Elks Lodge Overflows as Seniors Honored at Athletic Awards Ceremony

Seats were filled to the brim at the Elks Lodge on Sunday, June 2. Families, friends and even alumni were in attendance, all in anticipation to recognize high school seniors during the annual athletic awards ceremony.  

This event was put on by the Booster Club and was presented by booster club member Ali Gardener. The booster club, as explained by Gardener, is made up of members of community businesses, families and individuals who give back to athletes and the sports programs.

Many of these people donated time and money to make things happen for the athletes. Some of those things included: a total of 588 snack bags, plus extra food for kids who competed at state; customized sports banners; four scholarships provided during the ceremony; and a private photographer for the athletes’ senior nights. In total, $30,014 was spent on the teams, all money provided to the teams from the booster club. 

Gardener spent time recognizing each individual athlete, as well as what they did while in high school. During this specific recognition, attendees that were athletes were all given $25 gift cards to various local businesses. 

A tradition during the annual event is to have a keynote speaker. This year Tiffany Lynn, a major crimes detective, was able to share a personal story as well as words of wisdom to the soon-to-be graduates. Lynn is a Sweet Home High School (SHHS) alumni herself. 

Photo by Sky Chappell Keynote speaker Tiffany Lynn speaks to the crowd and graduating seniors.

After the keynote speech, Gardener took time to recognize athletes who won scholarships on the previous Wednesday night during the “academic scholarship night.” The first awards recognized were the Pat and Ernie Outstanding Wrestler Award and the Norm Davis Award. 

“Both of these awards are very special to the wrestling program, but to SHHS in general,” Gardener said. “These awards are given to wrestlers who exemplify the core values of the Sweet Home wrestling program.” 

Both of these awards were given to the four-time state champ, Kyle Sieminski. 

Another Wednesday award was the Greg Hagle Memorial Scholarship. This award was presented by Jimmy Hagle, another SHHS alumni who is the brother of Greg Hagle. This award is applicant-based and was given to Max Klumph, Adisen Graber and Evan Ashcraft. 

Gardener returned after these recognitions to present the “Spirit of a Husky” award. This award was given to athletes who competed all three seasons of all four years. The winners of these awards were Jon Holly and Rylee Markell, each receiving a $50 gift card to the point restaurant. 

The Larry Johnson “Sportsmanship Award” was presented by football Coach Ryan Adams. According to Adams, Johnson is a man of integrity, commitment and devotion to his family, community, the high school and every athletic program at the high school. The three recipients of the award embody similar qualities as Johnson. The athletes are deeply committed to not only their sports, but to the entire community of Sweet Home throughout their school career. The winners of the award were Madison Duncan, Kyle Sieminski and Kelso Ellis. 

The Bruce West “Spirit of a Champion” award followed, presented by Coach Nathan Whitfield. To get this award, an athlete had to face overwhelming adversity, greater than what the average athlete experienced, Whitfield explained. Whether it be adversity at home, injuries or other various things outside of their control. The winners of these awards were Brooklyn Hanni, Kaylene Zajic, Ryliee Watkins, Max Klumph and Ryker Hartsook. 

The next award was the Coaches Scholar Athlete Award that was presented by Athletic Director Dan Tow. During his presentation, Tow recognized how Volleyball Coach Mary Hutchins would be stepping down from her position as a coach. This award recognizes academic excellence. The award required a 3.5 GPA, as well as being a team leader as a member of a varsity team with no code of conduct violations. The winners had to have been voted on by half of the coaching staff. Those winners include Ben Tolman, Max Klumph, Rylee Markell and Lydia Wright. 

Coach Dave Martin presented the “MOE” award. This award was defined as an award given to the hardest worker, someone who was first to arrive and last to leave, someone who gave their all regardless of the circumstance. Even despite injuries, these athletes continued to help accomplish both personal goals and team goals. These students did the right thing every single time. The winners of these awards were Rylee Markell and Ryker Hartsook. 

The next award was the distinguished athlete award and was presented by Hutchins. This award was given to someone who was seen as a person who can be trusted to do the right thing, someone who betters their community and school. Many quotes about the athletes were recognized during this presentation. The winners of this award were Adi Graber, Jayce Miller, Ben Tolman and Colin Nicholson.
The second to last award was the booster club “IMPACT” award, and was presented by Gardener. This award previously was known as “Booster Athlete of the Year,” or “Booster Boy and Girl of the Year.” These athletes were recognized for their service to the team, their school and their community. Although the athletes may or may not have been the most decorated, these athletes still represented their school both on and off the field. The winners were awarded a $1,000 cash award. Winners of this award were Lydia Wright, Rylee Markell, Ryker Hartsook and Max Klumph.

Last, but most certainly not least, was the SHHS Hall of fame award presented by Coach Steve Thorpe. This award was given to one of the best, not in the year, but in the program. Thorpe recognized all the last names of successful athletes he coached and even wrestled with. The winner of this award was four-time state champion Kyle Sieminski. 

Photo by Sky Chappell Ali Gardner speaks after giving out the Oregon Jamboree gift.

After these awards were presented, Gardner gave her thanks to all the people who allowed this event to go on. She then also recognized a gift given by the Oregon Jamboree. This was a raffle with athletic attendees’ names. The winner was Hanna James, who won two three-day passes to the Jamboree as well as premium parking passes.

Gardener gave special thanks to the Sportsman’s Holiday princesses for being there to help, as well as the Junior Class Board for attending and helping put up and tear down the event.

Photo provided by Booster Club Back: Left to Right: Max Klumph, Ryker Hartsook, Jon Holly, Colin Nicholson. Front: Left to Right: Kyle Sieminski, Ben Tolman, Jayce Miller, Kelso Ellis, Lydia Wright, Riley Watkins, Kaylene Zajic, Brooklyn Hanni, Rylee Markell, Adisen Graber and Madison Duncan.