Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Legendary coaches. Budding stars with professional-athlete potential. Inspirational team managers.
Those descriptions apply to only a portion of the winners at the Sun Standout Awards Tuesday night at the South Point Showroom. The fourth-annual event, presented by the Raiders with a host of other sponsors, attracted all the top performers from the past year in high school athletics.
“It’s indescribable with all these amazing athletes,” said Aaron Roberts, Desert Oasis senior infielder/pitcher who took home the Male Athlete of the Year honor. “It’s unreal honestly.”
Roberts, who’s committed to the University of California Berkeley and could be taken early in next month’s Major League Baseball Entry Draft, set a team goal of winning the state championship and an individual goal of breaking the single-season home run record this year.
Desert Oasis went undefeated in league play en route to the program’s first state title and Roberts hit 13 home runs — nearly doubling the previous record of seven.
He wasn’t the only record-breaker recognized. His Female Athlete of the Year counterpart, Clark tennis’ Audrey Boch-Collins, has yet to lose a set throughout her three-year high school career.
Bishop Gorman girls soccer, which claimed the Sun Standout Award reserved for excellence, is currently riding a 45-game winning streak — five short of the all-time Nevada mark.
“This is a special team amongst a lot of special teams here in Las Vegas,” Bishop Gorman soccer coach Doug Borgel said while accepting the award.
The Gaels were one of two local teams that finished in the top 10 in USA Today’s national rankings in their respective sport with the other being Centennial girls basketball. The Bulldogs were honored as Team of the Year, maintaining a streak where they’ve won at least one trophy in every year of the awards show’s history.
“I’m excited, especially with this being my senior year, we did a lot of things this year,” said Centennial’s Eboni Walker, an Arizona State-bound forward who was also a finalist for Female Athlete of the Year. “There were a lot of changes, a lot differences. We were a team of firsts. I’m excited to be a part of that team and keep on the tradition.”
But the Sun Standout Awards are just as much about the positive forces driving young athletes forward. And few in the valley have driven athletes forward as much Las Vegas High baseball coach Sam Thomas over the last quarter century.
The retiring Thomas took home the night’s top honor — the Hank Greenspun Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It means I’m old,” Thomas joked in his speech. “It means I’ve been doing this a while, and it means I’ve been lucky. It’s all about hard work and the time you put in.”
Brian Greenspun, the Sun’s editor, publisher and owner, presented Thomas his award and linked the Sun Standout Awards with the Sun Youth Forum as two ways the publication annually demonstrates a commitment to recognizing excellence among local high schoolers.
“The reason it’s such a good thing, at least to me, is each of these times I show up, I realize why I’m able to do this,” Greenspun said to the crowd. “It’s because of you. It reaffirms what we do is not because of us; it’s because of you guys. It’s about this community.”
Read below for the full list of winners.
Hank Greenspun Lifetime Achievement Award: Sam Thomas, Las Vegas High baseball
Sun Standout Award: Bishop Gorman girls soccer
Team of the Year: Centennial girls basketball
Male Athlete of the Year: Aaron Roberts, Desert Oasis baseball
Female Athlete of the Year: Audrey Boch-Collins, Clark tennis
Coach of the Year: Chris Martinez, Centennial cross country
Game of the Year: Chaparral basketball upsets Democracy Prep
Female Rising Star: Paige Sinicki, Coronado softball
Male Rising Star: Jaden Hardy, Coronado basketball
Citizen of the Year: Brooke Bykowski, Foothill volleyball
Unsung Hero: Sydney Bigger, Desert Oasis basketball
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Mackenzie Carcelli, Spring Valley soccer, basketball and track
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year: Anjelo Vigilia, Western wrestling
Moment of the Year: Richard Curry scores for Bonanza football