Annual All Sports Banquet
Keylee Kirk maintained a near-constant presence for four years on the diamond, the court, the pitch and all other athletic venues with the Pawhuska High School Lady Huskies.
Hayden Henley made an immediate impact on the football field and he grew into his role as a leader for the Huskies in basketball, baseball — and even the band room.
Kirk and Henley were honored as PHS’ “Outstanding Athletes” of 2015-16 during Thursday’s All Sports Senior Banquet at the Pawhuska Elk’s Lodge. Serving as master of ceremonies for the annual event was Joe Sweeden.
The past season’s accomplishments of PHS teams in 11 different sports were recounted, plus seniors involved in cheerleading and band received recognition.
There was a significant reduction in the number of honors given out, in comparison to previous banquets. Besides the plaques for top male and female athlete, just four awards were presented — and only two of those went to students.
Henley also received the Ormand Beach Award, which has been given to a member of the Huskie football squad each year since 1948. The prestigious honor goes to the player who is voted by his teammates to possess the character and leadership qualities exemplified by Beach, a renowned PHS student/athlete of the late 1920s. Sweeden, himself a past Beach Award winner, made the presentation.
Hannah Horn, another senior, was named as recipient of the Huskie Pride Award for her enthusiastic support of school teams.
The Bill Palmer Award for community involvement and assistance with PHS athletics went to local citizen Libby Strahan.
Pawhuska coach Mark Frye was honored with the Jearl Holt Memorial Award for his “exemplary support” of all PHS athletic programs. Frye, one of the seven PHS coaches who spoke at the banquet, served as defensive coordinator of the football team, head boys’ basketball coach and head coach for track and field. He also is a social studies’ teacher.
Frye started the basketball season as an assistant but was named head coach at midseason following the resignation of Chad Kills Crow. Under Frye, the Huskies quadrupled their previous win total while defeating eight different opponents.
“The team showed great character, considering everything our guys went through,” Frye said of his Huskie hoopsters.
Frye expressed appreciation to assistants Dale Christenson and Jamison Cass, while pointing out outstanding qualities of senior players J.R. Young, Hayden Henley, Lance Harden, Tucker Helmer and Bradley Moreland.
Speaking as head track coach, Frye called two-time state champion Haley Mouser “the most powerful high jumper I’ve ever seen.” He also pointed out that Sarah Phillippi, in four track seasons, had qualified for state in 15 events.
“The most that it’s possible to qualify in is 16 events,” the coach added.
This year’s vastly-improved Huskies’ squad, he said, was helped by the dedication of seniors Matthew Taft, J.R. Young and Bradley Moreland, as well as Lance Harden and Henley, Frye said. Moreland returned to PHS and finished second in the state pole vault competition, while Young was a state qualifier in high jump and on two Huskie relays.
Pawhuska girls’ team members qualified for state in 14 of the 17 events, said Frye. He noted the dedication of the other Lady Huskie seniors: Erika Barker, Keylee Kirk, Danae LairdGenie Herren, Baylee Sutherland, Kailee Hambright and Breanna Redeagle.
Speaking as head football coach, PHS Principal Joe Sindelar called last season ” a success,” regardless of the Huskie team’s wins and losses.
“I had fun,” Sindelar told his players, “and I hope you did, too.”
Senior James (J.R.) Young was named as an All-District defensive back for PHS. Other seniors on the Huskie football squad included Henley, Matthew Taft, Chanler Collins, Gage Dagenais and T.J. Finn.
Jodi Culver served as coach of cross country and the resurgent PHS tennis program, as well as the local cheerleading squads.
The girls’ tennis team was led by seniors Stephanie Clifton and Karissa Hughes, which received the state’s distinguished academic team award by compiling a 4.77 overall grade-point average.T.J. Redcorn and Lance Harden helped re-launch the Huskies’ net program.
“We had five seniors who were all four-year cheerleaders,” Culver added.
The five included Loryn Big Eagle, Baylee Sutherland, Stephanie Clifton, Victoria Jech and Keylee Kirk.
PHS girls’ basketball coach Lauri Shatswell said her Lady Huskies’ team “finished 14-14, but we should have been about 21-7.”
“There are 96 teams in Class 2A,” Shatswell noted, adding: “When the season ended, we were among the top 36.”
Of the Lady Huskies’ success, the coach said: “It all starts with the four seniors (Kailee Hambright, Sarah Phillippi, Genie Herren and Keylee Kirk).”
Lady Huskie soccer coach Giovannie Soliano also counted on senior leadership for another successful season. In the end, Keylee Kirk and Sarah Phillippi earned All-State honors, while Genie Herren, Danae Laird and Karissa Hughes received All-District recognition. Baylee Sutherland was another valuable senior member.
The PHS Huskies’ golf team qualified for state and wound up finishing 11th, with senior Bailey Thompson finishing 19th in the individual standings.
Thompson, Tucker Helmer and Chanler Collins provided senior leadership for the five-man squad.
“I was glad to have the opportunity to share in the team’s success,” coach Seth Creamer said.
Brian Edwards coached the Lady Huskies’ softball team, and the baseball and wrestling teams of the Huskies.
Senior pitcher Breanna Redeagle played a major role in the PHS softball squad’s successful season, as did fellow seniors Sarah Phillippi and Keylee Kirk, Edwards said.
The Huskies’ baseball team was not able to overcome a late-season injury to standout senior player Gage Dagenais, Edwards added.
Taylor Walker, T.J. Finn and Matthew Taft were the senior members of the wrestling team.
Band Director Josh Burroughs cited the outstanding accomplishments of senior member Lynn Connor. He also noted the contributions Henley and senior Victoria Jech made to one of his music classes.
“They really brought energy to that class,” Burroughs said.
Other seniors honored at the banquet included Trent Hughes and Brooke McCracken.