BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — The winter sports season at Maumee High School came to an official end last week, with the athletic department and individual teams hosting their awards banquet.
The evening began with all athletes from the winter sports – boys and girls basketball, bowling, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling – in the school’s Performing Arts Center. Afterward, the sports split into their individual teams.
During the all-sports part of the night, Panthers athletic director Matt Szyndler named the Northern Lakes League and district award winners from each team.
He also honored the state tournament participants from the winter – senior Eric Board, who finished seventh in the 3200-meter run at the indoor meet; the cheerleading team, which finished fourth in traditional and sixth in team building at state; and the dance team, which placed 13th in hip hop and 14th in pom.
Szyndler also noted some numbers from the 2022-23 winter sports season. Of 740 students enrolled at Maumee High School, 21 percent play a sport (154), with 31 percent of freshmen and 23 percent of juniors participating.
Panthers athletes also stood out in the classroom. Of the 125 underclassmen participating in sports, 47 percent (59) have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. In the junior class, 57 percent of the athletes met that requirement.
The Panthers honored three third-year varsity award winners in senior Cole Graetz and juniors Jaden Walker and Jayvon Hutchinson. Seniors Aaron Roberts and R.J. McCoy, along with juniors Michael Dembski, Kyle Arndt and Caden Brown were second-year varsity players. Senior Reo Clemons, junior Logan Nye and sophomore Jackson Kain were first-year varsity players.
Graetz was selected as the team’s MVP. He was also named Northern Lakes League All-Academic, third-team All-NLL and second team All-District.
“He led our team with energy and perseverance,” Osier said. “He averaged more than 10 points per game for two straight years. He played against the best NLL post players and players in general. Probably the most instinctive player I have ever coached.”
McCoy was chosen as the program’s Most Improved Player as well as honorable mention All-District. Osier said McCoy wasn’t just the most improved player from last year to this but also the most improved player throughout this season.
“He and I talked a lot about his game and things he needed to do to get better. We broke some film and stats down to help him to be better and he did it,” Osier said.
Arndt was honored with the Mr. Maumee award.
“He just represents everything you want in an athlete,” Osier said. “He loves competing in sports, he trains and lifts weights all the time. He’s a great student, great at helping others.”
Five seniors on the girls team were honored as third-year varsity players: Sydney King, Peyton Phillips, Jessica Roper, Taylor Westrick and Lynkin Williams.
Seniors Skyelar Warncke and Kayla Freeman and junior Evelynn Schneider were second-year varsity letter winners, while juniors Beverly O’Neill and Autumn Miller, sophomores Hannah Binkowski and Sky Janes, and freshman Lucy Porter were all first-year varsity letter winners.
Westrick won the TEAM award, along with district honorable mention. She also won an Academic Achievement award and was named NLL All-Academic.
“When you think of somebody that just embodies everything you want in a teammate, that’s Taylor Westrick,” said Maumee girls basketball coach Rafael Soler. “She worked really, really hard. We put her on the best offensive player every single game. She deserves every single recognition she got this year.”
Schneider, a post player who overcame a broken toe midway through the season, won the Coach’s Award.
“She worked as hard as she possibly could,” Soler said. “She really took to heart the communication aspect of basketball. Our zone ran so well when she was in the middle directing everybody.
Not only that, but she was someone who could talk to other players about what they’re supposed to be doing. We’re looking for a coach on the floor, and Evelynn always strived to do that.”
Porter made second-team NLL, Roper was on the third team and they were both named to the district second team. Binkowski joined Westrick on the honorable mention list.
“It shows some of the respect we’re getting from the other NLL opponents,” Soler said. “It’s a really big deal. There are only six people who make it on each team, so that’s a really exclusive group with all the talent we have in the NLL.
“It means a lot. It means we’re moving in the right direction.”
Academic Achievement awards went to King, Phillips, Warncke, Westrick and Williams, and NLL Academic honors went to King, Phillips, Roper, Warncke, Westrick and Williams.
Panthers gymnasts Cassie Durham and Courtney Crawford both made second-team NLL. Durham also received academic honors from the league and district along with a four-year recognition from the district, and Kylie Gerken won the district sportsmanship award.
Michael Iwinski was named to the NLL bowling second team, while teammate Andrew Bick earned third-team honors. Earning academic honors from the league were Zane Deitering, Ashton Heckman, Hyeongu Hwang, Alex Leasor and Gavin Yu.
Wrestler Tommy Gast and swimmer Maddy Simpkins were both recognized for advancing to their respective Division II district tournaments.
Also earning academic awards from the NLL were cheerleaders Durham, Isabella DiMauro, Jolie Sobb and Josie Vargo; dance team members Anna Simakova and Lily Tolbert; and wrestler Austin Gast.