Pair named senior athletes of the year at Trinity banquet


For The Tribune

Sydney Stuckwisch and Toby VanLiew have been named the Senior Athletes of the Year at Trinity Lutheran High School for the 2014-15 school year.

Their honor was announced by athletics director Aaron Rudzinski during the spring sports award program Monday night when the baseball, softball, boys golf and girls tennis teams were honored.

Rudzinski said the senior athletes had to be nominated by their coaches in order to receive the award.

Stuckwisch played volleyball, basketball and tennis this school year at Trinity Lutheran, and said she plans to play volleyball at Franklin College.

VanLiew was on the soccer and basketball teams at the school and plans to play basketball at Indiana University Kokomo.

“They’ve done a great job of representing our school,” Rudzinski said. ”They performed well on the field or the courts they played on.”

Tennis coach Mark Voss had 13 players on his roster, with six returning from last year while there were eight first-year players.

Shelby Nierman was the only four-year player on the team and she received a senior award.

Aurora Willman, who played No. 1 singles, was named the most valuable player, while Olivia Benter received the most improve award.

Seniors Nierman, Stuckwisch, and Allison Hackman shared the Cougar Award.

“Our conduct was excellent,” Voss said. “We were 1-14. “We played some really good teams. Everybody had a chance to play at least one varsity match, and everybody won at least one match. We had struggles throughout the season, but it wasn’t something we couldn’t overcome.”

Golf coach Greg Personett said his team had an excellent season by going 12-5 in dual and three-way matches, 22-12 in the tournaments and topped their season off by winning the Cougar Invitational.

“Our underclassmen pushed our older golfers,” Personett said. “This was the easiest coaching job I’ve ever done. We were sixth in the sectional with 344.”

He said not too long ago the Cougars had trouble breaking 400, so they have improved a lot in recent seasons.

Parker Criswell, who played the no. 1 position for the Cougars, was named the most valuable player. He shot a career-low 75 to capture medalist honors in Cougar tournament.

Drew Royalty was named the most improved player while Clayton Pottschmidt was named a repeat winner of the Cougar Award.

Criswell and Pottschmidt received senior awards.

Chad Goecker took over the head coaching position of the softball team this spring and guided them to a record of 14-9.

“Our record wasn’t as good as we would have liked, but we stepped up our competition,” Goecker said. “We had four losses by two runs or less. We reached the finals of the sectional.”

Natalie Plofkin was named the most valuable player. She topped the team in RBI with 31 and her .437 batting average was second on the team..

Kirsten Hoene was named the most improved player, Kaitlyn Wright received the coaches award, Liz Hill got the Cougar Award, and Hill and Wright received senior awards.

Baseball coach Bob Tabeling said the biggest thing that hurt his team was being inconsistent.

“We would have five or six strong innings and then would come the inning,” Tabeling said. “We had some very good games, like against Scottsburg and Salem, but being inconsistent led to our losses.”

The Cougars finished 10-15.

Only four of the 15 players on the roster were juniors or seniors. Tabeling said it was a challenge for the freshmen and sophomores to play against juniors and seniors.

Jake Moore was named the most valuable player, as he batted .431 and had an on base percentage of .529.

Moore pitched more than twice as many innings as anybody else on the team.

Nick Mensendiek was named most improved, and Matt Fourman and Chandler Reynolds were named co-winners of the Cougar Award.

Seniors Caleb Reedy and Tyler Wenig were honored. Wenig received a senior award, while Reedy received a coach’s recognition award.

Rudzinski also announced the Tri-Athlete and Scholar Athlete award winners.

He said tri-athletes had to participate in three sports during the school year and 15 persons got the honor.

Scholar athletes had to earn at least one varsity letter and had to be on the honor roll both fall and spring semesters; 77 athletes did that.

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