Honoring student athletes at Bear River High
Leader County Editor
Generous businesses throughout the Bear River Valley sponsored Bear River High athletes throughout the 2017-18 school year and wrapped up the year naming one female and one male student athlete as Student Athletes of the Year.
This year Colby Hamson and Natalie Cottle, both multi-sport athletes and 4.0 students, were honored as the year end recipients of Student Athletes of the Year and a $2,000 scholarship.
A banquet was held on May 21, 2018, at Bear River High for all student nominees and sponsors and featured guest speakers Scott and Christie Sandall.
The Sandalls are both 1979 Bear River High graduates. They were born and raised in the Bear River Valley and spent only a few years outside of the area to attend college and serve a mission before ultimately settling and raising their family in Tremonton.
Scott, a local rancher and member of the Utah legislature, praised those student athletes for their hard work and talent and reminded them to always thank those that helped them get to where they are.
“It’s much more enjoyable if other people are around you,” Scott said. “Never put yourself ahead.”
Christie also added her thoughts on the importance of support from the community, family and teammates and the importance of giving back.
“Become a giver in society. Give your time and talents,” she said. “If we work hard we will accomplish a lot.”
“The best things in life are done when nobody wants to take credit for it,” Scott added. “It’s not about the credit. It’s about the accomplishment.”
Bear River High’s Athletic Director Van Park added the four words to help one become successful, “I believe in you.” He added, “At the end of the race you’ll know if you’re enough,” quoting the movie “Cool Runnings.”
Starting out the year were Lindsay Schow and Jacob Olsen for September for girls’ soccer and football.
Lindsay did double duty on both the girls’ soccer team and in cross-country and maintained a 4.0 GPA.
“She is always quick to help out with anything that needs done and I have been so impressed with her great attitude,” said Bear River girls’ soccer Coach Andrew Cobabe.
“In working with her, I have seen a young woman that is truly one of the great ones and someone that will accomplish amazing things,” said Park. “In class, she was always so well prepared and engaged but the thing that was most impressive was the friendly smile and great attitude she always brought every day to class.”
Jacob led the 2017 Bear River football team to many great wins while maintaining a high GPA.
“Jacob never gives less than 100 percent both on and off the field. Jacob, is a player that exemplifies what we are trying to bring all Bear River football players to, and that is a true place of self-determination and responsibility,” said Bear River football Coach Chris Wise.
“I have always been impressed with Jacob’s demeanor and attitude,” added Park. “He has a great work ethic to go along with his great attitude which will make him a big success in the future.”
In October Colby Hamson and Brooklyn Harris received the honors of Student Athletes of the Month.
“Colby has been an outstanding part of our cross country program. All the younger boys look to his example and he has been such a privilege to coach and get to know as a young man,” cross country Coach Dan Line said. “Colby is a great student and even a better person. He is the heart and soul of our team.”
“He is everything we look for as an example of what we want from our student athletes,” said Park. “Colby understands what it takes most people way past adulthood to understand and that is ‘success is yours when you work your hardest to become the best you can become.’”
Brooklyn Harris has been a leader on the Bear River girls’ tennis team for many seasons as a singles player and her positive attitude and sportsmanship resulted in an award being named after her.
“Brooklyn has always been a great contributor to the tennis team. She is an example of hard work and responsibility,” said Bear River girls’ tennis Coach Nancy Brough.
“You will never meet a person that is more genuine and kind to everyone than Brooklyn,” said Park. “I have watched her play tennis with awe that someone could be that competitive and still be that kind to her opponent.”
In November, Max Ramsdell and Natalie Cottle were recognized for their contributions to band and girls’ soccer as Student Athletes of the Month.
For seven years Max has been part of band and plays four instruments. He was also this year’s co-valedictorian.
“More than any other reason, Max is nominated for this award because of his genuine friendship and leadership and his devotion to making others around him feel success,” Bear River High band director Wade Walton said.
