Trinity Lutheran High School honored student-athletes for the 2016 fall sports programs Tuesday evening in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
Athletics director Aaron Rudzinski said the school hosts the program to recognize and say thank you to the students that participate in athletic programs.
He said it is difficult to be a student-athlete because of managing one’s time well.
“You might have to do your homework on the bus before a game, or you might have a late night on the field,” he said. “They have to work out ways to get their requirements — academically — done.”
The evening began with boys soccer coach Brandan Tabeling discussing the team’s season and presenting awards to members of the team.
Tabeling first spoke about how the program has continued its struggle to build a program that attracts a high number of participation, but that it does get students willing to work.
“It takes 11 players to make a soccer team, and we started with 10,” he said. The program lost six students to graduation last year, four of which were starters. The team had 13 on its roster this year and Tabeling said the team was able to bring in two freshman, making a big impact.
The team finished with a 2-10-1 record, but the highlight of the year was winning a sectional game and playing in the sectional championship game.
Tabeling presented Josiah Foster with the most improved player award, Kohei Nagino with the Cougar Award, and Noah Criswell with the most valuable player award.
Girls soccer coach Jeff Nolting said the program is building a foundation for future years.
In only its second year, the team hosted a clinic for younger kids and students to boost interest in the sport. Nolting said the team had the willingness and desire to work hard.
“We really did have a great season because they came here wanting to learn and improved and worked hard,” he said. “It was fun to watch the kids interact and I think that’s what makes Trinity so special.”
Nolting presented Sidney Hoene with the most improved player award, Emma Patmore with the Cougar Award and Lexi Keller with the most valuable player plaque.
The team finished 2-12 in 2016.
Boys tennis coach Danny Frastaci said tennis was a difficult sport because it is up to individuals to play their respective games.
“There’s no subs, and there’s no ‘hey coach, pull me out today’ because once you’re on the court, you’re all in,” he said. “As far as these guys right here, they were all in.”
There were a significant amount of players on his team that had not played tennis prior to this season.
Frastaci presented Avery Schwipps with the most improved player, Matthew Stuckwisch the Cougar award and Jonathan Keith with the most improved player.
The Cougars’ tennis team didn’t finish with a win on the season.
Chris Crenshaw then gave A.J. Goecker with the most valuable player for the cross country team.
Goecker was the lone member of the team in 2016 and Crenshaw said he is a committed athlete. Goecker made it all the way to semistate individually.
“It’s amazing to see someone so young be so committed and so driven,” he said. “I know being the only runner on the team that that was probably difficult to stay motivated.”.
Crenshaw said Goecker had a great season, setting the school record with a 16:30 time at the Jennings County meet.
Nate Benter presented the girls golf team with its awards and said the team had a 199 low for the year.
Benter reflected on some of the conditions the team was subjected to throughout the season, some of them including rain and wind.
“Some of those matches they will remember forever because we had rain delays, it was 50 degrees and the greens were all wet,” he said before stating he was proud of all the improvements within the season. “I think they all improved in some fashion.”
Cameo Hildreth and Anna Benter received the most improved players. Macy Taylor took home both the Cougar Award and most valuable player.
Chelsea Stroub took over for the final segment of the night to present the awards for the school’s volleyball team.
Stroub said the team didn’t have the best record at 16-20, but the record did not show how well the team actually played.
“We didn’t have the best record, but it didn’t show our play justice,” she said.
Stroub said a highlight of the season was winning the sectional.
The team went on to lose to Christian Academy, who went on to compete in the state finals.
Stroub presented Sydney Stahl with the most improved player, Lexi Schneider with the Cougar award.
Whitney Rogers and Hailley Peters were co-most valuable players.
Rudzinski said what makes the school’s athletic team’s special is the combination of participation of students, parents and coaches.