The Southern Oregon Sports Commission will announce its male and female athletes of the year for 2017 at its annual awards banquet Thursday.
The winners will each come from a group of five finalists.
The Mail Tribune’s Top 10 stories of last year will be recognized, and two other individual honors will be bestowed. B.G. Gould will be presented the Sports Advocate Award, and Dan Bulkley will receive the inaugural Spirit of Competition Award.
The fourth awards banquet will be at Santo Community Center, 701 N. Columbus Ave. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the program begins at 5:30.
Tickets can be purchased at southernoregonsports.com or at the door. Those obtained online cost $30, or four for $100. Tickets will be $35 at the door. They can also be purchased by calling 541-608-8517.
The finalists for the top male athlete are Crater distance runner Andy Monroe, South Medford football player Jaylin Parnell, Cascade Christian football player Haiden Schaan, Southern Oregon University football player Tanner Trosin and Northwestern University golfer Dylan Wu.
The female finalists are Louisville softball player Maryssa Becker, Phoenix middle-distance runner Danielle Jantzer, North Medford wrestler Kyleigh Lopez, Cascade Christian volleyball player Caroline McMahon and Southern Oregon University distance runner Jessa Perkinson.
Monroe won the Class 5A track championship in the 3,000 meters despite tearing the plantar fascia ligament in his right foot with a mile to go. In the fall, he defended the state championship in cross country.
Parnell, a linebacker, was chosen Class 6A defensive player of the year and made first-team all-state as a running back. He set school records with 1,442 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns, leading the Panthers to the state title game.
Schaan quarterbacked Cascade Christian to the Class 3A state championship and was named state offensive player of the year. He passed for 3,079 yards and 37 touchdowns and ran for 774 yards and 16 scores.
Quarterback Trosin ranked second in the NAIA in passing yards per game (347.4) and total offense per game (380.5) and was first-team All-American. He threw for 31 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Wu, from Medford, was a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus national player of the year award after winning the Big Ten scoring title and two tournaments. He made it to the round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur.
Becker completed her Louisville career last spring and made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team. She posted a career-high 22 wins pitching and was second on the team with a .366 batting average.
As a senior in track and field, Jantzer won Class 4A state championships in the 800 (2:20.96) and 1,500 meters (4:48.57), leading Phoenix to a tie for second place in the team standings, the Pirates’ best ever.
As a sophomore, Lopez won the 113-pound state championship, defeating Hillsboro’s Tyler Rabang, 10-5. It was Lopez’s second straight crown. She also placed third in the USA folkstyle nationals.
McMahon, a junior, was named co-player of the year in the state for Class 3A. She led Cascade Christian to a second straight state title and a 25-3 record. The outside hitter averaged four kills, three digs and 1½ aces per set.
Perkinson has distinguished herself as the most decorated athlete in SOU history. She placed second in the NAIA cross country championships, making her a 10-time All-American. She covered 5,000 meters in 17:20.
Last year’s male and female athletes of the year, respectively, were Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley and state-champion golfer Kiana Oshiro.
Gould is in his 32nd year working in athletics for the Medford School District. He also umpired baseball for 20 years and served as a scorekeeper for summer baseball teams.
Bulkley, a former Southern Oregon University track and cross country coach, earned nearly 500 medals and set a number of world age-group records in masters competitions.
— Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org