By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Outstanding seniors take home EHS top athletic honors
E sr athletes
Receiving the top senior athletic awards for the Class of 2024 were, from left, Alyssa Ball and Matthew Rangel, selected for the Most Inspirational Senior Athlete honors and both receiving the Trans-Valley League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for EHS; Violette Kent and Jamin Miller, chosen for the Lloyd C. Engel Outstanding Senior Athlete award. Marg Jackson/The Times

Between them, they have taken part in sports in every season of the year, throughout the majority of their high school years. The top athletic awards for seniors at Escalon High School were presented in a mid-May ceremony to cap off the spring sports awards night. Receiving the Bob & Mark Loureiro Most Inspirational Senior Athlete of the Year honors were Alyssa Ball and Matthew Rangel. Receiving the Lloyd C. Engel Outstanding Senior Athlete honor for the Class of 2024 were Violette Kent and Jamin Miller.

Additionally, Ball and Rangel were named as Escalon High School’s honorees for the Trans-Valley League Scholar-Athlete award.


Alyssa Ball

During her freshman through junior years, Alyssa Ball was involved in soccer during the winter season, track and field during the spring. This past year, her senior season, she was able to also play flag football in the fall, during the inaugural year of the sport at EHS.

She said sports provide plenty of lessons, win or lose.

“Through flag football and soccer, it’s really a team sport so you get to know a lot of girls that you would never think you would have hung out with; it exposes you to a lot of different friend groups and ideas. You have to learn how to work with that because even if you don’t agree with them off the field, you need to find a way to work with them and become close on the field in order to help each other,” she explained. “With track, it’s really individualized and it just helps you to push yourself and try and reach that next level every time.”

As far as being selected for an inspirational award, Ball said she didn’t anticipate that recognition.

“It honestly meant a lot because every sport I’ve played, even though I have been in a leadership role I didn’t feel like I was really having that big of a part in inspiring the other athletes but it meant a lot to me to actually be recognized and hear that the coaches I’ve been playing for, teachers and everything felt I was a bigger part of inspiring others than I thought I was.”

She will be attending Mount Marty University in South Dakota after graduation, majoring in Elementary Education.


Matthew Rangel

A two-sport athlete for Escalon, Matthew Rangel played football in the fall and wrestled during the winter. He also did track and field his junior year.

“Definitely the camaraderie,” he said of his favorite part of being involved in multiple sports. “It’s really cool, you build a tight bond with all your teammates, spend a lot of time with each other.”

He has found success in every sport, from team section honors to individual titles in wrestling.

His best memory is connected to the wrestling mats.

“I think it was winning the match to get into the semifinals at Masters; after the match, all the coaches were there, my wrestling partner, T Cruz was there, it was just really emotional. It was a tough match; the guy was good and I just was able to pull it off.”

He was grateful for the recognition and said he does try to inspire his teammates whenever possible, on and off the field.

“I like to push my teammates, it’s good to get them past that threshold of just being mediocre,” he said, adding that he feels others were inspirational as well.

He served as one of the captains for the wrestling team, which earned the Section team title and Individual section tournament.

“I don’t think that would have been possible without being inspirational and pushing our teammates,” he said of himself and the other wrestling captains.

Rangel plans to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after graduation, studying Ag Systems Management.


Violette Kent

With her senior year being her first full year as an EHS student, coming from Linden, Violette Kent jumped in with both feet, getting involved in three sports and having a significant impact through each season.

She played flag football in the fall, wrestled in the winter and played softball in the spring.

“It was sort of a surprise since it was my first full year doing sports here,” Kent admitted, “but I guess it just kind of shows how much work I’ve put in towards sports and I think it’s really cool that I received it; it just shows what I’ve done all the years I’ve played sports.”

In Linden she focused on softball but was glad to expand her sports repertoire at EHS.

“In Linden there weren’t that many opportunities like there are here,” she said.

She was able to return to the wrestling mats, having previously wrestled in a youth league in Linden in grade school. It came back quickly, as she was among the top performers for the varsity girls this season.

“I think flag football was my favorite, I really liked the team that we had and it was just really fun for the first-year sport,” she said of making some history playing on the inaugural ES flag football team.” “Making it how far we did (Section semifinals) I think that was just a really good bonding experience with how much we worked on the field.”

She said her ‘takeaway’ from the year is all the friendships she made, bonds created with teammates and the fact that they helped her come out of her shell and enjoy the high school experience.

Folsom Lake College is the next stop for Kent, where she will be majoring in Film Production.


Jamin Miller

Involved in multiple sports throughout his days at Escalon High School, Jamin Miller has played football, baseball and basketball for the Cougars.

His freshman year, the schedule was cut short by COVID, playing just one football game in the fall and then doubling up with basketball and baseball in the spring season.

“I would have baseball practice right after school and basketball practice late in the evening,” he said of the unusual schedule, when winter and spring sports were run simultaneously that spring. “Sophomore year, I continued to play football, baseball and basketball again.”

Junior year, he downsized a bit, focusing solely on football during fall and winter, then suiting up for baseball in the spring. He continued that schedule for his senior season.

“I think it’s the continuous success that our football program had, I don’t think it was just me being the outstanding athlete, I think it was like the team I was a part of and how long I was a part of that team,” Miller said of why he feels he was chosen for the Engel award recognition, something he feels he shares with many others on the football team.

He played three years at the varsity level for the football team.

“I won three Section championships and a State title so I think that says a lot about the team I was playing on, and my teammates helping me and pushing me, those are really the ones that got me to this award.”

His favorite moment on the football field was winning the Section title his senior year against Patterson, completing a come-from-behind win after it looked as though the Tigers were going to walk off with the blue banner.

“No one thought we were going to come back,” he said. “But we prevailed and we came through.”

Headed to Modesto Junior College after graduation, Miller plans to major in Business Administration and play football at the collegiate level.