During Seaside High School’s Sports Awards Night, as Athletic Director Aaron Tanabe announced the names of student-athletes who maintained a 4.0 GPA at least one term during the 2018-19 school year, the large stage at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center swarmed with students being recognized.
The dozens of students who were able to keep a 4.0 GPA while also participating in sports was “a testament to the kids” and their dedication to academics and attitude, as well as athletics, Tanabe said.
“The first thing college coaches ask you is, ‘hey, what are these kids’ grades?’, because they don’t want to waste their time on someone who doesn’t qualify and can’t pass the clearing house,” he added.
The Sports Awards Night, held June 3, is an annual tradition that recognizes student-athletes for a variety of accomplishments in front of their friends, family, and community.
Qualifying for State
To kick off the night, Tanade acknowledged all the athletic programs and clubs with students that qualified for their respective Oregon School Activities Association state competition, either individually or as teams.
“Making the OSAA bracket is huge for building a program,” Tanabe said. “Any time you make it that far, the kids should be recognized.”
The programs that qualified for state included:
• Boys soccer, which had a quarterfinals appearance;
• Football, which was runner-up in the 4A division;
• Swimming, which participated in the 200-freestyle and four-person relay at state;
• Wrestling, which had a student take fifth place and another who was a quarterfinalist in their divisions;
• Girls basketball, which had a first-round appearance at state;
• Boys basketball, which had a 24-4 record and was runner-up in the 4A division;
• Choir, which placed sixth at state;
• Band, which placed fifth at state;
• Baseball, which qualified for state for the first time since 2010;
• Girls golf, which placed ninth at state;
• Boys golf, which was runner-up in the 4A division;
• Track and field, which had five students qualify for state in several events and placed in a few.
Students also were recognized for their individual accomplishments within their program, such as being named to first- or second-team all-state or league MVP, among others.
Balancing academics and sports
Additionally, Tanabe acknowledged the academic all-league athletes. To qualify, students must have a 3.5 or above in the term preceding their sport. The students were split into three different categories according to GPA: 3.5 to 3.74; 3.75 to 3.99; and 4.0.
“Being a student athlete is not an easy thing,” Tanabe said. “It’s really impressive.”
Baseball coach Dan McFadden echoed that sentiment.
“This night is just quite a tribute to how hard these kids work,” he said. “I was actually quite surprised when I got the list of how many of them had GPAs above 3.5, with all the traveling and everything.”
Student athletes also received certificates for playing three different sports throughout the school year.
“When you’re playing 4A sports, you need multi-sport athletes,” Tanabe said. “Without multi-sport athletes, you’re going to have certain programs that die, certain programs that aren’t successful. To have kids that play three sports really does a service to the community.”
Finally, seniors were recognized for playing three sports for four years, or being involved in an athletic program each term of their entire high school career. The six graduating seniors with that accomplishment were Anna Hudleston, Dylan Meyer, Samson Sibony, Duncan Thompson, Payton Westerholm, and Katie Zagata.
“These kids are a huge part of why athletic programs in high school are sustainable,” Tanabe said. “These kids are selfless. … They enjoy the sport and they really do it for the community.”
In general, he said, for a town of Seaside’s size, high school sports are especially important for fostering community spirit and morale, as those who attended the football or boys basketball championship games can attest to.
“It galvanizes the community and gets them excited about sports,” he said. “Everybody’s proud because they’re wearing ‘Seaside’ across their chest and they’re representing the community.”