Student athletes have made outstanding accomplishments this year, and now the best of them can be rewarded in a new way.
The Cougar Medal is a new award for a student athlete’s outstanding achievements in any sport.
Coaches Michael Joyner and Geoff Belcher collaborated to create the medal.
“Coach Belcher deserves the credit for recommending the concept of and the name Cougar Medal,” Joyner said. “We are very proud of the design that we came up with.”
The award was initially created based on a suggestion from Principal Patti Hamler.
“Ms. Hamler had wanted us to try to find a way to recognize some of our athletes in front of the entire group of parents, athletes, etc. at our banquets,” Joyner said.
The medal is different from other awards because it can be awarded to any athlete despite his or her sport or grade, has no specific requirements and is based on coach recommendations.
Junior Kayla Holder was awarded the Cougar Medal for winning the Cap 8 Girls’ Cross Country Tournament and being the only state qualifier in cross country.
“It means a lot to me actually because it’s a recognition for what I’ve been doing, and it’s a lot of hard work, so it’s just nice to get that credit sometimes,” Holder said.
Senior Madie Fingers, another recipient, won the award for being a regional and state qualifier in girls’ golf.
“I just kept motivated and always tried to push to go to states, just year after year,” Fingers said.
Other recipients in the fall included Kylie Grandy for being named the Cap 8 Volleyball Player of the Year and Sam Bennett for being a state qualifier in golf for three years.
Fingers thinks that the award will do more than just honor students.
“I think it will motivate me and other people because everyone just wants to do better than the years before,” Fingers said.
Holder sees the award as a way to honor student athletes on the less-well-known teams.
“I think it’s good because it gives credit to people who might not be in as popular of a sport,” said Holder. “Most people don’t look at sports like cross country, but you still do good in your sport and it’s nice to be recognized for it.”