Football and Volleyball Dominate First-Ever ‘Hawkspy’ Awards | Sports
Great Crossing High School wasted no time in filling its showcase with trophies, sending athletes to the next level of competition and building its brand in sport and education.
The Warhawks took another colorful and glitzy step in that journey on Sunday night, punctuating their third year of competition and kicking off graduation week with a red carpet event known as the Hawkspy Awards.
Modeled after ESPN’s annual celebration of the same name, the Hawkspys honored male and female Warhawk athletes in seven different categories for team and individual success throughout the 2021-22 school year.
Football and volleyball stole the show during the 55-minute ceremony, played against a backdrop of big screens, lights, smoke and familiar rock anthems in front of a packed auditorium.
Kalib Perry, a multi-sport star signed with University of Tennessee football, and Ryann Thomas, co-star of a senior-dominated volleyball team inked to play at the University of Tulsa, were named athletes of the year.
Each of their teams received Team of the Year honors, while respective coaches, Ricky Bowling (football) and Adam Ivetic (volleyball), were also recognized as the best in the school.
Both programs also won the Game of the Year award. A memorable Zackarrey Kelley touchdown, which deservedly ended up on ESPN as the No. 1 play in his esteemed Top 10 that night, was the highlight for the boys. The volleyball winning point of the 11th Regoin tournament and the role of the student section “The Kettle” in making it happen were celebrated on the girls’ side.
Other winners were Aiden Bryan (men’s soccer) and Shelby Smith (women’s soccer) as performances of the year, Alexander Elam (bowling) and Ashtyn Holbrook (softball) as rookies of the year, and Caleb Morrison ( baseball) and Makiyah Justice. (volleyball) with sportsmanship awards.
Football has exploded from humble beginnings with no weight room, no training ground and few seniors in the scheduled starting line-up on the opening day of its inaugural 2019 season.
GC went 1-10 with a road win at Grant County that fall, progressed to three wins in a COVID-shortened 2020 and went 8-3 in 21, with two tight losses to rival Scott County on its big Book.
The Warhawks grid faced a heavy field in the team of the year category. Wrestling finished second in the regions and fourth in the semi-state, qualifying eight competitors for the final round of the KHSAA State Tournament. Men’s basketball won the 41st District title for the first time in a 27-win season, reaching the semifinals in the 11th District. Baseball repeated as 41st District champions, while Golf qualified for the Coaches Association All-State Tournament and finished fourth in regions.
Perry, a two-time all-state selection, graduated as a GC career leader in rushing and receiving yards, receiving distance, total touchdowns and tackles. He was a full-time starter for the basketball team as a junior before retiring to focus on football, and he holds numerous individual and relay records for athletics.
His co-finalists for the award were football and baseball player Peyton Harris, freshman basketball sensations Vince Dawson III and Malachi Moreno, and men’s football leading scorer Preston Welch.
Thomas, the all-time kills and aces leader for Warhawk volleyball, earned All-American All-American laurels and honorable mention to go along with the GC district and region titles.
She topped a large field of candidates that included football goaltender Smith, 1,000-point basketball scorer Timmi Williams, softball leadoff hitter Delani Sullivan, softball and football star Layne Ogle, Aby Christopher and Caitlin Craig from cheerleading, and Kamryn Wells from the dance team.
Bowling, who took over as head football coach two years ago, guided a roster that recently saw its 10th different senior commit to a college program for the 2022-23 campaign. The other finalists were Sam Murdock (wrestling) and Steve Page (basketball).
The Ivetic volleyball team began their playoff run by winning the 41st District title for the third time and defeated a flurry of teams ranked in the 11th District bracket. Her competition for the honor was Jeff Portwood (softball), Ashley Rickman (dancing) and Becky Brown (cheering).
Bryan’s performance of the year was a memorable hat-trick, including the game-winning goal in overtime, as Great Crossing shocked the state’s then-ranked team, Madison Central, 3- 2 on his home turf in the quarter-finals of the 11th region.
That topped Moreno’s second triple-double of the season, 15 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Oldham County, a no-hitter against Frankfort by baseball’s Jacob Steele, Trent Cano’s run to halfbacks. state wrestling finals, Landon Bergman’s 9-under 62 in a golf tournament at Old Bridge in Danville, Isaiah Johnson’s 38 out of a possible 40 points in the GC Athletics meet and Trenton Pigg’s push to the KHSAA Esports Championship Round.
Smith was celebrated for 19 saves in a game against Henry Clay, edging a hat trick by football teammate Madisyn Dodge, 25 points by Williams in a basketball game against Assumption and 28 points from sprinter Elise Edison in a game against athletics, and a no-hitter softball combo by Ogle and Destiney Reed.
Best Boys rookie Elam was recognized as the first Great Crossing State Champion, won in Unified Bowling. Pigg, football and baseball’s Zach Morris and basketball’s Gage Richardson were runners-up.
Holbrook led RBI’s hard-hitting softball roster from third in the order, giving him the edge over Kennedy Harrison (basketball), Hayden Patton (soccer), Ella Ferris (dancing) and Aubrey Willett (cheering) .
Kelley’s incredible hold on a tight defender in the corner of the end zone put his nose to the basket beating Dawson’s buzzer against Western Hills, Bryan’s playoff-winning strike and the 5-7 split of Elam.
The challengers for women’s game of the year for volleyball were diving catches from Holbrook and Reed in the same innings of a softball game and Brooklyn Couch’s penalty to win the women’s football districts.
Scott County Executive Judge Joe Pat Covington presented a video highlighting the many community service projects GC Athletics has been involved in over the past year.