Award, and Josh Lipscomb with the Sportsmanship Award.
Montana Lopez, John Perkins and Gracen Cline of the JV soccer team each won Most Valuable Offensive Player, Most Valuable Defensive Player and Most Improved Player, respectively.
Koontz thanked the players for representing the high school, athletic program and the community in such a classy manner, as well as the coaches.
“I want to thank our coaches,” Koontz said. “Their work ethic, dedication, passion — the time they spend coaching and preparing their teams, fields, loading buses, driving teams to competition, setting up their itineraries — is nothing less than impressive.”