Posted Date: 05/14/2020
The T. Franklin Boyd Tiger of the Year Award is given each year to Mansfield High School’s most outstanding male and female senior high athletes. Although a traditional awards banquet was canceled due to the Covid-19 virus, the announcement of this year’s recipients went forward.
The Tiger Booster Club’s most coveted awards for this 2019-2020 school year goes to Maggie Strunk and Layton Howard.
The award itself is an honor that considers athletic involvement, athletic success, academic history, and the spirit of the Tiger once rooted for by the late T. Franklin Boyd.
This year, an extensive rubric based upon evidentiary data was established to help select the Tigers of the Year. Through a public meeting of Booster Club officers, interested membership, coaches, and administration a point system was finalized to help determine this year’s recipients.
Strunk, a senior, was selected as the T. Franklin Boyd Female Tiger of the Year. She set a path towards this conclusion years ago when she won the “Freshman Rising Star” award back in 2017.
Since that day, her skills continued to develop at a rapid rate through a variety of sports. Count golf, volleyball, basketball, and softball as just a sample of the activities to which her talents rose.
Accomplishments on the course, courts, or field followed her like footprints in the sand. Those impressions dug deep with All-District, All-Conference, Player of the Year, and state qualifying steps.
This past school year alone Strunk picked up All-Conference honors and a Player of the Year award in golf. She also donned All-District armour through a hard fought volleyball campaign. Both sports made their respective postseason state tournaments.
Strunk spent the winter months preparing for a softball season that by all indications had the ingredients for a successful season. Although the team only got to play 5 games because of the Covid-19 shutdown, she was already pitching 1.2 strikeouts per inning and hitting the ball as well as anyone on the team.
Put this senior’s grade point average up against other athletes and you could easily tell why she stood out in the classroom as well as on the diamond. MHS faculty members agreed her citizenship was equally as impressive.
Academic excellence, athletic efficiency, and character status certainly set this senior as the one to watch.
Howard, also a senior, was the T. Franklin Boyd Male Tiger of the Year. Mansfield football coach Tim Cothran described him as “one of the most explosive players I have ever had the privilege to coach”.
As a three year starter on the football team, opposing coaches refused to kick the ball to him. According to Cothran, opposing teams would rather kick the ball out of bounds and take a penalty.
MaxPreps, a state wide statistical bank that tracks player data from athletes across the state, ranked Howard among the elite. This year alone the Mansfield speedster rated number one in the entire state for kickoff returns and total returns.
Local outlets pegged Howard as the “Special Teams Player of the Year”. His singular heroics at the Charleston conference game produced the #1 “Sweetest Play of the Year” according to local television station KFSM Channel 5. The Times Record recognized him as a River Valley Prep Football All-Star.
No doubt, Howard had some electrifying moments this year through a variety of sports. If you were fortunate enough to watch the games he played, you’d certainly agree. Long distance touchdowns, high flying catches, and basketball dunks were a normal day at the office for him.
Athletics was not Howard’s whole world. He finished in the top ten in his graduating class and received multiple academic scholarships and college athletic opportunities. He also garnered regional and state attention through his artwork. In particular, he received high praise for his work with portrait drawings.