Escalon’s spring sports awards night on May 31 saw the presentation of plenty of accolades, including the top honors for outstanding senior athletes.
The Warren Hall/Bob Loureiro Inspirational Athlete and the Lloyd C. Engel Outstanding Athlete honors were given at the end of the evening and recognized the achievement of four Cougar athletes for their work, dedication and inspiration over the years.
The Hall/Loureiro honors went to Sarah Leal and Logan Widmer with Taylor Laugero and Kyle Jimenez honored with the Lloyd C. Engel award.
Leal, a three-sport athlete, played volleyball, basketball and soccer at EHS, bringing a unique combination of a calming presence yet a fierce determination to each venue.
“She inspires others by her hard work, dedication and her desire to compete,” Escalon Athletic Director Mark Loureiro said in presenting the award.
She will be attending Arizona State University to study sports journalism and public relations.
As far as juggling three sports with school work for four years?
“You don’t sleep very much,” Leal said, laughing. “It comes down to hard work and being dedicated.”
She listed basketball as her favorite and said she enjoyed the role of being an on-the-court coach.
“That’s the sport where I really found my voice and that allowed be to become the leader I want to be,” she said.
Widmer suited up for football in the fall and baseball in the spring for the Cougars, playing each for four years.
“His work ethic and dedication to his sports are unmatched by others,” noted Loureiro, who coached Widmer in varsity football. “He is a tremendous role model both as an athlete and a student. His presence on our campus will surely be missed.”
Headed to Cal Poly where he will study kinesiology, Widmer said one game stands out in his memory above the rest during his time at EHS.
“Beating Ripon in the rain,” he said, smiling at the memory of a rain-soaked, muddy mess on the football field but a favorable outcome on the scoreboard.
“It just gave me so much confidence,” he added of transferring his lessons from the playing fields to the classroom. “It helped my work ethic, my dedication.”
Laugero has been a four-year varsity player in both volleyball and tennis, was All-TVL in both sports for all four years and took the Sac-Joaquin Section singles title in tennis her freshman and senior years.
“She is not only the top athlete in her class but a tremendous role model of a student-athlete,” Loureiro said. “Her work ethic, determination, and leadership set her ahead of others.”
Laugero will be attending Santa Clara University, where she will play volleyball on a scholarship.
“It has been such an unbelievable year and I am so grateful,” said Laugero, admitting she was still ‘in awe’ of having been chosen for the honor. “I know a lot of people that could have gotten this award, I didn’t expect it.”
A key contributor on the volleyball court, that’s where Laugero will hope to continue excelling in college while she begins studies to pursue a medical career.
“I thank God every day for the blessings He has given me and I really just think it’s very important to remain humble and grateful for everything I have received,” she said.
Active in cross country, wrestling and track and field, Jimenez is an athlete who has excelled at all his sports, staying busy year-round, and capped his senior season by going on to the Masters in two sports and the state meet in one.
“He is a very dedicated athlete who gets the most out of his body,” said Loureiro, adding that Jimenez steadily climbed to the top of the list of male athletes that have made their impact felt at EHS.
Jimenez will start his collegiate career at Fresno City College and then plans to transfer to Bakersfield, with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.
“I was really surprised,” Jimenez admitted of being tapped for the top honor. “I didn’t do as well this year in my track and field as I wanted. It’s a great honor … I know a lot of people that deserved this.”