2016 Awards Dinner presented by Duke Energy
ASHEVILLE - A capacity crowd of more than 700 celebrated the best area sports has to offer Sunday night at the 55th WNC Sports Awards Banquet at Omni Grove Park Inn.
From a group of 80 finalists, 20 award winners were recognized and honored as the area's top high school athletes and teams, and 10 student athletes were awarded $1,000 scholarships.
(Photos available at dianagatesphotography.com)
Presented by Duke Progress Energy and conducted by the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club, the event also served as the induction ceremony for the WNC Sports Hall of Fame.
The class of 2016 includes football coaching legend Jerry Moore of Appalachian State and former Erwin High basketball standout Connie Rogers-Newcome.
Moore, posted a 242-134-2 record (.643) as a head football coach at North Texas, Texas Tech and Appalachian State.
At App State from 1989-2012, Moore was 215-87 (.711) and won 10 Southern Conference championships and three consecutive FCS national titles (2005-07).
Rogers-Newcome was a standout basketball player who scored a combined total of more than 3,000 points at Erwin High (1975-78) and N.C. State.
She averaged 18.9 points and 12 rebounds a game as a four-year starter at Erwin and was a Parade All-American as a senior. She scored more than 1,100 points with the Wolfpack.
A pair of retirees who worked for several decades as sports information directors and in athletic administration for local colleges received the Moog/Gene Ochsenreiter Award for Lifetime Achievement - Mike Gore of UNC Asheville and Steve White of Western Carolina.
The banquet, which began in 1957, is sponsored by more than 30 local businesses and individuals.
Michael Sawick of Henderson County received the Pamfilis/Roden Special Olympics Award and a $1,000 grant to his organization will be presented.
Finalists and winners of the awards were chosen by the MAAC Board of Directors from a list of nominees submitted by WNC coaches, athletic directors and principals. Dalton Beaver of Mitchell High was selected as the Darlene and John McNabb Male Athlete of the Year Award. Beaver was a two-time state champion in wrestling (career record 127-17) and set a school record for career tackles in football (483).
Anna Vess of Reynolds High received the Citizen-Times Female Athlete of the Year Award. Vess has won eight state titles in cross country and track and also set school records in swimming.
55th WNC Sports Awards Banquet Winners
Wells Fargo 1A/2A Female Athlete - Major Sport: Haylie Shope, Hiwassee Dam multiple sports.
Northwestern Mutual 1A/2A Female Athlete - Olympic Sport: Ralene Kwiatkowski, Carolina Day cross country and track.
David L. Cappiello, MD 1A/2A Male Athlete - Major Sport: Zach Cottrell, Hayesville basketball;
White and Williams Co. 1A/2A Male Athlete - Olympic Sport: Solomon Duncan, Mitchell multiple sports.
Dixon, Hughes Goodman LLP 3A/4A Female Athlete - Major Sport: Brooklyn Allen, Pisgah basketball and volleyball.
First Citizens Bank 3A/4A Female Athlete - Olympic Sport: Adrienne Haynes, Asheville tennis.
Goforth Builders Inc. 3A/4A Male Athlete - Major Sport: Rico Dowdle, Reynolds football.
Massasoit of North Carolina Inc. 3A/4A Male Athlete - Olympic Sport: Connor Fenn, Asheville School wrestling.
Homewood Suites of Asheville 1A/2A Female Team - Major Sport: Carolina Day basketball.
Mills Manufacturing 1A/2A Female Team - Olympic Sport: Brevard cross country.
BMW of Asheville 1A/2A Male Team - Major Sport: Asheville Christian Academy soccer.
Blue Ridge Bone & Joint 1A/2A Male Team - Olympic Sport: Mitchell wrestling.
Home Trust Bank 3A/4A Female Team - Major Sport: Enka softball.
Arcadia Farms, Inc. 3A/4A Female Team - Olympic Sport: Reynolds soccer.
Nationwide Insurance 3A/4A Male Team - Major Sport: Asheville High soccer.
Rodeway Inn and Suites 3A/4A Male Team - Olympic Sport: Enka wrestling.
Blue Ridge X-Ray Female Student Athlete Academic Award - Samantha Olson, Enka basketball.
David L. Cappiello, MD Male Student Athlete Academic Award - Will Jones, Asheville High soccer.
Asheville Citizen-Times Female Athlete of the Year - Anna Vess, Reynolds multiple sports.
Darlene & John McNabb Male Athlete of the Year - Dalton Beaver, Mitchell football and wrestling.
Scholarship Winners - Reggie Battle, Asheville High; Jake Marr, Swain County; Colton Millsaps, Robbinsville; Ben Nickol, Tuscola; Samantha Olson, Enka; Kinsley Orr, Robbinsville; Mikalya Ray, Carolina Day; Victoria Schandevel, Hendersonville; Noah Pete Willingham, North Henderson; Zach Webster, Tuscola.