M-A Presents their Annual Sports Awards Night

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images courtesy of Paul Snow

Each year, M-A hosts their annual sports awards night to commend athletes for their achievements. The night features awards for team of the year, athlete of the year, student-athlete of the year, and coach of the year along with performances from the cheer and dance teams.

Administrative Vice Principal Nicholas Muys opened the night, welcoming everyone and congratulating all athletes. He then handed the mic over to athletic directors Paul Snow and Steven Kryger, who thanked boosters and coaches.

Kryger then listed off the teams that had won PAL championships—varsity and frosh-soph boys cross country, varsity girls cross country, varsity and JV girls volleyball, varsity and JV boys water polo, varsity and JV girls water polo, JV girls basketball, freshman and JV boys basketball, JV boys soccer, JV boys lacrosse, JV boys swimming, varsity boys track and field, and varsity girls track and field.

Afterwards, Athletic Boosters President Janelle McCombs announced that M-A did not win the PAL Commissioners Cup for the first time in over a decade, losing by a mere seven points.

Kryger took the stage next and announced M-A’s three-sport athletes—Tatum Olesen (cross country, track, and soccer), Timothy Rousseau (cross country, track, and soccer), Jack Kryger (football, lacrosse, and basketball), and James Gray (football, baseball, and basketball).

Snow then announced senior James Gray as the recipient of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Spirit Sports award, which recognizes one male and one female statewide winner for each season. Fall, winter, and spring student-athletes are selected based on exemplary sportsmanship, school and community service, and leadership.

Next, senior Cameron Leung was awarded the CCS Scholar-Athlete Award, which is for an athlete whose academic and athletic career has been exemplary, and who serves as positive role models for others.

The Female Team of the Year nominees were announced next and consisted of the following: cross country, track and field volleyball, and water polo. Although all of the teams had amazing achievements this year, girls track, led by Tatum Olesen, Annie Pflaum, and Sarah Nordlund, was the winner of this award.

Next up, the Male Team of the Year nominees—cross country, lacrosse, track, and water polo. The final winner was boys lacrosse, who went 19-1 and were seeded third in CCS.

Snow then presented Coach of the Year nominees, Eric Wilmurt (cross country), Aisha Swayzer (track), Kryger (boys lacrosse), Lauren Lesyna (girls water polo), Denny Falls (girls volleyball), and Steven Canalez (boys water polo). All teams won PAL and did well in the season, but Lauren Lesyna, who led her team to second place in PAL and advance to CCS, was the final winner.

Female Scholar-Athlete nominees Abby Ko, Annie Pflaum, Ashlyn Roeder, Aria Sokol, and Fiona Steimetz were announced next. All nominees had outstanding sports careers as well as above 4.0 GPAs and took 9-14 AP classes. The final winner was Ashlyn Roeder, who is Cornell-bound and plays softball for M-A. She is also the co-captain of the softball team, a National Merit Scholarship winner, and a Tao Shalom Honorary Science Award AP Scholar with distinction. Her coach described her as a team leader and “always giving all she has.”

Male Scholar-Athlete nominees Peter Koren*, Leung, Jude Easom, Jonah Missan, and Owen Van Loben Sels were up next. Leung, who is a safe space volunteer who helped raise awareness for teen mental health issues, and works at Reikes Center helping train youth weight training, was the overall winner and received the award.

Female Athlete of the Year nominees  Shea Dekshenieks (lacrosse and soccer), Dani Koo (soccer and softball), and winner Tatum Olesen (cross country, track, and soccer) were presented next. Olesen won the award. She was the San Mateo Daily Journal’s cross country runner of the year, is the school record holder in the 800 and 1600-meter races, and was on the podium at the state cross country championships two years in a row. Her cross country coach Eric Wilmurt shared a story of how they had her run because the team needed another runner, and she ran an outstanding race out of the blue, he said, “At that point, he knew she was a star”.

Male Athlete of the Year nominees James Gray (basketball, baseball, and football), Alec Marshall (football), Aiden Doherty (cross country), and winner Jack Kryger (basketball, lacrosse, and football) were next. Kryger, who was the USA lacrosse Academic All-American Winner, was a three-sport athlete, who excelled in all of his sports and won this award.

Last but not least, the next-level athletes were brought up on the stage and given M&Ms. 18 athletes committed this year—Dani Koo (softball at Georgetown), Alec Marshall (football at Calpoly SLO), Hewitt Stevenson (soccer at Bates College), Rowan Kelly (baseball at the University of Santa Barbara), Michael Roman* (soccer at the University of San Diego), Samantha Lin (volleyball at Brandeis), Shea Dekshenieks (lacrosse at Franklin & Marshall), Tatum Olesen (track and cross country at the Univeristy of Virginia), Peter Koren* (lacrosse at Amherst College), Georgia Auerbach (soccer at Brandeis), Cleo Rehkopf* (track and cross country at Colby College), Aidan Doherty (track and cross country at St. Mary’s), Phoebe Nagy (crew at Washington State), Annie Pflaum (track and cross country at Dartmouth), Ned Pellican (football at Southern Oregon University),  Vaughn Freiermuth (water polo at the University of La Verne), Yaritza Elizondo (water polo at UC Merced), and, finally, Lexi Nelson (water polo at UC Berkeley).

Congrats to all the M-A athletes, and good luck to the next-level athletes continuing their journey and contributing to the Bear legacy!

*Peter Koren, Cleo Rehkopf, and Michael Roman are journalists at the M-A Chronicle.

Riya is a sophomore at M-A. She joined journalism as a chance to meet new people and write about issues that she is interested about. In her spare time, she enjoys writing songs and running with her team.

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