GLADSTONE - Selecting the best is always a difficult proposition, a challenge that was particularly tough this year as Gladstone High School varsity head coaches tried to determine the top senior female athletes.
For the fourth time since the Girls Athletic Award began in 1974, there was a tie as Katie Becker and Whitney Wells shared the award. Three other senior girls were also in solid contention, Laura Alexander, Jammie Botruff and Courtney Nevala.
Kyle Closs is the top male honoree, receiving the Eldon (Cappy) Keil Award, which began in 1961.
"It was very difficult," athletic director Matt Houle said of selecting the top female award. "The coaches had to make a tough decision on the athletes. This year we had so many (candidates), especially on the girls side. They are all quality athletes and quality people.
"There were several girls worthy of the award. Instead of trying to break a tie, we felt we needed to honor both of them."
Jessica Lung and Gina Trombly were the last to share the award, in 2009. It was also shared by Christine Knoch and Michelle Paul in 2000 and Becky Bartosz and Carrie Jensen in 2004.
Becker and Wells both earned 10 varsity letters, each getting four in tennis and softball and two in basketball. They helped their basketball team win consecutive Class B regional championships and this season's team to 24 straight victories.
Becker was an all-state tennis pick in 2011 and All-U.P. in 2009 and 2011. She was all-state softball in 2011 and earned All-U.P. basketball mention in 2011 and 2012. She also received the Chelsea Hewitt Memorial award.
Wells made All-U.P. second team in basketball in 2012, when she was defensive player of the year in the Great Northern Conference.
Becker will attend Ferris State University and Wells will attend Grand Valley State.
Closs collected seven varsity letters, three in track and two in basketball and football. He won the U.P. shot put championship in track in 2010. He also received the Brian Butler Award as the top senior football player.
Closs will attend Bay de Noc Community College.
Botruff received the Carla Choate Award as the top girls basketball player. She has a basketball scholarship to Grand Valley State. Botruff won eight varsity letters, four in basketball, three in softball and one in cross country. She also played volleyball.
1961 - Michael Hammond; 1962 - Gary Kircher; 1963 - Pete Kelly; 1964 - Tom Domres; 1965 - Mike Gobert; 1966 - Keith Apelgren; 1967 - Gary Larson; 1968 - Steve Schram; 1969 - Steve Nelson.
1970 - Cliff Young; 1971 - Pat McGeary; 1972 - Terry Cartwright; 1973 - Tom Hirn; 1974 - Jeff Fleet; 1975 - John Dehlin; 1976 - John Petr; 1977 - Tom Theoret; 1978 - Mark LeGault; 1979 - Mark Nelsen.
1980 - Karl Dollhopf; 1981 - Bob Ballard; 1982 - Mike Ballard; 1983 - Joe Sutter; 1984 - Mickey Butler; 1985 - Dan Seronko; 1986 - Troy L. Carlson; 1987 - Brian Pelon; 1988 - Jim Calouette; 1989 - Jamie Searle Mata.
1990 - Troy Randall; 1991 - Dave Elliott; 1992 - Desi Schultz; 1993 - Matt Searle; 1994 - Tony Creten; 1995 - Ed Gauthier; 1996 - Dan Beauchamp; 1997 - Tom LaFleur; 1998 - Josh Mileski; 1999 - Casey Young.
2000 - Tony Bartol; 2001- Chris Jensen; 2002 - Brad Sutter; 2003 - Brent Watson; 2004 - Joel Lyberg; 2005 - Adam Sutter and Matt Petr; 2006 - James Cappeart; 2007 - Jeremy Gagnon; 2008 - Mike Coyne and Joe Mileski; 2009 - Kyle Jensen; 2010 - Kollin Jensen.
2011 - Nick Olesak; 2012 - Kyle Closs.
Girls Athletic Awards
1974 - Beth D'Arcy; 1975 - Diane D'Arcy; 1976 - Patty Kennedy; 1977 - Ann Altese; 1978 - Lori Becker; 1979 - Diane Tousignant.
1980 - Nancy D'Arcy; 1981 - Patti Solis; 1982 - Shari Ahola; 1983 - Sara Kalishek; 1984 - Sheri Hess; 1985 - Jane Solis; 1986 - Jaylene Bugay; 1987 - Sue Groves; 1988 - Lyndel Ingalls; 1989 - Dianne Poe.
1990 - Tracy Snowaert; 1991 - Rhonda Maki; 1992 - Amy Bradfield; 1993 - Crista Beaver; 1994 - Ginger Weber; 1995 - Renee Carlson; 1996 - Jennifer Pepin; 1997 - Brianne Weber; 1998 - April Reese; 1999 - Shana Watson.
2000 - Christine Knoch and Michelle Paul; 2001 - Kari Brodeen; 2002 - Ashley Hughes; 2003 - Beth Whitmer; 2004 - Becky Bartosz and Carrie Jensen; 2005 - Ashley Nyenhuis; 2006 - K.C. Blahnik; 2007 - Sam Shepeck; 2008 - Laura Pfotenhauer; 2009 - Jessica Lung and Gina Trombly; 2010 - Andria Nyenhuis.
2011 - Mackenzie Shepeck; 2012 - Katie Becker and Whitney Wells.