WALLA WALLA - All of the questions will be answered tonight at the Walla Walla Elks Lodge during the presentation of trophies at the 34th annual Blue Mountain Sports Awards.
Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening, co-sponsored by the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and Baker Boyer Bank, begins at 7 p.m., is free of charge and open to the public.
In addition to the five sports awards, outstanding students from high schools throughout the U-B circulation area will be recognized for their achievements in the classroom and throughout their communities.
A selection panel that includes representatives from the 14 high schools and the three colleges in the area votes twice during the selection process, initially to determine finalists in each of the five sports awards categories and a second time to decide the winners. The five sports awards categories are Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year.
This year's finalists for Male Athlete of the Year are Oscar Flores, a soccer standout at Mac-Hi, along with James Lehr, who excelled in football and track and field at Waitsburg-Prescott, and a pair of multi-sport Wa-Hi athletes, Michael Weisner and Gary Winston. Weisner and Winston represented the Blue Devils in football and basketball.
In the Female Athlete of the Year category, finalists include DeSales' Caitlin Duncan, Walla Walla Community College's Kati Isham and two more Wa-Hi stars, Hope Klicker and Jamie Weisner. Duncan was a three-sport standout for the Irish, Isham was a basketball star for the Warriors, Klicker made her mark for the Blue Devils in softball and Weisner was nominated for her basketball and track and field achievements at Wa-Hi.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year finalists are Renee Baumann of Weston-McEwen, Duncan of DeSales, Christoph Fuchs of Whitman College, Nancy Johnson of WWCC and Vicki Reardon of Wa-Hi.
Chad Bodnar, the men's and women's soccer coach at WWCC, Wa-Hi boys basketball coach John Golden, WWCC women's basketball coach Bobbi Hazeltine and Wa-Hi softball coach Jerry Humphreys are contending for Coach of the Year honors.
The Team of the Year finalists are the state runner-up DeSales baseball team, Mac-Hi's state runner-up boys soccer team, Wa-Hi's fourth-place state boys basketball team, WWCC's NWAACC Championship women's basketball team and WWCC's NWAACC Championship women's soccer team.
The list of additional high school students who will be recognized for their classroom/community accomplishments during the last year is as follows: Austin Heinrich, Dayton; Lexi Zander, DeSales; Meghan Schroeder, Helix; Ashley Doherty, Mac-Hi; Mat Slaybaugh, Pomeroy; Rocio Escalante, Prescott; Emily Huesby, Touchet; Katlyn Stringham, Waitsburg; Phillip Somers, Wa-Hi; Elizabeth Field, Walla Walla Valley Academy; and Laina Fairchild, Weston-McEwen.
These students were nominated for recognition by their schools.
Three area high schools - Burbank, Jubilee Christian and Nixyaawii - did not submit students for recognition.
This year's co-masters of ceremonies are Randy Grant and J.R. Loe of the YMCA.