PHS unveils year-end award winners

Posted 5/14/20

Although they didn’t get the pomp and circumstance of the traditional Athletic Awards banquet, a host of Panther athletes were recently honored for their accomplishments over the 2019-20 school …

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PHS unveils year-end award winners


Although they didn’t get the pomp and circumstance of the traditional Athletic Awards banquet, a host of Panther athletes were recently honored for their accomplishments over the 2019-20 school year.

On Tuesday, PHS officials formally announced the winners of various awards from the fall, winter and spring seasons — along with eight annual awards and scholarships given to senior athletes.

“All of them are very special,” said PHS Activities Director Scott McKenzie.

The honors would normally have been handed out at a banquet — a celebration that McKenzie has looked forward to each year for decades. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation.

Instead, the major award winners were notified by personal letters and they will collect their plaques on graduation day.

“My heart truly breaks for you and your peers as you trek down this path of finishing your senior year in this odd fashion,” McKenzie wrote in the letters, adding that, “I am so sorry this virus has taken so much away from you, but know that your coaches and I recognize excellence when we see it!”

Although there was no spring season, the coaches for those sports still awarded letters and their traditional annual awards — such as most valuable, improved and inspirational.

While it was tougher for younger athletes who have yet to build an athletic resume at PHS, “we wanted to letter those kids that should letter, that we knew would letter,” McKenzie said. “I thought that was important.”


Seniors Kayla Kolpitcke and Jay Cox claimed the most prestigious honors, being named the PHS Senior Athlete of the Year.

The award is chosen by all of the high school’s head coaches and is meant to honor the boy and girl who best exemplify sportsmanship, citizenship, leadership, cooperation with all school personnel, a desire to excel and win and a willingness to sacrifice for the team and Powell High School.

Kolpitcke was a force in her four years on the PHS cross country team and soccer, earning All-Conference honors in both sports. Outside of PHS, she’s also a strong hockey player and plans to continue playing both hockey and soccer at Marian University, a Division III school in Wisconsin, in the fall.

Cox, meanwhile, accomplished the rare feat of winning state titles in track (the 400 meters, 800 meters and the 4x400 and 4x800 relays in 2019), tennis (No. 3 doubles in 2019) and swimming (with the 200 free relay team in March) over the past year. Cox is taking his speed to the Division I level in the fall, signing to join the University of Wyoming Track & Field team.


The U.S. Army Reserve Scholar/Athlete Award — which recognizes academic and athletic achievement, as well as extracurricular involvement — went to Ashlyn Aguirre and Brody Karhu.


The U.S. Marines Distinguished Athlete Award is given to those athletes recognized as having best exhibited the personal traits of courage, poise, self-confidence and leadership while performing as a varsity athlete. This year’s recipients were Michele Wagner and Aidan Jacobsen.


The Gerald Sleep Most Inspirational Athlete Award, given to athletes whose effort and dedication serves as an inspiration to teammates, went to Rachel Kuntz and Ethan Asher.


The winners of this award routinely exhibit loyalty, dedication, a respect for teammates and coaches, leadership qualities and the ability to achieve a degree of excellence. This year’s winners were Sabrina Shoopman and Dylan Preator.


The Pat Finney Service Award is given to a student athlete who, along with participation in school sports, gives back to the community outside of regular school activities. This year’s honorees were Gabi Metzler and Brody Karhu.


The Jim Stringer Memorial Scholarship, created to honor the late football coach and what he meant to PHS athletics, went to Jesse Brown.


Michele Wagner earned the William Farthing Memorial Scholarship, provided by the Powell Schools Foundation. It honors Farthing, who taught and coached at PHS in the 1960s and ‘70s. Criteria include good citizenship and loyalty to PHS and its athletic programs, while demonstrating good leadership and a high level of integrity.



Most Valuable: Carson Olsen

Most Improved: Karson Lamb

Most Inspirational: Kadden Abraham

Lee Blocking Award: Seth Horton



Most Valuable: Elizabeth Liggett

Most Improved: Kami Jensen

Most Inspirational: Lauren Lejeune



Lars Bly — Most Valuable: Jesse Brown

Most Improved: Ethan Bartholomew

Most Inspirational: Jay Cox



Lars Bly — Most Valuable: Sloane Asay

Most Improved: Kaili Wisniewski

Most Inspirational: Hailee Paul



Most Valuable: Gabi Metzler

Most Improved: Paije Johonson

Most Inspirational: Kady Wells



Most Valuable: George Higgins

Most Improved: Brandon Wentz

Most Inspirational: Crandell Sanders



Most Valuable: Mycah Wainscott

Most Improved: Jasmin Simonson



Most Valuable: Joey Hernandez

Most Improved: Daniel Merritt

Most Inspirational: Dylan Cordes



Most Valuable: Kayla Kolpitcke

Most Improved: Elisa Polson

Most Inspirational: Kayla Kolpitcke



Kevin Rickert Most Valuable Player: Mason Marchant

Most Improved: Toran Graham

Most Inspirational: Jesse Brown



Most Valuable: Rose Graft

Most Improved: Paije Johnson and Sidney O’Brien

Most Inspirational: Kortny Feller



Most Valuable: Seth Horton and Colt Nicholson

Most Improved: Riley Bennett

Most Inspirational: Corey Linebaugh and Michael Maddox



Most Valuable: Richard Spann

Most Improved: Tarren Blackmore

Most Inspirational: Jay Cox



L.A. Kohnke Most Deserving: Jay Cox, Aidan Jacobsen, Brody Karhu and Dylan Preator

Jim Miller Outstanding Boy: Dylan Cordes

Mitch Myrick Memorial: Ryan Good



L.A. Kohnke Most Deserving: Sabrina Shoopman

Jim Miller Outstanding Girl: Hailee Paul

Mitch Myrick Memorial: Kaitlyn Decker



Most Valuable: Garrett Morris

Most Improved: Braxton Miller

Most Inspirational: Ernie Acevedo



Most Valuable: Morgan Schmidt

Most Improved: Madi Black

Most Inspirational: Scarlette Mendoza



Most Valuable: Peyton Hamilton

Most Improved: Kylie Kahl

Most Inspirational: Delaney Jackson

(Editor's note: This version corrects the most valuable and most improved awards for the Powell High School tennis teams. In the information originally submitted, the award-winners had been swapped.)