The awards were among a number of special awards presented at the conclusion of the evening’s program.
Sleep earlier in the program had been named a multi-sport gold medallion recipient, indicating that he had lettered in 10 or more seasons over the course of his four-year prep career. Sleep was named the most valuable defensive team member for the Panthers this season. Sleep is one of the top shot put and discus throwers in the state, having pre-qualified for state in both events.
Hildebrand was also a gold medallion recipient. She was the most improved member of the cross country team and the most valuable member of the girls’ golf team and girls’ basketball teams. She currently serves as the starting goalkeeper for the Panther girls’ soccer team, which plays in a state tournament play-in game this week.
Both Sleep and Hildebrand will continue their athletic careers at the college level. Both will be multi-sport competitors at that level. Sleep signed a football letter of intent during the early signing period, indicating his plans to attend Colorado Mesa University. Later in the spring, Sleep announced that he will also join the university’s track and field squad as a thrower for the indoor and spring seasons.
Hildebrand announced her intention during the early signing period as well. Hildebrand will attend Dickinson State University, where she will join the Blue Hawks’ women’s basketball and golf teams.
The Blue Hawks compete at the NAIA level and Hildebrand will join the school as they transition to competition in the North Star Athletic Association.
The Senior Athletes of the Year awards were just some of the highlighted awards bestowed on Monday night. The U.S. Army Reserve Scholar-Athlete Awards went to Justin Lynn and Tess Mitchell. The U.S. Marines Distinguished Athlete Awards went to Dewey Schwahn and Becky Dent.
The Gerald Sleep Most Inspirational Award recipients were Drew Feller and BreaAnn Hollenbeck. The Dr. Ray Christensen “Stout Heart” Award was handed out to Marshall McArthur and Kadi Cooley. The Pat Finney Service Award went to Zach Herman and Alyssa Hildebrand.
Multi-sport medallions were handed out to 12 student-athletes. Gold medals went to Sleep, McArthur, Lynn, Feller, Cooley, Hildebrand and Mitchell. Silver medals were handed out to Tyler Patterson, Schwahn and Hollenbeck. Bronze medallions were bestowed upon Dent and Mike Mundy.
The individual award winners were handed out in each fall and winter sport. Spring sports will hold their own awards ceremonies at the conclusion of their regular seasons.
Honored for their efforts this season were:
Cross country — Most valuable: Zander Andreasen and Bailey Sanders; Most improved: Mat Abraham and Alyssa Hildebrand; Most inspirational: Drew Feller and Sierra Morrow.
Volleyball — Most valuable: Becky Dent; Most improved: Breanna Donarski; Most inspirational: Kadi Cooley.
Tennis — Most valuable: Marshall McArthur and BreaAnn Hollenbeck; Most improved: Kalei Smith and Haley Wichman; Most inspirational: Cody Akin and Laura Bright.
Football — Lars Bly most valuable: Dewey Schwahn; Most improved: Matt Widdecombe; Most inspirational: Dewey Schwahn; Lee Blocking award: Riley Stringer; Most valuable defense: Vince Sleep; Most valuable offense: Hayden Cragoe; Most valuable special teams: Dewey Schwahn.
Golf — Most valuable: Bowen Prestwich and Alyssa Hildebrand; Most improved: Cameron Nielson, Carli Brown and Mikala Fulton; Most inspirational: Dillon Nix and Tess Mitchell.
Swimming — Most valuable: Amanda Tracy and Jarred LaPierre; Most improved: Jace Sharp and Ben Argento; Most inspirational: Korrie Kalberer, Quin Wetzel and Edward Oursler.
Basketball — Kevin Rickert Memorial (boys’ MVP): Marshall McArthur; Most valuable: Alyssa Hildebrand; Most improved: Cory Heny and Brooke Lensegrav; Most inspirational: Carter Baxter and Kadi Cooley; Free throw award: Kalei Smith and Tess Mitchell.
Wrestling — Most valuable: Zach Thompson; Most improved: Jacob Davis; Most inspirational: Drew Feller.
Cheerleading — Most valuable: Nikki Gonzales; Most improved: Rebecca Jurado; Most inspirational Lexie Nemitz.
Dance — Most valuable: Cydney Barrus; Most improved: Sabina Bridges; Most inspirational: Shelby Saldana.