When the time came to draw the curtain on the long, successful year of Pawhuska High School athletics, it’s no wonder that last week’s Huskie Sports Banquet dragged on a little longer than expected.
In 2017, the Huskies and Lady Huskies won district championships in basketball, baseball, a regional track and field title, as well as producing individual state champions in wrestling and track.
Caleb Bruce was named as the Huskies’ Senior Athlete of the Year. Although several others deserved consideration for the honor, the choice of Bruce is indisputable, as he had an exemplary career with highlights on the diamond, mat and gridiron.
Darienne Frye was selected for the Lady Huskie senior honor due to a spotless career that ran the gamut of PHS female sports.
Bruce was a four-year starter for the Huskies in baseball, wrestling and football, where he played running back, defense and was the regular place-kicker throughout his career. He also received PHS Wrestling’s Smoot/Chambers Award.
This year’s banquet included a special wrestling award for senior Levi Youngwolfe, who wrapped up a phenomenal career on the mat by becoming Pawhuska’s 25th individual state champ. A four-time state qualifier, Youngwolfe finished third as a sophomore and second as a junior before winning the 126-pound title in February. (In July, he’ll a compete in the All-State Games.) Not to be forgotten, either, are Youngwolfe’s contributions as a Huskie football player.
Senior Warren Graves was recipient of Pawhuska’s top football honor, the Ormand Beach Award — which has a long, storied history. Over the past three years, Graves’ helped transform local sports programs with his speed — as well as his winning attitude.
In her four years at PHS, Frye participated in practically every sport. She was a state qualifier multiple times in track, where she ran the 110-meter hurdles, sprints and relays. A regular fixture on Lady Huskie softball teams, Frye was a reliable hitter, a solid outfielder with an accurate arm and an outstanding base runner. She also played two years of PHS basketball and one on the soccer team.
“One season, I was a even cheerleader,” Frye said Monday.
Tristen Tucker reached the cross country state meet his junior and senior seasons and won state medals in the 1600- (fourth) and 3200-meter (third) runs, as well as the 4 x 800 relay (fifth). Frye said he does not recall another Huskie 3200-meter relay squad ever medalling at state. In addition to Tucker, the PHS quartet included senior William Merrell (who also placed fifth at state in high jump), junior Dartagnan (Scoobie) Stone and freshman Andrez Ramirez.
One Huskie who could never be lost in the shuffle is John Bighorse, who was a big part of all PHS teams he played for and an incredible student/athlete.
All three of senior players on the 2016 Lady Huskies’ softball team fared well at Tueday’s banquet. Sydney Sellers, Mary Jo Upchurch and Frye were involved from their freshman campaigns on.
Upchurch also was recipient of the Huskie Pride Award, which goes to a PHS student athlete who contributes enthusistic support regardless of the circumstances. In addition to receiving the top defensive award in softball, Sellers was winner of the Oren Terrill Award — the No. 1 honor for a Lady Huskies’ basketball player.
A comparable prize for the PHS boys’ basketball squad — The Max Shuck Award — went to senior point guard Tyler Wilson, who had a major an impact on the Huskies’ fortunes when he transferred here from Barnsdall midway through his junior season. Wilson also starred at quarterback/defensive back on the football team and ran on two of the Huskies’ track relays. He also was a state qualifier in the 200-meter dash.
Colton Hindman completed an outstanding Pawhuska athletic career as a longtime regular starter in football and baseball, and even earned a starting spot on the basketball court last season. When a knee injury in football put him on the shelf for much of his junior year, he remained a leader on the sideline. When he returned to a different role, Hindman never missed a beat as he continued helping his team any way he could.
Likewise, Jenna Shulanberger went from being the star soccer goalkeeper as a freshman to a less glamorous role in the trenches, but always put her team and school first.
Two other special Huskie honors the Bill Palmer Award was voted to Pam Jester and the Jearl Holt Award went to Terry Taylor.