The Class of 2018 at Escalon High School featured several standout student athletes and a half dozen of them earned end-of-season special honors.
Recognized for a cumulative four years of participating in sports and making an impact for their teams, the six were singled out at the recent Spring Sports Awards Night hosted at EHS.
Taking home the Lloyd C. Engel Outstanding Senior Athlete trophies were Shelby McCune, Madison Kindberg, Max Nicholas and Rhys Panero. Earning the Warren Hall-Bob Loureiro Most Inspirational Senior Athlete honors were Nic Lattig and Priscilla Nowling.
The Engel award is typically presented to one male and one female senior athlete but, this year, the recognition was shared because of the outstanding contributions of all four Cougars.
“This year’s senior class has many outstanding athletes that have excelled in their sports and have represented their school with pride and excellence, which has made this choice close and difficult,” Escalon Athletic Director Mark Loureiro noted of the outstanding senior honors.
For the girls, Shelby McCune played three sports all four years at EHS. She played golf for four years, basketball for four years, did soccer for two and then switched to track and field for her junior and senior years when soccer was moved to the winter season, conflicting with basketball.
“She was a valuable member of our Section Golf Championship team, earning all-league honors,” Loureiro said. “In basketball, she was a three-time All-TVL player, earning MVP on the team. She is a major factor in turning our girls’ basketball program around.”
In limited time with track and field, she was a two-time TVL discus winner and placed second in the shotput.
“It’s just awesome, so cool to get something like this representing the purple and gold,” said McCune.
She will attend Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana to study environmental science, with plans to compete in basketball and track.
Madison Kindberg was a standout in her two sports, golf and soccer.
“She has been all league in both and the Most Valuable Player in golf,” said Loureiro. “She led her (golf) team to the section title and won the individual part of the tournament as well. She was the leader of our girls’ soccer team that advanced to the section playoffs.”
She was also a winner of the Dale Lackey Award as a top student-athlete in the Trans-Valley League.
“I’ve had fun, meeting new people and my teammates have been so amazing,” Kindberg said. “I’m glad I had this experience.”
Off to UC Davis, she will study animal science.
For the boys, Max Nicholas was a three-sport, four-year athlete on the EHS campus, playing football, basketball and baseball.
“He has been voted MVP, Most Inspirational, Team Captain and Most Improved throughout his high school career,” Loureiro explained. “In football this year he was voted Most Valuable Receiver in the league. He is a leader on campus and a TVL Scholar Athlete.”
Nicholas is attending Delta College to study business finance and will be playing football there.
“Four years, three sports, you get used to working all the time,” he said, adding that memories made with teammates are among the best ones from high school. “It also prepares you for the world.”
Battling injuries for much of his career, Rhys Panero nevertheless competed in two sports all four years, suiting up for football and wrestling for the Cougars.
“He has worked hard through pain and injury,” said Loureiro. “Wrestling is where he made his name … three-time TVL champ, TVL Section champ, qualified for the Masters all four years. He is an excellent student in class and well respected by his classmates and teachers.”
Chico State is the next destination for Panero, though he is undecided on a major.
“I felt like I really gained a sense of accomplishment in both sports,” he said of his football and wrestling experience. “The strong work ethic has helped prepare me for the challenges in life.”
Inspirational honors recognize those student athletes whose hard work and dedication pushes their teammates to do better as well.
“I have had the pleasure to coach and watch this young man inspire others the last four years at Escalon High,” Loureiro said of Nic Lattig. “His work ethic, dedication and the willingness to be coached is unbelievable. He is a tremendous role model both as an athlete and student.”
Lattig played football, golf and basketball at EHS and also played baseball one year.
“Honestly, I had no idea,” Lattig said of being selected as the Most Inspirational athlete. “I don’t find myself as the inspirational type; it was a surprise.”
He added that he just works hard to play the game well, whatever the sport.
“My parents taught me to work hard and my coaches, all have inspired me in some way, they taught me to be myself and just attack everything head on.”
Lattig will attend UC Davis, majoring in mechanical engineering.
“This young lady is a vocal leader on the teams that she plays on,” Loureiro noted of Priscilla Nowling. “She inspires others by her hard work, dedication and desire to compete. Her work ethic as an athlete carries over to the classroom where she is one of the top female student/athletes in the senior class.”
Nowling, who is also heading to UC Davis, will study biochemistry and molecular engineering. She said she was proud and excited to be chosen for the inspirational award. She played softball and basketball for four years, volleyball for three.
“I feel like I’ve wanted to be that type of person,” she admitted. “I want to make sure everyone feels like they can have someone inspiring them. It’s a blessing and an honor to be recognized with Nic. I’ve been inspired by my coaches and parents ... I’ve learned that it’s always bigger than the game … sports help you learn lessons for life.”