Honoring SMA Athletes: MVPs and Battlin’ Bears

To all Bear and Lady Bear athletes by Toby Wade, Assistant Athletic Director, on behalf of the SMA Coaching Staff:

Wow! What a strange end to a school year. Normally around this time, the athletic staff is pretty stressed out, doing final preparations for the annual Sports Banquet. The banquet normally adds to our gray hairs, partly because it really does take a lot of work to pull it off, and also because it happens at a really hectic time of year.

Those of us who coach a spring sport are starting to feel a little of the physical wear and tear and then, some of us have the added physical demands of keeping the fields in good shape. There’s also the mental stress of trying to get seniors to keep pushing until the end of the semester, getting ready for finals, and so on and so on. 

Here’s what I learned in these past weird few weeks. I really miss juggling the stress and tiredness and pulling off a good banquet. Truth be told, I miss the physical grind of coaching and working on the fields. I really hate not having the opportunity to properly say goodbye to our seniors. In general, I just miss all our students so much it hurts. I have probably spent too much time on Twitter since Covid-19 turned our world upside down. I have seen a lot of really good coaches give messages to their kids that life isn’t fair, and basically that they need to suck it up. I get that, and did a chapel message about focusing on Jesus to get through, but at the same time, I also know that a lot of you are rightfully hurting right now. It’s okay to hurt, I get it, trust me, this hurts me too, I really do love all of you. Just don’t let the hurt override everything else in your lives! 

That said, here’s something to think about. This senior class will (hopefully) forever be the most unique senior class in many, many years. You will have stories to tell at future reunions that’ll be unlike any that other classes have to share. You guys are tough. You have maintained a sense of humor despite this mess. I laughed out loud at a social media post from one of our seniors saying the semester really ZOOMED by. Be sad, and I’m there with you, but keep your sense of humor and move forward with a positive attitude. 

Okay, enough preaching. Back to the Sports Banquet. As all of you hopefully know, the banquet is where each coach gets to name their Battlin’ Bears and MVPs, and to say some kind word about their kiddos. Unfortunately, a Zoom session for 250-300 people isn’t very practical, so on behalf of the coaching staff, I am announcing all of our individual sports winners with this blog.

I don’t normally like speaking for all of the coaches, but given the circumstances, I think I will do so today, because I know that they share my feelings. We sincerely appreciate the efforts that all of you have given throughout the year. The blood, the sweat, the sacrifices, the hours and hours of practice time. I think all of us would give just about anything to have the opportunity to call our teams to come forward and to give everyone a hug and/or a handshake, and to brag about you to your peers and your parents.

I also know that all of us who coach spring sports are hurting just as you are at knowing that our seasons were cut short, and that we had some unfinished business that we couldn’t tend to. We WILL go forward with a positive attitude and know that life will get back to normal, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

Before I announce our winners below, one last thing. I pray that we are able to hold our June 27 graduation as planned, and that at that time, I and the other coaches will be able to properly say goodbye to a senior class that we love dearly! 

Here are the 2019-20 team award recipients:

Football: 

Steve Fordham Award (MVP): Gordon Murphy and Bryce Patterson 

Battlin’ Bear Award: Daven Meredith

Bullworth Character Award: Caleb Guenther

Volleyball

MVP: Payton Helbig

Battlin’ Bear: Belle Cummings

Cross Country

MVP: Micah Burton

Battlin’ Bear: CiCi Gonzalez

Cheer

MVP: Cendra Rodriguez

Battlin’ Bear: Ava Webb

Boys Basketball

MVP: Garret Clairday 

Battlin’ Bear: Mattayoi Montgomery

Girls Basketball

MVP: Ava Webb

Battlin’ Bear: Milen Rodriguez-Bravo

Ava Webb and Milen Rodriguez-Bravo

Boys Soccer

MVP: Muassiri Almeida

Battlin’ Bear: Austin Lee

Girls Soccer

MVP: Skyla DeOliveira

Battlin’ Bear: Cortlyn Haresnape

Swim

MVP: Bonnie Dai

Battlin’ Bear: Austin Lo

Bonnie Dai and Austin Lo

Baseball

MVP: Alex Davis               

Battlin’ Bear: Zach Whitaker and Caleb Guenther

Softball

MVP: Cendra Rodriguez

Battlin’ Bear: Catarina Vazquez

Tennis

MVP: Inaki Infante-Valenzuela and Camille Garcia

Battlin’ Bear: Max Watson and Kayla Livingston

Track

MVP: Austin Lee and  Ava Webb

Battlin’ Bear: Brendan Loyd and Cortlyn Haresnape

Editor’s Note:

After posting this blog, we were informed that TAPPS awarded Academic All-State for spring sports, even though most of the teams did not complete their seasons. This is good news for the following SMA athletes, who made the Academic All-State teams in their sports:

Tennis: Camile Garcia, Mackenzie Young, Sean Feigl, Evan Schawe, and Max Watson

Track: Micah Burton, Gino Dippolino, Austin Lee, Brendan Loyd, Daven Meredith, Cortlyn Haresnape and Ava Webb

Baseball: Caleb Guenther, Logan Lucas, Daven Meredith, Bryce Patterson and Julius Wong

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