“Max is someone that from the moment you meet him, you realize you are with someone special and someone you can’t help but just admire and like,” Park said. “He is always positive and treats everyone with respect.”
Natalie was recognized for also being a 4.0 student and an integral member of the girls’ soccer team at Bear River High.
“Natalie has been one of our strongest assets this year in soccer. Both on and off the field, Natalie has shown the attributes of a great leader,” Cobabe said.
“Natalie is incredibly talented and brilliant but she always works hard to be the best she can be and never acts like she’s better than anyone else,” added Park. “She is always so polite and kind off of the floor/field but a fierce competitor as she competes.”
Sami Allen and Alec Chournos took home the honors of November’s Student Athlete of the Month.
Sami, a talented and hard-working cheerleader, has shown spirit and leadership at Bear River High and was awarded the Top All-American at cheer camp in 2017.
“Not only is she exceptionally talented in cheer, dance and tumbling, she has phenomenal grades,” said Bear River cheer Coach Tory Birnkshaw. “If I could clone her I would! She is not only beautiful and talented but above all she is kind.”
“In the many times I have seen her over the years, cheering on our teams or in the halls, I have never seen her without a smile. Her smile is always one of those kind and accepting smiles that make you feel better about the day,” Park added.
The success Alec has had in the pool will be looked upon for years and his impact will leave a mark on future swimmers for Bear River High. With a 4.0 GPA, Alec has succeeded in the classroom as well.
“Alec is a great teammate to everyone on the team. He pushes his fellow swimmers to go faster in practice and in meets. He is encouraging and positive all the time,” Esplin said.
“I think what sets him apart from most is how he always expresses his gratitude and appreciation. He doesn’t act entitled at all, knowing he has to work hard for everything he has and then he recognizes the help given him,” said Park.
January’s Student Athletes of the Month were represented by the a wrestler and a basketball player, Zac Miller and Rachel Fronk.
Zac, a 4.0 student, has had great success in the classroom and on the wrestling mat.
“Zac isn’t one of those kids that needs a lot of recognition, he just quietly excels at everything he does,” Park said. “As you look at his accomplishments and how he acts and how he treats people, Zac definitely does his best each day in everything he does.”
Rachel, a three-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball and track, has maintained success in the classroom and in athletics.
“She holds a high standard for herself and works very hard to achieve her goals,” Corbridge said. “Rachel is both talented and willing to put in the time when no one is watching to be successful. Rachel loves to have fun on the court, keeping everyone happy and smiling. She has become a leader who people gravitate to and look to for encouragement.”
“She always wants what is best for her teammates both individually and collectively,” Park said. “She is what I would call the quiet assassin, she doesn’t say anything but uses her athleticism, competitiveness and determination to dominate her opponents.”
Erin Hornberger and Jake Dahle were given the honor of being February’s Student Athletes of the Month.
As a two year member of the Bear River swim team, Erin has also been a key player on the water polo team.
“Erin is respectful to her coaches and is eager to listen and learn from them,” said Esplin.
“What an example of always working hard, being kind to everyone and being positive in every situation. Erin has had to deal with some very difficult times and has dealt with them better than most adults I know. I can honestly say there has never been a time that I have visited with Erin that I didn’t walk away feeling happy and lucky to associate with her,” Park added.
Jake, a four year member of the Bear River basketball and baseball teams, has shown leadership throughout his high school years.
“Jake’s play on the court, and his attitude and example off of it, has allowed him to flourish as a senior captain and lead his peers and our program in a positive and competitive direction,” said Bear River boys’ basketball Coach Scott Hunt. “Jake has shown that he values his education and has made the necessary sacrifices in his life to succeed in both the classroom and the athletic arena.”
“Jake has had a lot of success both in his basketball and baseball career yet he has remained humble and polite, always crediting his teammates and coaches for his success,” said Park. “It has been fun to watch such a fierce competitor on the field/floor be such a gentleman off.”
The month of March went to student athletes Ryan Hales and Mercedes Call, both multi-sport athletes.
