KHS athletes honored for spring achievements

As Kingman's starting pitcher, Craig Messer has been at the center of the Bulldogs' baseball action for four years.

At the team's awards banquet Wednesday at KHS North, it was no exception.

Messer, who was a unanimous Northwest Region selection, was chosen most valuable and most inspirational player by his teammates.

"I'm going to miss Craig," KHS coach Scott Bullock said.

"I don't know how to be a head coach without Craig Messer.

He's been with me since I took over the program."

Messer appeared in 14 games for the Bulldogs.

He had nine complete games in 10 starts and finished with a 2.81 ERA.

"He was a complete workhorse for us," Bullock said.

"He's a great leader and a very good student."

Another senior honored was Jay Fuqua, who was named most improved and was on the region's all-academic team.

"Numerous times this year he could have packed it up," KHS assistant Cory Williams said.

"We came out every day and in the playoffs led us."

The award for offensive player of the year went to junior catcher/third basemen Joe Oberlin, who led the Bulldogs in several categories, including batting average (.405).

He joined Messer on the all-region team.

"This was a no-brainer," Williams said.

"He came to work every day.

His knowledge at the plate is phenomenal."

Junior catcher/third basemen Eldon Sheely, who earned honorable mention in the region, was named defensive player of the year.

"He had a great postseason," Bullock said.

"He was solid all season."

Also earning honorable mention in the region was senior shortstop Chris Casson, who concluded a stellar prep career.

He is ranked at the top of his class academically, in addition to achieving success in football, basketball and baseball.

"It will be hard for anyone to live up to his standards as a student-athlete," Bullock said.

"All four years he played three sports and was able to come away with a 4.128 grade point average.

It's just an incredible student athlete."

Other seniors recognized were Ross Wilson, Denny Gaddis and Joe Branch.

Other juniors on varsity were Marc Johnston, Nate Ragan and Bryan Messer and sophomores were Wes Branch, Baily Blair and Dustin Sandsness.

The Bulldogs (10-17-1) finished fifth in the Northwest Region and bowed out in the second round of the region tournament.

"We didn't have the record we wanted and we didn't get to state like we wanted but that doesn't necessarily mean our season wasn't successful."

Softball

With the softball equipment stored away for another season it was time for coach Craig Wilson to pass out the season ending awards.

Two seniors and one sophomore were honored with the team's awards that are voted on by the players.

Senior center fielder Jennifer Bathauer was named the most valuable player.

"I have had the pleasure of working for Jennifer the last three years," Wilson said.

"There is not a ball hit to the outfield that she doesn't think that she is going to catch.

She was a real team leader for us."

Sophomore second baseman Kristen Acton was voted most improved player.

"By the end of the season she would come out and play second base for us almost every game," Wilson said.

"She always gave us 100 percent and nothing that we asked her to do she wouldn't try.

You can't ask for anything more than that."

Senior first baseman Brandi Bradley received the award for most inspirational.

"Even when Brandi was sitting on the bench she was screaming and supporting her teammates," Wilson said.

"Brandi did an outstanding job for us, and I am just pleased that the team recognized her."

Junior catcher Sarah Torgerson was named to the all-region team.

Sophomore pitcher Melody Van Zandt and Bathauer earned honorable mention.

Junior outfielder Victoria Marino was named to the all-academic team.

"Sarah was one of our top hitters on the team," Wilson said.

"She also caught seven back-to-back games for us and that is really tough on a catcher."

The Bulldogs fell short of making it to the state tournament losing in the regional tournament to Goldwater for third place.

Kingman finished the season with a 14-16 overall record.

"I would like to think that our team record is more that what is entered in the win lose column," Wilson said.

"The players on the team learned to play together and become one single unit."

Track and field

Jessica Hicks and Tyler Angle showed all season that they could compete against the state's top track competition.

Hicks, a junior, won the Class 5A Northwest Region shot put title and finished in 10th place at the state meet.

Angle, a sophomore distance runner, crossed the line in seventh place in the 3200-meter run and finished in eighth place in the 1600.

In track, the most valuable awards are awarded to those who scored the most points for the team so the obvious recipients were Hicks and Angle for the girls' and boys' teams, respectively.

"Jessica and Tyler both had really great seasons for us," York said.

"They are the future for us."

Junior hurdler Vicki Bracy, who qualified for state but didn't place, was named most improved for the girls.

Junior high and long jumper Derek Meins earned the boys' honor.

"We had a lot of kids improve this year," York said.

"Everybody got better as the season went along."

The most inspirational award is "given to the athlete whose been on the team three or four years and works very hard," York said.

York presented senior Jarrod Chambers with the boys' award and Lamai Krisintu with the girls' award.

"Jarrod was one of our team captains this year for us," York said.

"He was always out there working hard for us.

He did a great job for us."

According to York, the season was one of the toughest ones in years.

"We probably had 15 or 20 kids that had season ending injuries and that is just unheard of," York said.

"The kids that finished the season was a great bunch of kids.

They got better all the time.

One of the problems that we had this season was the weather and we weren't able to get caught up."