The first season of fall varsity athletes and coaches gathered in the Student Union on Nov. 8 for the Fall Top Dog Awards, a way to commemorate the work put in during the season. Each coach chose one athlete who stood out on the team and demonstrated PRIDE values throughout the season to highlight in their speeches and pick as Top Dog.
The Fall Top Dog Award winners were: freshman Adelynne Wong from tennis; sophomores Kate Hayashi and Paul Morenkov from cross country, Jaein Kim from cheer, Faith DeNeve from volleyball, Kenzie Edson from golf; juniors Adrian Valerin from football and Alex Cherry from water polo.
The ceremony consisted of only varsity athletes, rather than the previous year where both junior varsity and freshman teams attended.
“Varsity sports is something that is a stand out experience for high school athletes, and while we want all of our athletes to feel special and a part of the program, there’s something to be said for the performance level and the dedication and commitment and the amount of work that happens at the varsity level,” athletics director Katie Levensailor said. “So we really wanted them to have that moment to stand out and to feel important.”
The ceremony began with dinner and a speech from principal John Pehrson who shared his experience as a varsity athlete on the Santa Fe High basketball team. He advised athletes to follow the school’s vision: to belong, contribute and thrive. As he wrapped up his speech by referring to every athlete as a fighter on the field, court or pool deck, each coach awarded their chosen Top Dog.
“Kate and Paul have a profound impact upon the people that they come into contact with and on our team,” cross country coach Victor Quiros said. “They are always working hard in practice. They’re inspiring everybody by what they do, their care. They’re always cheerful, positive, tell jokes, make other people have a good time, and they get along with everybody on the team.”