Cougars celebrate ‘great’ but ‘difficult’ season

Trinity Lutheran hosted its fall athletics awards program Tuesday evening at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

The school recognized 79 student-athletes for participation in the school’s six fall sports programs.

Aaron Rudzinski, athletics director, said students-athletes should be proud of themselves because it is difficult to balance school work, athletics and daily lives.

“The kids have to be able to manage their time well because we have a pretty rigorous workload for a lot of these kids, and many of them are taking advanced classes, and then they’re going to practices or games and then home, so they have to manage their time,” he said. “And a lot of them are playing dual sports.”

Rudzinski said Trinity athletes also should be proud because it is not easy to participate in sports.

Mark Voss, boys tennis coach, started the program by recognizing the team’s 13 players. The second-year coach said the team’s 3-13 record did not accurately represent the team’s season.

“We held our own and we are working on competing with our opponents more consistently,” he said. “It’s difficult, but we had a great season.”

Voss said some of the matches were close and could have gone either way.

“There were three or four of those games that were decided by two or three points,” he said.

Tanner Prewitt was given the Cougar Award, which is presented to the player with the best attitude and spirit, Bailey Baker was given the Most Improved Award and Andrew Rodriguez was given the Most Valuable Player.

Rodriguez, a senior, played at the No. 1 spot all season with the exception of a couple games and battled through injury.

Cross-country coach Chris Crenshaw recognized the team’s roster, which included five boys and one girl.

Crenshaw said the team had a challenging start to the season because of the aggressive schedule.

“We had something like four meets in eight days, but we handled it well,” he said.

Crenshaw said some of the highlights from the season was the team’s performance in several meets such as the meets against Rising Sun and Bedford. He said the team was also proud to host and win the first meet held at Camp Lakeview.

Crenshaw presented the most valuable player award for the girls team to Andrea Foster, the team’s lone female member.

“She helped keep the girl’s cross-country team alive,” he said. “I appreciate her commitment and effort this season.”

Luke Onken was presented with the Cougar Award and the Most Improved Award.

AJ Goecker was Most Valuable Player.

Greg Personett, the Cougars’ girls golf coach, said the team improved dramatically throughout the season.

“We finished our year at 8-13,” he said. “Last year we did not win a game, so that’s quite something.”

Personett said there were a lot of highlights throughout the season, but he was most happy about the fact that all players on the team scored a personal best at one point throughout the season.

Morgan Gabbard received the Most Improved Award, Demi Oakes and Macy Taylor received the Most Valuable Player and Jessica Fleener was presented with the Cougar Award.

First-year volleyball coach Chelsea Stroub said she was proud of the team for posting a 21-10 record and winning the sectional.

Stroub said she also wanted to remind everyone that the team lost in the Regional to Christian Academy, who went on to win the state championship.

“That makes losing it a little better,” she said.

“Not much, but a little better.”

Stroub said the team lost three of its 10 games to state champions. She thanked the seniors for their leadership and commitment to the program. She said the seniors were a pretty dominate group while at Trinity.

Hailley Peters received the Cougar Award, Abby Hackman received the Most Improved Player and Haylee Barker and Hayley Carter shared the Most Valuable Player.

Senior player and manager Olivia Benter was recognized with a senior award.

Boys soccer coach Brandan Tabeling recognized the 15 players for the school’s program.

Tabeling said the team struggled to get enough players, but ended up being able to recruit a few more to continue.

“There were a few games where we only had 10 players out there and it wasn’t because anyone had a red card,” he said to laughter. “But our guys didn’t complain, didn’t whine, but they went out and went at it. They fought all year long and didn’t give up.”

Chris Rust received the Most Improved Player, Luke Onken got the Cougar Award and Bobby Tabeling earned the Most Valuable Player.

Girls soccer coach Jeff Nolting presented the first girls team in school history.

Nolting said he began starting a team during the summer and eventually had 19 girls to start a team.

“It all started with a yellow piece of paper,” he said, holding up a piece to the crowd.

“We got their names, their phone numbers, their cellphone numbers and their email addresses and asked if they were interested.”

Nolting said the team showed a true team spirit to life each other up throughout the season.

He also said he is aiming high for the future of the program as he pointed to the fact the state is set to create a third sectional in 2017.

“Put that on your bucket list, girls,” he said, looking toward the team.

Kirstin Hoene received the Most Improved Player, Maddie Roark was Most Valuable Player and Lucy Cooper was presented the Cougar Award.

Jordan Richart is a correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.