The winter athletic banquet for Effingham High School honored athletes from the girls basketball team and the wrestling team Saturday night.
Head coach of the Lady Hearts Jeff Schafer came to the podium to speak about the team. The senior group for the Lady Hearts compiled a record of 105 wins and 26 losses. He called up the nine seniors individually and gave brief summaries of their careers and how they did on the season. Those seniors were: Hannah Koester, Payton Koester, Jessie Herboth, Miranda Fox, Natalie Carie, Madison Bushur, Skyler Schafer, Abbey Weis, and Carsyn Fearday. Schafer said that the night meant that it was time to let these seniors go free.
"As a coach it stinks but you knew the day would come," Schafer said. "I'm really thankful that God put me in this position and let me be a part of these guys lives for the past four years and together we accomplished a lot. Hopefully it's the relationships that will last forever. There might be a team that comes along wins more games or whatever but this was pretty special . Especially with my daughter and her friends."
Season award winners for the Lady Hearts were Fearday. Fearday grabbed 180 rebounds on the season. Fearday also won the Hustle award and the most valuable player. Weis recieved the best defensive player award and also led the team in blocks with 28, three point field goals with 69, and had the highest free throw percentage with 82.7. Bushur won the most improved player. Fox won the Miss Basketball award, the hustle award and the Heart of the team award. Fox led the team in steals with 94 and assists with 151. Skyler Schafer won the sportsmanship award.
"[We're] losing a bunch of great kids," Schafer said. "These are incredible young ladies. Hopefully the bond will never be broken."
That bond however probably will never be broken. As Fox came up to the podium to give their coach a gift. The gift was a medal that was engraved with their accomplishments.
"Our goal as seniors this year was to get a state medal. That was kind of a big thing for us. We didn't get it and that was really devastating," Fox said. "Whenever you look at our whole senior season you had a lot of peolpe saying 'as players, what can you do?' and nobody really looked at what our coach has done. Like he was recognized for his 400 wins but nobody really looked at he made us who we are and he was the one who put us through drills everyday to get us to where we are today."
"None of us would have known the 100 plays he had without him coaching and helping us throughout each one," Fox said. "This was something a lot different and the whole thing was one of a kind medal for a one of a kind coach. We thought that he didn't get the state medal he wanted, but this was something that no other coach will ever have because every year a coach gets a state medal and this is something that is even better than a state medal. This is something he'll have forever to remember this group he really helped."
Schafer said that he did not expect the gift at the end.
"I think that it shows how close we are," Schafer said. "Four years of practice with almost all those kids. Usually you have them for one or two years, not four. So they can finish each other sentences, they know exactly what we want done and now its time to turn them loose and watch them blossom."
For the wrestling team, they went 12-8 on the year and had three sectional qualifiers. Head coach Bryan McMillan said that it was a blessing to watch them grow and that they had a large team which made the wrestling room a lot more fun. Winning most valuable wrestler was Tyler Marschewski. He also won the Heart award and most offensive wrestler. Wyatt Sparks won most improved wrestler along with Zach Worman. Marcus Hites won the rookie award and most defensive wrestler went to Andrew Perry.