EUHS coaches surprise Hall of Fame, Sports Booster Award winners

Several coaches and staff members celebrated their star athletes since the formal awards ceremony was canceled

EXETER – A few days after having a drive-through commencement program, a few Exeter Union High School coaches decided to have a drive-by awards ceremony for their athletes.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, EUHS was forced to cancel their spring sports seasons, and winter sports awards ceremony. As a result, several senior athletes were at risk of not being properly recognized for their stellar high school career. Last Tuesday, athletic director Andrew Montes decided to give them a memorable experience.

Montes, along with several other coaches, decided to surprise five senior athletes at their homes to present them with a few of the school’s prestigious awards. Four players were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame: Megan Nickell and Morgan Weldon for girls water polo, Jacob Aurelio for boys water polo, and Zach Welch for swimming. Welch was also named the Sports Boosters Athlete of the Year. In addition to swimming, he also played basketball and was all-league in water polo. Megan Tilschner was also named Athlete of the Year. She ran track, played basketball, and was all-league in volleyball.

Welch, along with the other four athletes, had no idea that coaches were coming to his house to present him with the awards. He was a bit shocked, but not surprised since he had been working hard towards earning those awards. While that goal came to fruition, he was still unable to meet his other goal due to the swimming season being cut short. In his junior year, he set a personal record for the 50m and 100m butterfly during the valley championship meet. His times were good enough to finish in the top 10, and he was seconds away from breaking school records. Although, not all is lost since he’ll be swimming at College of the Sequoias next year.

Later in the day, the athletic department decided to host a drive-through ceremony for the winter and spring sports awards. That allowed players and coaches to have a proper farewell to each other. According to Montes, it was a good conclusion and gave kids some closure.

“For the Hall of Fame and Athlete of the Year awards, we wanted those to be more personal,” Montes said. “For two hours that night, I had parents and kids coming through [campus], dropping off uniforms, and getting their letters plus other awards. We hope [by doing this] that the athletes know that they’re special to us.”

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