Even though the All Valley Classic was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the selections for the players of the year had already been made by the selection committee.
The lone state championship in the valley was won by the Corvallis Blue Devils in volleyball. There were also a few individuals who won state championships. Brynnli Poulsen of Hamilton won the Class A state championship in cross country last fall. She also won the 800m championship last spring for Class A. Another Hamilton athlete, Michael Graves, won the javelin with a throw of 184-11. Darby’s Casey Ehmann won the 300m hurdles with a time 46.6. Rounding out the individual state champions was Calla Haldorson of Corvallis who capped her high school career with her fourth state championship in the discus. She threw the discus 147.07 to win it.
There were several individual players of the year selected in each sport. Players of the year for boys basketball are Trey Searle of Hamilton and Nelson Smith of Darby. Emma Stensrud of Florence is the girls basketball player of the year. Volleyball players of the year are Sara Hopcroft of Florence and Isabel Evans of Corvallis. Soccer players of the year are Rylee Wiediger of Hamilton and Carlos Morales of Stevensville. There is no surprise as to who the football player of the year is. Carson Rostad, who will be a University of Montana Grizzly next year, was the selection. Lineman of the year was Tyler Burrows of Hamilton. He’s a junior so look for big things next year. Softball player of the year was Florence’s Shannon Byrne. Golfers of the year are Tristan Hanson of Hamilton and Macee Greenwood of Corvallis. Runners of the year in track are Brynnli Poulsen and Colter Kirkland, both of Hamilton. Field athletes of the year are Calla Haldorson of Corvallis and Jacob Campbell of Hamilton. Tennis players selected were Caleb Warnken of Corvallis and Eliana Foss of Hamilton. Wrestlers of the year were two young men who had to overcome some physical issues this year but still finished well. Bridger Williams was second at 160 pounds at Class A. He is from Hamilton. Kyler Alm of Florence finished second at 182 pounds.
There are two coveted awards the Kiwanis give. The first, Athlete of the year. This award is given to the top all around boy and girl athlete in the valley. Caleb Warnken of Corvallis has competed and done well in soccer, basketball and tennis. For the girls, Hannah Martin of Corvallis was an all-state selection for volleyball, was on track for all conference for basketball and was a contender in track.
The second award, the Stephanie Gonzalez Award is a sportsmanship award given to someone who contributes to their school, athletics and community. This year, Bryce Reed of Hamilton and Kimber Schlapman of Darby, were selected.