School honors senior athletes with video in lieu of a live ceremony
Male and female Viking Awards announced, two all-state athletes recognized during online version of annual awards night
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling High School athletic department, instead of hosting a physical ceremony, honored its Class of 2020 student athletes with a video released on YouTube on Thursday night.
Due to current restrictions on gatherings in the state of Michigan because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the school’s athletic department opted to replace the usual Senior-Athlete Awards Night with an online version.
“While we would all like to be able to gather together and honor our senior athletes as we have done in the past, due to circumstances outside of our control we are doing things a little differently this year,” said Nate Maury, Grayling High School Athletic Director, during the beginning of the video. “I hope this video finds you well and still allows us a chance to honor our 41 senior athletes for everything that they have done for our school and community the past four years.”
The online version of the ceremony stayed close to the format of previous senior award nights. Maury said a few words about each of the 41 senior athletes as provided by their varsity coaches.
Then, the video recognized the Class of 2020’s two all-state athletes: Eli Jackson (football) and Max Halstead (wrestling).
“These two athletes have excelled in their respective sports and their contributions will be greatly missed,” Maury said.
Jackson earned all-state honorable mentions from the Associated Press, the Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press. He was named Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends Division co-defensive MVP in 2019. Jackson had 83 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery during his senior season. He was also named the Defensive MVP for the Vikings in 2019. Jackson signed a letter of intent to play football at Alma College next year.
“He was fun to coach, he was a great communicator, he set a great example, was an incredible student, mentor, and genuinely cared about his teammates and Grayling High School,” said Eric Tunney, Grayling High School’s varsity football coach, during the video.
Halstead earned all-state recognition three times by earning three medals at the state finals: 6th in 2017, 2nd in 2018, and 4th in 2019. He won four individual titles in the Lake Michigan Conference and he qualified for regionals in all four seasons of his career. He finished with a career record of 133-25.
“Max was a beast on the wrestling mat. He’s a prime time player. He went onto that wrestling mat in big matches and you got the very best every time he wrestled,” said Andy Moore, Grayling High School’s varsity wrestling coach, during the video.
Maury then highlighted 16 seniors who earned Distinguished Athlete Awards. The honorees qualified for the award by earning at least six varsity letters at Grayling High School, with at least one coming during the 2019-2020 school year.
Distinguished Athlete Award recipients, listed with their number of total varsity letters, were: Caden Arredondo, 7; Nick Bluemlein, 10; CeCe Cvitkovich, 10; Gage Davis, 8; Parker Dole, 8; Isabel Duba, 6; Pali Feri, 7; Nick Green, 8; Max Halstead, 9; Eli Jackson, 11; Mason Manning, 6; Alainna Moffit, 9; Zack Osga, 9; Sarah Rakoczy, 8; Garrett Reilly, 6; Joslynn Rennie, 6.
As usual, the ceremony ended with the presentation of the Viking Awards.
“This award is voted on by our varsity coaches and goes to Grayling’s top male and female athletes,” Maury said. “These two athletes have not only excelled in their respective sports but have represented Grayling athletics throughout their careers, exhibiting leadership, sportsmanship, positive attitudes, and the desire to improve themselves and those around them.”
The Class of 2020’s Viking Award winners were Alainna Moffit and Eli Jackson.
According to the video, Moffit earned nine varsity letters and earned five all-league selections in the Lake Michigan Conference. She competed in track and volleyball. Moffit was a state qualifier in track and she set the school record in the 400 meter run. Moffit has signed a letter of intent to compete in track and field at Michigan Tech next year.
Jackson earned a total of 11 varsity letters, playing in three sports (football, basketball, and track). He earned five all-league berths in the Lake Michigan Conference. In track, he owns the school record for the shot put.
Maury finished the video with a message to the seniors.
“I know this is not how you expected to end your senior year but this will only make you stronger individuals and I know you will do great things in life. Your impact left on this school will be everlasting. I wish you nothing but the best of luck as you go forward in your respective careers,” Maury said.
A link to the 2019-2020 Senior-Athlete Awards Night video on YouTube is available at Grayling High School’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/graylinghighschool/
The direct link to the Senior-Athlete Awards Night video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFjE4F5AoYM&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR...