Grangeville High School’s Morgan VanderEsch, Orofino’s DJ Wright, Moscow track coach Dean Walker and the 2008 Clarkston High School boys’ tennis team were all big winners at the second annual Warrior Athletic Association High School Awards Dinner, which took place at the Lewis-Clark State College Activity Center on Wednesday night.
The dinner, which honored high school athletes, teams and coaches for the 2007-08 academic year, was sponsored by the WAA and the Lewis-Clark State College athletic department. Approximately 250 attended the dinner.
A total of 21 high schools from southeastern Washington and north central Idaho took part in the event and each of the participating schools honored Male Athlete, Female Athlete, Team and Coach of the Year winners. From those winners, three finalists were selected in each category to determine an overall winner.
VanderEsch led the Grangeville girls’ basketball team to the
VanderEsch was a three-sport standout for the Bulldogs and also helped Grangeville to third place in the
The other finalists for the award were last year’s winner Ellen Rouse of Orofino, and Cory Druffel of
Wright was a three-sport standout at Orofino where he was named the Central Idaho League’s Player of the Year in football as well as a first-team all-league selection at both quarterback and safety. He helped the Maniacs qualify for the semifinals in the state playoffs.
In basketball, Wright averaged more than 20 points during the season, and then upped his averages to 25 points and 10 rebounds a game at the state tournament. He topped his year by helping Orofino capture the state 2A title in baseball. He was the winning pitcher in the championship game and also was named the tournament MVP.
The Clarkston boy’s tennis team captured its second Washington State Class 2A championship last spring and excelled off the court as well by winning the 2A academic state title for boys’ tennis with a team cumulative grade point average of 2.70. The Bantams went 12-0 in dual matches on the season in capturing both the Frontier League and district championships.
Also new this year, was a Meritorious Award to honor an individual who had made a difference in athletics at the school. The winner of the inaugural award was longtime
Officials from each participating school chose the winners from their school, while a panel of media and sports enthusiasts, not associated with the high schools or the WAA, was then assembled to choose the finalists and the overall winners. School officials were asked to pass along their selection criteria for their award winners so it could be used to help select the four finalists in each category. If a school failed to provide selection criteria, then athletic performance was used as a determining factor.
Major sponsors of the event include Tyler-Kelly Trademark Motors Subaru, Pepsi, and Lewiston Orthopaedic Associates.