Posted Date: 05/15/2023
Master of ceremony, Travis Pettus, said “it’s been a pretty good year”. Seconds later, he corrected himself. “No, it’s been a great year.”
Those were among the opening remarks as Mansfield athletes and coaches gathered with Tiger fans at the 2022-2023 Mansfield Booster Club Athletics Awards Show on Tuesday, May 9.
Following those opening remarks, Pettus was assigned the task of reading a review of athletic achievements to all Mansfield sports seasons. The lists of year end accolades were so long that Pettus was joined on stage by MHS alumnus Jordan Martin for the reading of the script. The two alternated announcing snippets of the year along with individual award winners such as All-District, All-State, and Players of the Year.
The presentation of awards concluded with special recognitions for Rising Stars, Continue the Race Scholarship, MAPY awards, and the T. Franklin Boyd winners among a few other highlighted moments.
For all the Tiger teams that competed in the 2A-4 Conference (3A-1 in football) this school year, the list of accomplishments was extensive. The team trophies by themselves included 2 state championships, 1 state runner-up, 4 state playoffs, 2 regional championships, 2 regional runner-ups, 2 final four, 9 district championships, and 4 district runner-ups. Individual accomplishments total 128 separate awards.
What’s perceived to be one of the highest honors among the individual awards was the T. Franklin Boyd Tigers of the Year. This school year the awards went to seniors Natalie Allison and Drew Elmore.
Allison landed multiple awards and state championships along her illustrious playing career. The senior had been recognized as a state MVP, All-District, All-Conference, All-State, and All-Star through her participation in volleyball, basketball, softball, and track.
Elmore garnered many of the same types of awards through an award winning stint in football, basketball, and baseball. This year in particular his play in all three sports stood out as effective and efficient.
The T. Franklin Boyd Tigers of the Year were selected via an extensive rubric. That rubric accumulated points for such things as sports participation, individual honors, and academic success.
A new award added to this year’s ceremony was the MAPY Awards. The Mansfield Athletics Players of the Year were selected based upon a ranking system tabulated by a panel of coaches, faculty, administrators, event volunteers, and booster club representatives.
The presentation of the MAPY was based strictly on athletic appeal, presence, and star power. All high school grade levels across all sports were considered.
This year’s Mansfield Athletics Players of the Year were Alyson Edwards and Daniel Burton.
Edwards, a junior, was a three sport star that picked up state volleyball MVP honors as her team won their third consecutive state titles. She was the state volleyball MVP, and another leading candidate as the pitcher on this week’s state softball finals bound Lady Tigers.
Burton was an electrifying kickoff return man on the football field and a dynamic scorer on the basketball court. The junior showed a level of speed and explosiveness that stood out among league wide competition.
Also new to the athletic awards night was the introduction of the “Continue the Race” Scholarship. This educational endowment in memory of Kevin Mackey and Grayson Reese, respectively the nephew and great-nephew of Mansfield coach John Mackey, was awarded to Madelen Jones.
Jones was selected through an application process, and awarded a monetary sum to be applied to the postsecondary school of her choice.
The three time volleyball state champion described how athletics taught her life lessons, self discipline, and the ability to make hard choices. She described the necessity to balance athletic involvement around priorities such as academics and personal well-being.
Jones started the evening’s awards section with a speech offering her unique insight into Mansfield athletics. She recalled fond memories, recognized talented Tiger teammates, and offered sound advice on how to treat people and how to represent Mansfield in a positive way.
This year’s Rising Stars were Kaylee Ward and Ethan Martin.
The Rising Star awards go to outstanding freshmen that have made significant contributions to their school teams as voted on by the MHS coaching staff.
Ward was selected after fabulous seasons in volleyball, basketball, track, and softball. Having been elevated to the high school level in all of those sports, the freshman phenom was recognized as the River Valley Democrat Gazette Newcomer of the Year in both volleyball and basketball. She earned her way to the class 2A state track meet, and has recently started on the state softball team.
Martin was described as tough, calculating, and motivated. He was a four-sport star that made significant contributions to his junior high football, basketball, and track teams before moving up to the high school baseball team. Coaches shared that his athleticism, academic knowhow, and strength of character that set him apart.
Special attention was given to four college bound seniors. Brooklyn Adams (Carl Albert), Natalie Allison (Henderson State), Braxton Byers (Hesston College), and Drew Elmore (Carl Albert) were all highlighted as Tigers moving on to the next level.
Five Mansfield coaches were also showcased as winning coach of the year honors. Ethan Bowman (girls basketball), Donnie Eveld (softball), John Mackey (cross country and track), Kaylie Pyles (volleyball), and Layton Robinson (baseball) were all awarded conference coach of the year plaques.
Mackey was also cited as the class 2A athletic director of the year. Pyles was also recognized as an AHSCA All-Star volleyball staff member.
Players of the year from each sport along with specific individual honors were announced over the two hour awards ceremony.
For the sake of brevity only the primary individual players of the year will be listed here. As of press time baseball and softball award winners were being held due to the unfinished state tournament.
Cross country: Laney Wood and Joey Williams.
Golf: Skylynn Harris and Bryson Elmore.
Cheer: Madelen Jones.
Volleyball: Natalie Allison.
Football: Daniel Burton, Drew Elmore, Fisher Willsey, and Tyler Woolbright.
Basketball: Kynslee Ward and Clint Stovall.
Track: Seven Sanderson and Ashton Hinkle.