Ramona High School’s cross country teams closed out their 2008 seasons with an awards banquet Dec. 18 at Olive Peirce Middle School.
Steve Emery, the head coach for both the boys and girls programs, utilized his first season as the Bulldogs’ head coach to present Most Valuable Player awards by grade level and also add new awards.
“I kind of spread it out a little bit,” he said.
Emery is a 1978 graduate of Granite Hills High School and borrowed the ACE, or Athletes Committed to Excellence, award from retired El Capitan High School Coach Dick Wilkins.
“Basically it’s those kids who have a real high GPA but they’re also performing in athletics,” Emery explained.
The girls ACE award went to junior Sarah Callan, who has a 4.5 grade-point average and is in Ramona High School’s band as well as on the cross country team.
“She’s not our best runner, but she’s an awesome kid,” Emery remarked.
The boys ACE award was presented to junior Max Hughes, who has a 4.67 GPA and is a three-sport athlete who wrestles as well as competes in cross country and track.
“They’re just deserving academically,” Emery said of Callan and Hughes.
The freshman Most Valuable Player honors were given to Lauren Cortez and Dylan Blankenbaker. Chance Varnardo-Richardson and Lindsey Spieker were the sophomore MVPs, Chelsey Cortez and Paul Reynolds earned junior MVP honors, and Chris Fabian and Brittany Balcom took home the senior MVP awards.
The banquet also saw junior varsity MVP awards given to Anna Phillips and William Wenberg.
Spieker and Nathan Morgan took home Most Inspirational awards. Wenberg and Erika Stinchcomb received Most Improved honors, while Freshman/JV Most Improved recognition was given to Colton Longand Marla Gonzalez.
The banquet also saw Top Dawg awards given to the MVPs and to Hughes, Morgan, Stinchcomb, Tanner Jorgenson, Matt Mazzola, Tanner Perfect, Alec Richardson, Tessa Balcom, Ashley Duck, Chelsea Maurer, Adena Pepich, Jessica Russo, and Ruth Spitsbergen.