The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dave Schreindl
the Times 

D-W's winter athletes celebrated at awards banquet


March 19, 2020

Beka Compton

Members of the D-Ws girls varsity basketball team with their awards received at the Winter Awards Banquet. From left: Claudia Benavides, second team EWAC; Kira Boggs, Team Captain and Defensive Player of the year; Kirsten Miller, the Coaches Award; Sadie Seney, Team Captain, Free-Throw Award, Most Valuable Player, and first team EWAC; McKenzie Dobbs, Most Improved; and Mackenna Culley, Team Captain, Most Inspirational, and second team EWAC.

Thursday's Dayton-Waitsburg Winter Awards Banquet had a bittersweet atmosphere, while laughter rang out throughout the Waitsburg Elementary's multipurpose room there was also the realization that this might be the last athletic celebration for D-W for some time.

It was shortly after this meeting that word got out that Walla Walla and College Place had shut down athletic events and then on Friday, March 13, Governor Inslee announced that Washington State schools will close for six weeks, preventing senior athletes from competing in spring sports one last time.

The awards night began by recognizing the efforts of the cheer squad. Coach Vickie Hamann was unable to attend, so Athletic Director Nicki Luper presented the certificates to Dia Adkins, Sarah Shutters, Natalie Teal, Alicia Apodaca, Jessie Atteberry, Michelle Gomez, Alexis Reeves, Emma Williams, Kaylee White and seniors Grace Coulston, Anna Miller, and Hannah Tiner.

Luper presented four additional awards to the cheer squad. The Most Valuable Cheerer went to Coulston, Most Inspirational went to Tiner, the Most Improved was given to Gomez, and the coach's award was given to Shutters.

Dayton-Waitsburg's girls basketball team were honored next. Coach Desirae Jones presented awards to each of the junior varsity members and shared several short stories about the players and what they meant to the team and herself. She expressed pride in the team's perseverance through multiple injuries late in the season, and how each member of the team stepped up and didn't give up.

Head coach Tamira Culley then praised the girl's varsity team. She thanked her husband, her mom (the super fan), the booster clubs, the boys' basketball team for being the team's biggest fans, and Roy Ramirez, the boys head coach. She shared the key experience that made her know her team was going to be ok, the summer NBC basketball camp. It was Culley's first year as head coach.

She said prior to the end-of-camp tournament her team was ranked last. She was afraid that news would destroy her team's confidence and self-esteem that they had built up over the previous days, but instead the girls rallied and used it as a chip on their shoulders and made it all the way to the championship game.

Varsity letter awards were given to seniors Kirsten Miller, Destiny Brincken, Kira Boggs, and McKenzie Dobbs. Also awarded were Mackenna Culley, Sadie Seney, Teagen Larsen, Cassidy Laughery, Megan Forney, Cecilia Acevedo, and Claudia Benavides. Coach Culley said Miller stepped in and did everything asked of her including playing the point guard position. She said Brincken was a very passionate player and was determined to get a charge every game. And Boggs was her give-it-her-all great leader. Seney was the leader of the team in points and rebounds and Culley was the defensive specialist.

Head Coach Culley shared a funny story of her daughter's defensive tenacity and obedience in their second game against Walla Walla Valley Academy and the assignment of guarding WWVA's Rylee King, who is 6'3" but hates to be touched. In their first meeting King scored 10 points and the Knights picked up their first win of the season. However, in the second match up, Mackenna Culley held King to just two points. Coach Culley shared that during the contest King had actually asked Culley if she could please 'touch her less' and Culley responded by apologizing that 'this was a basketball game and she couldn't.' It drew a big laugh from the audience, for how Culley politely said "no."

Also praised were the four team managers: Kamryn Tupling, Brooklyn Laughery, Alexa Jones, and Peyton Benavides, as well as the three statisticians Robbie Patterson, Elijah Talbot, and Elise Steinhoff.

Team awards were also handed out: The Most Valuable player went to Seney, the Defensive player was Boggs, the Most Improved was Dobbs, the Most Inspirational went to Culley. The Coach's award went to Miller, the Free Throw Award went to Seney. The Captain's pins went to Seney, Culley, and Boggs. Coach Culley also announced that Seney was named to the EWAC 2B first team while Benavides and Mackenna Culley were named to the second team.

D-W's boys head basketball coach Roy Ramirez was ill, so Assistant Coaches Josh Wilson and Terry Bartlett took presented the boys awards.

Varsity certificates were given to seniors Joe White, Seamus House, and Tayven Seney. Also honored were Colton VanBlaricom, Benny Bryan, Sean Evans, Mason Finney, Monte Pettichord, Wyatt Costello, Dylan Bledsoe, and Keon Lindley.

The team awards were also handed out; Most Improved went to Pettichord, the Mr. Defense award went to White, the Most Valuable Team Mate was Finney, who also earned Southeast 2B second team all-league. The Captain awards went to Seney and White, while House garnered the Coach's Award.

As a part of the ceremonies, student-athletes were also awarded certificates if they earned a grade point average of 3.25 or higher. For Waitsburg, the following were awarded scholar athlete certificates: Grace Coulston, Hanneh Tiner, Teagan Larsen, Shawn Evans, Colton VanBlaricom, Megan Forney, and Monte Pettichord.

For Dayton: Cecelia Acevedo, Alicia Apodaca, Claudia Benavides, Mohala Bramer, Benny Bryan, Mackenna Culley, McKenzie Dobbs, Milena Gemmell, Sage Kilts, Cassidy Laughery, Jesse Mings, Joseph Patterson, Sadie Seney, Trista Villaro, Josiah White, Kira Boggs, and Tayven Seney.

The parents put together an amazing and delicious meal of pulled pork and sides of slaw, beans, and potato salad. Each coach and presenter thanked the parents for their involvement and support for the athletic programs and for raising quality kids.


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