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Prairie honors its spring athletes

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BOYS GOLF: Clinton Prairie boys golf team members receiving team awards during Tuesday’s spring sports banquet included, from left, Wes Whitlock (most improved), Grant McGraw (most valuable) and Evan Huelskamp (mental attitude).
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BASEBALL: Clinton Prairie baseball players receiving team awards during Tuesday’s spring sports banquet at the school included, from left, Luke Longenecker (mental attitude) and Mason McGraw (most valuable). Not pictured is Austin Gibson (mental attitude).
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SOFTBALL: Mikayla Hufford was voted most valuable teammate for softball in voting by Clinton Prairie softball players, receiving her award at the school’s spring sports banquet on Tuesday. Not pictured is Victoria Florence (most improved).
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TRACK AND FIELD: Clinton Prairie track and field athletes receiving team or conference awards at the school’s spring sports banquet on Tuesday included, front from left, Melody Tolley (most valuable-most points, girls) and Shelby Myers (mental attitude, girls); and, back, Logan Barrett (mental attitude, boys), Coltyn Vandegriff (most valuable-most points, boys) and Thomas Schilling (Hoosier Heartland Conference Sportsmanship Award). Not pictured is Emma Parcell (most improved, girls) and Justin Elliot (most improved, boys).

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Clinton Prairie honored its 115 student-athletes who participated in baseball, boys golf, softball and boys and girls track and field during its annual spring sports banquet in the school’s auditorium on Tuesday evening.

“It’s not easy being an athlete in a spring sport,” Prairie athletic director Brian Eaton said. “I know this is kind of a basketball community, but you’ve got to remember I’m a baseball guy so I’m going to kind of throw baskeball under the bus a little bit.

“Basketball is easy. You play indoors … temperatures are controlled and you don’t have to worry about weather too much. I know there’s cancellations. Baseball, softball, track – you don’t know what it’s going to be like. You have to be prepared for an indoor practice, an outdoor practice, maybe schedule for an away game and suddenly it’s at home or a home game and suddenly it’s away.

“It’s a crazy season and you’re gone a lot of nights and you’re still keeping up on your homework and everything like that,” he added, “and going along with that is your parents.”

Some of the highlights for Prairie spring sports noted by the coaches during their portions of the program included the girls track team winning their third straight Hoosier Heartland Conference championship and boys baseball sharing the HHC title and getting 20 wins for the first time since 1993. Grant McGraw won the HHC tournament in golf and just missed qualifying for regional in the state tournament falling one shot from doing so at sectional.

Coltyn Vadegriff was recogized as an academic all-state honoree in track, with Alyssa Lukasik noted for winning her third straight sectional championship in high jump and qualifying for state in that event.

HHC Sportsmanship Award honorees for the school were Layne Snyder (softball) and Thomas Schilling (track). Bobby Smith Award winners were Tatum Neal (track) and Mason McGraw (baseball), with Neal and Caiden Maish (track) recognized as Journal & Courier (Lafayette) scholar-athlete nominees.

Athletes recognized for being elected all-Hoosier Heartland Conference included Jared Ray, Kaleb Peters, Landon Southern, Mason McGraw and Zach Skinner in baseball with Austin Gibson and Jacob Perkins receiving honorable mention all-conference; and Molly Thomas, Cam Cornell and Shalynn Barnett in softball with Layne Snyder and Katelyn Ramsey honorable mention. All conference for golf and track were decided based on an athlete’s finish at the conference meet, with Grant McGraw in golf and Adri Isaacs, Emily McGirt, Kylee Maish, Alyssa Lukasik and Melody Tolley receiving that distinction.

Academic all-conference honorees included Layne Snyder and Katelyn Ramsey in softball and Bryce Padgett, Thomas Schilling, Nicole Burke and Sarah Schoonveld in track.

The softball team met the five categories for a Prairie Pride Award, which entails placing in the top three in the conference, having no ejectments of any participant (coach, player or fan) during the season, performing one community service project, having a camp or other activity to promote the program and carrying a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher for varsity letter winners.

The softball team finished second in the conference and carried a 3.41 GPA as a team. Each spring sport team at Prairie was over 3.0 (girls track – 3.64, baseball – 3.26, boys golf – 3.22 and boys track – 3.21), with most teams missing the award due to not having a camp or clinic.

Team awards went to Mason McGraw (most valuable), Austin Gibson (most improved) and Luke Longenecker (mental attitude) in baseball; Grant McGraw (most valuable), Wes Whitlock (most improved) and Evan Huelskamp (mental attitude) in boys golf; Mikayla Hufford (most valuable teammate) and Victoria Florence (most improved) in softball; Coltyn Vandegriff (most valuable), Justin Elliot (most improved) and Logan Barrett (mental attitude) in boys track; and Melody Tolley (most valuable), Emma Parcell (most improved) and Shelby Myers (mental attitude) in girls track.

Those receiving awards for letters during the evening included:

First-time letter winners – Donovan Barrett, Austin Beck, Thomas Comerford, Steven McLellan, Emma Parcell and Kate Mattingly for track; Mikayla Hufford, Heaven Watt, Maddie Cornell, Joei Fullerton, Tatum Nash, Maya Rominger and Rachel Cook for softball; Luke Longenecker and Alyssa Eitnier for baseball; and Brennan Butler for golf.

Six-letter plaque winners – Logan Barrett, Emily McGirt, Sarah Schoonveld, Melody Tolley and Mason McGraw.

Nine-letter blanket winners – Tatum Neal, Mallory Robertson and Nicole Burke.