Ryan is a four year member of the Bear River swim team and was able to improve his personal times in the pool as well as excelling in the classroom and as a member of the student body council.
“Ryan is a joy to have on the team and is friends with everyone. He was able to push everyone in his lane to become better swimmers. He is always smiling and positive no matter the situation,” said Bear River swim Coach Danny Esplin.
“I have not only observed him on the golf team and swim team as he consistently demonstrated great sportsmanship along with kindness to both is own team and the opposition but I have watched him on student council as he always jumped in and worked incredibly hard for the students of Bear River,” said Park. “What a great world this would be if we had a world full of Ryan Hales.”
Mercedes has been an integral player on both the softball field and the basketball court throughout high school. She has signed to play softball at Salt Lake Community College this fall.
“Mercedes Call is a tremendous athlete that leads by example,” said Bear River girls’ basketball Coach Mike Corbridge. “Mercedes pushes everyone to work hard in practice and in games and was the ultimate team player.”
“She really is an anomaly as she is a fierce, fierce competitor yet one of the kindest, friendliest and happiest young ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing,” said Park.
The April 2018 recipients of Student Athletes of the Month went to Sydnee Riley and Syrus Miner.
Sydnee was nominated for her performance on the girls’ track team in throwing events, qualifying for state the past two years in the javelin throw. This year she took ? place in the 4A state meet.
“Not only is she a great athlete, but she is an amazing team captain. She continually pushes herself to be better at everything she does. She helps to show others that not only can working hard help them achieve their goals, they can have fun while doing it,” said Coach Chad Hurst.
“She has a real unique ability to be incredibly fierce in competition but yet one of the kindest, friendliest and happiest young ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing,” Park said. “She is the kind of person you want going to battle with because you know she will always work hard and have your back. She is a great leader by both word and deed.”
Syrus Miner is an accomplished athlete football, swimming and soccer and was this year’s captain of the Bear River boys’ soccer team and was a starting right wing.
“As a move in from Gunnison, Syrus has had to integrate into a new school and community his senior year. He looked towards athletics to meet new people and be involved,” Bear River boys’ soccer Coach Gene Wilcox said. “His leadership and maturity have helped guide a young team into playoff contention.”
“In the few times I have visited with Syrus I have been very impressed with his friendly, happy and respectful attitude,” said Park.
Finishing out the 2017-18 school year, Kapri Toone and Nathan Pace received the honor of May’s Student Athletes of the Month.
Kapri has been a four year member of the Bear River softball team, leading her team to two state championship titles and many region titles as a pitcher and one of the top hitters.
“She is a dedicated athlete who knows that success is the result of hard work and commitment,” said Bear River High softball Coach Calvin Bingham. “She has been a tremendous role model for the younger athletes on our team demonstrating what one can accomplished with hard work and a desire to improve. In addition to being an outstanding athlete, she is a friend to everyone.”
“Kapri has destroyed the old adage, ‘Nice people finish last.’ She has shown how it is possible to be kind and still be a fierce competitor and a great success,” Park said.
In cross country and track, Nathan has out-shined the competition but also excels in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA. He has taken home several first place finishes in cross country and track throughout his career including a first place finish in the 3200m event at the Cache Box Invitational this year.
“Nathan is very successful academically and athletically. Not only does he perform well in the classroom and in running but he has a ‘can-do’ attitude which is his overachieving quality,” Bear River track Coaches Chad Hurst and Tyrell Neal said. “His positive contributions to the team are immeasurable.”
“He just quietly excels in everything while remaining very humble, respectful and positive. What a great example of the kind of young man we want representing our school,” Park said.
This year’s business sponsors include Ace Hardware, Archibald Tire Pros, Crump Reese Motors, Capener Lossee Real Estate, American Family Insurance, Cover Up, Chanshare Farms, Member’s First Credit Union, Intermountain Bear River Valley Hospital, Northern Title, Studio R, Valley View Granite, Rudd Funeral Home and Kent’s Market.