By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Senior Foursome Take Top Athletic Honors

Their list of accomplishments is lengthy; each has performed on championship teams and gone on to postseason action, along with contributing greatly to the success of their individual squads. Now, four Escalon High School seniors can add the school's top honors to their athletic résumés, recognized with the awards at the recent Spring Sports Awards Night.

Corrie Dollarhide and Nick Aprile were named as the recipients of the Lloyd C. Engel Outstanding Senior Athlete award, with Annelyse Delucchi and Jacob Caton selected as the Hall-Loureiro Most Inspirational Senior Athlete recipients. Athletic Director Mark Loureiro presented the honors at the Tuesday night, May 27 event in the EHS gym.

Filling the pivotal Libero role in volleyball and serving as defensive leader from her third base position in softball, Corrie Dollarhide has been a standout in both sports for Escalon throughout her high school career.

"She's been an All-League performer in both volleyball and softball," Loureiro pointed out. "She's an excellent athlete."

Dollarhide is headed for Delta College, where she anticipates playing volleyball in the fall. Right now, she is undecided on a major but said she has enjoyed being involved with athletics at Escalon High and can take some of that experience with her.

"Being a leader," she said of some qualities she has learned through athletic competition. "It's good to inspire the girls and get them fired up for something."

She also has enjoyed the team camaraderie and working toward a common goal. For the softball team, that meant claiming a share of the Trans-Valley League title this season.

"Her leadership really showed this year," agreed softball head coach Dianne Teixeira. "She showed great leadership, if the girls were having a problem, she would get them together, get them focused and do it in a way the girls respected."

Handling the 'hot corner' with authority, Dollarhide's success also extended to the offensive side of the field this season.

"She had confidence at the plate, she was relaxed, at one point she was hitting over .500 and she ended with a .480 batting average," said Teixeira. "It was also great for her to get a home run, over the fence, at Argonaut. She told me last season she was going to hit one this year and she did."

A three-year varsity softball player, Teixeira said it has been enjoyable watching Dollarhide mature over the years.

"She does whatever is ahead of her," Teixeira said. "She's just a great person. I enjoyed coaching her and I will miss her a lot."

Nick Aprile, sharing the Engel honors with Dollarhide, played football and baseball all four years at Escalon and did basketball for three years. He missed the basketball season this year, recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in the football season finale. He is going to UC Davis on a full ride football scholarship.

"The best thing about Escalon is that the community supports you at all times," Aprile said. "Our teams are a family atmosphere ... all my teammates have become my brothers. It's that way with coaches, too ... we're blessed."

Planning to major in Communications with an eye toward getting into marketing, Aprile will likely be making an impact for the Aggies on the gridiron, much as he did for the Cougars.

"Nick is just an outstanding football player, the scholarship to UC Davis speaks for itself," Loureiro said. "In my 23 years here, I can put him in the top five of the greatest athletes ever to come through this school."

A leader on the field and off, Aprile sets an example for others to follow, holding himself to a high standard.

"What can you say, a great athlete," varsity baseball coach Greg Largent added of Aprile.

And even though his senior baseball season didn't measure up to his own expectations, Largent said Aprile's presence on the team was important.

"He still contributed and was an inspiration," Largent noted. "He has everybody's respect because of the caliber of athlete he is."

There have been so many individual honors for Aprile, it's hard to keep track ... from school honors bestowed by his teammates to the Trans-Valley League MVP for football, the Engel award puts a finishing exclamation point on the list of accomplishments.

The Hall-Loureiro winners are recognized for their ability to inspire and both have also been major contributors to their teams at Escalon High as well.

A runner, Annelyse Delucchi excelled both on the cross country team and in track and field for the Cougars. She also served as the teacher's assistant for coach and teacher Rick Heflin for two years. Heflin coached her in both her sports.

"Annelyse is one of those kids that sees what's going on and plans ahead for it," Heflin said. "When the cross country team went to state, she found out how many kids were going, got their sizes and had T-shirts made up for all of them."

For Delucchi, running cross country and track became like being part of a big family.

"The spirit we have, I love how all the people come together," Delucchi said.

From his perspective, Heflin said Delucchi played a major role in being the glue that held everyone together.

"She was like the team mom," he said with a smile. "In fact, that's what most of the kids called her. That's how she is, she cheers but she's also a team leader."

Loureiro said Delucchi was the perfect choice for the inspirational award.

"She's a lot of energy," he said. "The kids respond to her, with her personality, she ties the group together."

Delucchi plans to attend Stanislaus State and is considering a career as an elementary teacher.

She was involved in Key Club and also did recordkeeping for both the cross country and track teams, as well as assisting Heflin in other ways in her role as TA.

"She's in it for the whole group," Heflin added of Delucchi's ability to inspire and lead by example. "It's never been about Annelyse ... for her, it's about the whole group."

Similar accolades were given for Jacob Caton, who played baseball and football all four years at Escalon High.

"Jacob had an incredible year and I got to coach him for three years," said Largent, who watched Caton's growth from his first tentative varsity baseball season as a sophomore to the inspirational leader he became by his senior season. "He's so well respected by the opposition, when we would go places, both he and Nick would have people going out of their way to talk to them ... they have friends on the opposing teams.

"They're both gentlemen in every sense of the word, great kids along with being fierce competitors, both of them."

Caton is headed to Delta College and plans a career as a physical therapist. He hopes to play baseball at Delta, noting that is his favorite sport.

"I've been playing baseball since I could walk," he explained.

Both sports have been an important part of his high school years, though, and he has had tremendous success, both individually and as part of teams.

"I just enjoy playing with the guys I've known all my life," he said.

Loureiro said Caton was the complete package, bringing skills and desire to the table.

"Jake is just a competitor, he's a very skilled kid and he loves to compete, loves to play," Loureiro noted. "He comes from a family involved in coaching and he plays with a passion, he motivates others.

"I've been around those kids (Caton and Aprile) all their lives and it has been a pleasure and exciting to watch them mature to the athletes and people they are ... it's not all the time people like this come around."

The senior awards cap the athletic year at Escalon High and Loureiro said this year's group of award winners has definitely made their mark, leaving a lasting impression on EHS, in the classroom, on the playing fields and in the larger community.

"The head varsity coaches of all our sports vote on these senior awards," Loureiro pointed out. "These are all great kids ... a very good group of strong athletes, part of the reason we were very successful this year in all our sports."