The spring All Area team normally means a lot of local athletes will be making their final high school appearances in the Times Herald. However, this year may be a little different as we have a number of underclassmen as well as players of the year. I think you will be seeing a lot of these names again.
First, I took a little different take on tennis. I named the entire top seven Lady Hatchets as the co-Players of the Year. Although they were sectional champions a year ago, the team had not previously won a sectional for three decades. This year they not only repeated the sectional win, they made it all the way to state. That kind of accomplishment can not be directed to just one or two players, it requires a team effort. So, to recognize that accomplishment, we are naming Ali Barber, Alaina Thorne, Kencia Levasseur, the doubles teams of Kenli Barber and Bella Thorne, and Sophia Davis and Quincee Healy as co-players of the year. As a group, they lost just two matches all year, and the scary thing is they all come back next year.
Other solid performers included Moriah Bullock of Barr-Reeve and Melina Tippery of Loogootee, both of whom were outstanding No. 1 players, along with the Viking doubles team of Kaidee Claridge and Kaitlyn Mincey.
In softball, North-South representative and Loogootee senior Tyanna Graber takes the honor for the fourth straight season. Her remarkable career ended with 199 RBIs and near the top of the state’s home run leaders. She also batted over .600 for her career and will be going to Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill.
She is the only four-time winner of Times Herald Player of the Year in her sport and was also the player of the year in basketball as well.
Hannah Graber from Barr-Reeve, along with Lindsay Moody of Washington and Cassie Knepp of North Daviess all were impact players for their respective softball teams, along with just about everyone else from top to bottom in the Loogootee lineup. This year’s lineup not only featured great pitching from Isbelle Waggner and Syd Davis, but a lineup that featured Adie Nolley who actually had more home runs than Graber.
In baseball, senior Gabe Gladish of Barr-Reeve was named as the Player of the Year in baseball and helped lead his team to a sectional title. Gladish had solid offensive numbers with a .329 average and 17 RBIs, along with stellar numbers on the mound. He was 7-3 with a miniscule 1.37 ERA with eight complete games and 49 strikeouts. Gladish was also a member of the state runner up Viking basketball team.
Other worthy candidates included his teammates Austin Ainscough and Quentin Yoder, along with Hatchets Trey Reed and Seth Holtsclaw, both of who just finished up their sophomore years. At North Daviess, Shom Berry also finished up a solid career and will be moving on to play at Brecia University in western Kentucky.
Washington sophomore Zach Gray looks like he will be one of the top golfers for quite a while. Gray was sectional champion with a 72 at Vincennes and helped push WHS to a second place finish at sectional and a first team appearance at regional since 2016. He led WHS in stroke average and has a swing that looks like it could support a lot of future success. Gray is also a tennis and basketball player. Also in the running was Brock Craney who will be playing golf at Vincennes University next season, Max Christmas of Loogootee and freshman Sam Emmons, who also looks like he will be a very good player next season.
The two top track athletes were Jena Roach and Isaac Gray, both of Washington and both underclassmen.
Gray was part of a successful 3200 relay team as well as has a regional berth in the regional in the 1600. Gray also teamed with his twin brother Garrett, Jacob Davis and Elias Becerra as WHS sent a 3200 team to regional for the third year.
Roach was a sectional winner and finished fourth at regional. She was a multi-event athlete and again will be returning to anchor next year’s Lady Hatchets. Her teammate Kendra Roe was also an excellent candidate for the top honor.
The Barr-Reeve girls team finished second at sectional and posted strong finishes across the board. Loogootee’s Kelea Fleming also went deep into the tournament. It should also be noted that Hannah Graber of Barr-Reeve earned all-area honors in two sports this spring, track and softball.
The B-R boys also showed their power in distance events, foreshadowing their dominance in the fall in cross country.