Once again, it is that time.
With graduation ceremonies looming, summer checklists getting feverish final approval and months of trash being collectively cleaned from lockers across the state, it is clear, the end of the school year is finally upon us.
And once again, there were some incredible performances.
So, following in last year’s footsteps, it is time to honor the area athletes from the schools I cover – Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Gatesville and Lometa.
Don’t be confused; there is no trophy, plaque or certificate that comes along with making this list. It is merely my personal awards ceremony and in no way reflects the views of the Killeen Daily Herald.
Having said that, let’s get going.
BEST SUSPENSE: Lampasas and Gatesville boys basketball — With a trip to the playoffs on the line, the Badgers pulled out a wild 47-45 victory in overtime against the Hornets. After a series of insane situations finally played out, Lampasas ended its 12-year postseason drought.
MOST IMPROVED: Lampasas softball — One year removed from an eight-win season, the Lady Badgers put together their third run to the Class 3A regional semifinals since 2011. With only one senior on the roster, Lampasas used a high-powered offense to climb as high as fourth in the state polls, finishing the season with a 26-10 record.
MOST ENTERTAINING: Qiana Canete, Copperas Cove volleyball — You don’t even have to be a fan of volleyball to have fun watching Canete play. The senior has more explosion than a stick of dynamite, and the Lady Bulldawgs will never be the same without her.
MOST CONSISTENT: Copperas Cove football — Ten consecutive playoff appearances with 15 trips to the postseason in the last 16 years. Enough said.
BEST SEQUEL: Copperas Cove boys basketball — The Bulldawgs easily earn the award after senior Elijah Sobers hit a buzzer-beating, game-winner in the regular-season finale against Shoemaker to clinch a return trip to the playoffs. In 2013, Montre’ Williams hit an eerily similar last-second shot to earn Copperas Cove’s first postseason appearance since 2008.
OUTSTANDING WRITING: Brian Emerson, Lampasas athletic director — In a world consumed with social media, nobody takes better advantage of this outlet than Emerson, filling the school’s athletic accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox with valuable and timely information.
BEST ACTION: Manny Harris, Copperas Cove QB — Serving as the Bulldawgs leading passer and rusher, Harris’ junior campaign was a series of highlight reels. He practically rewrote the entire chapter on passing proficiency in the school’s record book, demolishing previous milestones held by city treasure Robert Griffin III.
BEST DRESSED: Eldridge McAdams, Copperas Cove head girls basketball coach — In his first season with the Lady Bulldawgs, McAdams proved he is a fashion veteran, sporting everything from suits to sweaters as he kept the sidelines stylish.
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Rickey Phillips, Gatesville head volleyball coach — How’s this for a resume? A dozen district championships, eight area-round appearances, six trips to the regional quarterfinals and a pair of runs to the regional semifinals. Needless to say, Phillips is a no-brainer.
MOST VERSATILE COACH: Aaron Nuckles, Lometa — All he did was guide the Hornets basketball team to an undefeated district championship before being unexpectedly appointed head track coach and producing boys district and area team titles.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Lampasas softball freshmen — Take your pick.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS: Tricia Williams, Lometa track —- The senior capped off her high school career by defending her Class 1A, Division II state titles in both the discus and shot put, breaking the conference records in each event while also winning the state powerlifting championship.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR: Shonderius Howard, Lampasas basketball and track — After serving as the top scorer while leading the Badgers to their first playoff appearance since 2001, Howard went on to win the Class 3A state championship in the high jump, helping the track team earn its second district championship in school history along the way.