Coaches give most individual awards for the individual’s contribution to the team. Team members vote on some. Awards like Most Valuable, Most Inspirational, Best Defensive, Best Offensive and Scholar Athlete are given to student-athletes based mainly on their talent and contribution to the team.
The Bulldog of the Year was inspired by coaches based upon what the individual did for the coach. The Bulldog of the Year Award is not a consolation award for the runner-up as the Best Athlete. It is awarded to the individual who makes coaching a pleasure. The award personifies what keeps men and women in the profession of coaching. That is why coaches nominate and voted on recipients. Statistics, win-loss percentages, post-season honors, all league and all selections are not requisites for the award.
Making athletics fun to coach is the main requisite if not the only requisite.
The coaches at Ramona High School voted the following two students as the 2010 Bulldogs of the Year.
Male Bulldog of Year Erik Ernst is a two-sport athlete. He has earned seven varsity letters. He lettered as a freshman in baseball and started on the varsity football team as a sophomore. “Erik always shows up to work. He is well-liked by the coaches and all teammates. He is a great leader who gains respect through his consistent play,” said Damon Baldwin, his varsity football coach for three seasons. Bulldog has a language of its own. In baseball parlance, a Bulldog is a tough competitor who finds a way to get the job done. “Erik is not always pretty but he gets the job done,” said his pitching coach, Josh Lohman. “He believes in himself. I’ll never forget the time when we were playing Valley Center. Their best hitter was up with runners on second and third base. I asked him what he thought he should do. ‘Challenge him!’ was Erik’s reply. He did and he got him out,” said Lohman, chuckling. “Erik always gives 110 percent,” said Dean Welch, Erik’s varsity baseball coach for four years. ”Diving for balls in batting practice is not uncommon. Even when he is not in the lineup he hangs on every pitch. He is always pulling for every teammate. He competes every time he steps on the field. This season he came up big. He was a big factor in our championship with eight wins. He beat Valley Center with a one hitter and he beat Westview. Those wins were crucial,”
Erik shows up in the classroom, too. He has posted a 3.7 grade point average and will attend a community college before transferring to a four-year university. He plans on majoring in communications and becoming a public affairs officer in the Navy.
Erik is a leader in all of his endeavors. He captained the varsity and baseball teams. He won the Bulldog Award twice for varsity baseball and was all Valley League in baseball his senior season.
His parents are Mike and Robyn Ernst. “They have always been there and have taught me how to work hard and compete.”
Erik’s advice to incoming Bulldogs is simple: “Never take sports for granted. Put in the work and the time, because it is worth it.”
Female Bulldog of Year Tory Roberts’ varsity softball coach for four seasons, Mike Schuler, nominated her for the award. “Tory’s attitude at practice, games and in the off season is always the same,” he said. “She always has a positive and upbeat attitude. Her strongest attribute is very simple: Hard work! There is never any down time with Tory. She is always working on something—extra swings, ground balls, whatever it takes. I would venture to say that in the past four seasons I have hit Tory as many “extra buckets” of ground balls as I have probably hit to the team s a whole. She would ask for extra buckets whether things were going good or bad. She consistently works at improving and getting better. “Others can learn the value of a good work ethic from Tory. I know how hard she works on the field, and by her grade point average (4.59) I would say that she works even harder in the classroom. “Tory and her older sister, Dana, who just graduated from Harvard, have been the best student-athletes that I have had the pleasure to coach at RHS,” Those extra buckets paid off. Tory earned the Defensive Player of the Year her junior and senior seasons at RHS. She got the Coaches Award, which is the softball equivalent of the Bulldog Award, as a sophomore. She earned All Valley League honors her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Needless to say, she made the Union-Tribune’s All Academic Team her junior and senior seasons. She was the varsity softball team captain her junior and senior seasons. Tory is the 2010 Ramona High School valedictorian and was the Social Studies Student of the Year as a junior and the Advanced Placement Statistics Student of the Year as a senior. “My parents (Mike Roberts and Karen Hess) are amazing. They never get down on me, never tell me I can’t do it. They are two pillars of support. I wouldn’t have been able to be successful in high school without their support. My best experience in softball was hitting the first home run on our new field that my parents helped us get.” Tory also hit a home run in her last game on that field. Tory said the best lesson that she learned from sports is: “Hard work is the most important thing.” She advises incoming Bulldogs to “never give up. No matter how much the sport takes from you, it gives you so much more.” Tory played basketball her frosh year and volleyball in ninth and 10th grades. She also was in Fusion, peer tutoring and helped at the Ramona Senior Center. She has given more than she has taken in all of her endeavors.