Dedication and commitment
Wed, 05/24/2023 - 9:57am caleb
Grayling High School celebrates athletic accomplishments of the Class of 2023 with 25th Annual Senior Student-Athlete Honors Night on Thursday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School celebrated the sports accomplishments of its Class of 2023 during the 25th Annual Senior Student-Athlete Honors Night on Thursday, May 18, at the school’s Joseph Stripe Auditorium.
“Our seniors have shown incredible dedication and commitment to Grayling throughout their time here. They have succeeded, failed, and – most importantly – grown as a result of their participation in sports,” said Grayling High School Athletic Director Scott Baker. “Through their own determination and will, the student-athletes here tonight have set themselves up for success, but the road that they have traveled has included many helping hands along the way. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the families, coaches, and teachers whose investment in our students are paying dividends now, and will surely continue to for years to come.”
The 35 senior student-athletes received plaques during the early part of the Honors Night.
Then, the event honored the two all-state athletes for the Class of 2023: Kynadi Dole (volleyball) and Nelle Olson (skiing).
Tim Zigila, varsity volleyball coach, said Dole was “varsity ready as a freshman” and “continued to grow in her skill set and her mindset” and achieved her goal of signing to play college volleyball.
Coach Zigila said Dole had 800-plus kills and 100-plus blocks during her four years at GHS.
Dole – according to the Senior Student-Athlete Honors Night slide show – was a three-time Division 3 all-state honorable mention and she was named to the 2021 and 2022 Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association all-region 1st team and the 2021 and 2022 Lake Michigan Conference all-league 1st team,
Zigila said it is difficult to be recognized for volleyball in northern Michigan and he’s glad to have another representative from the program going up on the school’s all-state plaque display.
“I couldn’t be prouder to finally have another girl on the wall,” Coach Zigila said.
Brad Wagner, varsity ski coach, said Olson was “one of the most successful skiers” for the Vikings in recent memory.
Coach Wagner spoke about the “tremendous amount of work” that Olson put into skiing, getting up early on winter weekends to train, and her ability to learn from mistakes. Coach Wagner said Olson had both “talent” and “willingness to do the work.”
“That’s what makes her awesome,” Coach Wagner said. “She’s shown us what it means to be a leader and be successful.”
According to the event’s slide show presentation, Olson was named to the 2023 Michigan High School Ski Coaches Association all-state 2nd team, Lake Michigan Conference all-league honorable mention for 2021 through 2023 in slalom and giant slalom, and the 2023 Traverse City Record Eagle All-Region Dream Team 2nd Team.
The Vikings did not have any MHSAA Scholar Athlete scholarship winners for 2023, but Grayling High School did recognize its three nominees on Thursday night: Dole, Lauren Hartman, and Samantha Hoesli.
The Senior Honors Night then awarded T-shirts to 28 seniors who achieved scholar-athlete status (3.0 GPA or higher): Paige Barkway, Naomi Barnett, Rafael Caliento Seixas, Bryson Cobb, Logan Cobb, Alexia D’Amour, Dole, Faith Gantner, Jacob Hartman, L. Hartman, Gabrielle Helinski, Hoesli, Alyssa Hopkins, Emily Kanary, Cole Marsh, Jessalynn Menard, Parker Metcalfe, Olson, Francesco Politi, Sophie Rakoczy, Alice Saleri, Connor Schenk, Kaycie Smith, Paul Snyder, Tucker Strohaver, Owen Triebold, Alexia Trudeau, Madelynn Williams.
The event recognized 10 seniors who earned Distinguished Athlete awards (six or more varsity letters, at least one of them during their senior season): Barkway, Marcus Chard, B. Cobb, L. Cobb, D’Amour, Cole Dickie, Hartman, Marsh, Strohaver, Williams.
The 25th Annual Senior Student-Athlete Honors Night ended with the announcement of the Viking Award presentations.
The Class of 2023 Viking Award winners, as voted by the school’s varsity coaches, were Cole Dickie and Alexia D’Amour.
D’Amour earned seven varsity letters as a three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball, softball) for the Vikings. Baker, during Thursday’s presentation, said D’Amour has been a “dominant force” and “team captain” and known for her “passion, tenacity, and drive.”
Dickie also played three sports – football, wrestling, and baseball – and he earned eight varsity letters. Baker said Dickie has been known for being “humble” and “well-liked by teammates” and for his willingness to “help younger teammates.”