North Kitsap, Kingston high athletes recognized at awards banquets

This year’s NKHS Joe Schandera Award nominees: Talitha Aban, Kelly Cates, Amy Cox, Jordan Jewett, Britt Seaberg, Stephanie Skelly, Julie Rencher, Ashley Tobin, Matt Cordell, TJ French, Jon Luc Klinker, Ray Reedy, Tyler Seth and Jared Wartman.  - Courtesy photo
This year’s NKHS Joe Schandera Award nominees: Talitha Aban, Kelly Cates, Amy Cox, Jordan Jewett, Britt Seaberg, Stephanie Skelly, Julie Rencher, Ashley Tobin, Matt Cordell, TJ French, Jon Luc Klinker, Ray Reedy, Tyler Seth and Jared Wartman.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

NORTH END — Student-athletes at both North Kitsap and Kingston high schools received nods of recognition this week. Fueled by the opening of Kingston, 38 sports teams competed, excelled and entertained local residents throughout the year.

And as a way to recognize the student-athletes for their efforts and presence throughout the North End, two awards banquets were held last week.

On Wednesday in the KHS commons, after a hamburger feed, Buccaneer spring sports standout athletes were honored. On Thursday at the Christ Memorial Church Fellowship Hall, fall, winter and spring sports student-athletes were recognized during the third annual NK Athletic Boosters sports awards banquet.

Both evenings proved to honor sportsmanship at its finest.


More than 250 fans, parents, KHS staff and coaches arrived to recognize 220 spring sports Buccaneers.

“I’m very proud of all of our kids and coaches, that goes without saying,” said KHS Athletic Director Dan Novick the morning after the ceremonies. “I’ve received a lot of compliments about our kids and coaches and it feels good every time I hear something.”

A few highlights of the evening, Novick said, were honoring state champion 1600-meter runner Ruby Roberts, boys and girls soccer coach Craig Smith as KHS coach of the year and two athletes of the year — Roberts and Jack Clearman.

Roberts and Clearman were selected for their posts because they’re multiple sports competitors and top-notch performers in the classroom. Clearman’s grade point average is greater than 3.7 and Roberts’ is higher than 3.9.

“It’s a great honor,” Novick said. “Both are great citizens, leaders and kids.”

Smith was recognized because he coached both the boys and girls soccer teams, which Novick said is “difficult in itself,” and the boys soccer team led the spring sports state competition charge, as it advanced to the quarterfinals.

“He just does a real nice job with kids overall,” Novick said.

Roberts, Clearman and Smith will compete against every other Kitsap County school athlete and coach of the year at the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable’s Kitsap County sports banquet, June 28 at the Pavilion at the Kitsap County Fairground.

A less sports and more sentimental moment also marked KHS’ first, and hopefully annual, spring sports banquet.

Although he is physically unable to play ball, baseball manager Brock McCulloch was honored by the team as “Most Inspirational.”

“It was neat to see high school kids recognize a kid who didn’t play any baseball,” Novick said.

While Wednesday’s event was solely to honor spring athletes, KHS had a wildly successful kickoff to its first-year athletic programs, as several teams made it to state, including the fall teams of cross country and boys tennis and winter’s wrestling and girls basketball. In addition, the spring baseball, track and field, girls tennis and boys golf also competed at the state level.


For NKHS an old tradition — revamped — thrived.

Marcy Salo, NKHS PTSA president and NK Athletic Booster vice president, said 10-15 years ago the high school used to host a huge end of the year sports banquet and auction. But as the way of volunteerism goes the event got so big it became unmanageable and stopped. However, three years ago the present PTSA and booster members breathed new life into the celebratory banquet.

“We wanted an opportunity to acknowledge the real elite performers of all the sports,” Salo said. “We wanted a feel-good event.”

And feel-good is what the more than 200 in attendance got last Thursday evening.

Each coach of the high school’s 20 sports teams had their turn at the podium to recap the season’s highlights and honor their athletes.

Salo said three athletes — those who competed at the league, district or state level, were named to all-league teams or received the coaches award of MVP — from each team were recognized. She also said if more than three athletes were deserving a moment in the spotlight, that was OK, as the event organizers are flexible and don’t want to turn anybody away.

“To listen to every coach talk about all the kids and the highlights of their programs is just a really nice way to wrap up the year,” Salo said. “And this is why we need to keep sports. It’s for the kids. It’s fabulous.”

The evening also allotted the boosters a chance to give scholarships.

Salo said in the past the boosters usually give out five $500 scholarships, but in the last few years they’ve had extra to go around, and they like to give scholarships to every student who applies.

“We have a hard time saying no when the kids go to all the work and fill out an application,” Salo said. “It’s painful for us to say no so we try to make it work.”

This year it worked as the boosters gave out 10 scholarships, five for $500 and five for $250.

This year also marked the giving of the 39th Joe Schandera award, which is a difficult one to earn. The standards for the athletes are high, both on the field and in the classroom, as the award’s criteria includes dedication to excellence in athletics, good academic standing, sportsmanship, responsibility, loyalty, leadership by example, participation in a variety of sports and admiration by opponents as well as teammates.

“It’s a long tradition at NK,” Salo said. “It’s really reserved for the best and the brightest at the athletic level. It’s about sportsmanship and ability beyond athletics.”

Ashley Tobin and Seth Green are the 2008 Joe Schandera award winners.

Boy’s golf coach Tom Harney was recognized as coach of the year.

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