Visalia and Tulare Kiwanis Clubs honor top high school athletes

Visalia, Tulare Kiwanis Clubs, TCOE’s CHARACTER COUNTS! recognize local high school athletes for Pursuing Victory with Honor

TULARE COUNTY – Athletes are often measured by strength, speed, agility and endurance in games. But in the game of life, it is the strength of their character, racing to help others, direct honesty and enduring trustworthiness which decide if they will lift up or let down their communities.

In partnership with the Visalia and Tulare Kiwanis Clubs, TCOE’s CHARACTER COUNTS! Program celebrated this fall’s Pursuing Victory With Honor award winners. The Kiwanis clubs recognize student-athletes, nominated by their coaches, each season for their sportsmanship.

At the lunch, students were presented with a certificate, lawn sign that read “An Athlete of Character Lives Here,” and gift bags from the Visalia Kiwanis and guest speaker Tony Casares.

Below is a list of the fall winners of the Pursuing Victory With Honor award along with a quote from their coaches.

Central Valley Christian

Jacob Alzagatiti, senior—boys cross country (not pictured): “He has grown into an outstanding leader on the team who is not only relentlessly striving to better himself, but also constantly providing encouragement and support to everyone else on the team.”

McKenna Phillips, senior—girls tennis: “McKenna is a leader. And she best leads by example. She is positive, encouraging, determined, and confident. And she portrays all of these qualities with an overwhelming sense of humility.”

El Diamante

Emmalie Cooper, senior—girls golf: “Emmalie doesn’t only focus on improving her skills, but she goes out of her way to make sure everyone on the team is accepted and valued.”

Caroline Johnson, junior—girls tennis: “Caroline Johnson is trustworthy, honest, and courageous…Caroline always demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity on the tennis court.”

Golden West

Easton Farmer, senior—boys water polo: “His desire to constantly improve helps lift the team to greater heights game after game.”

Alexa Lawrence, senior—girls tennis: “Alexa Lawrence is an incredible young lady who carries herself with dignity and honor on and off the tennis court.”

Mt. Whitney

Mariah Vasquez, senior—girls tennis: “Mariah is a very trustworthy person and plays tennis honestly when it comes to the rules of tennis. Mariah treats her teammates and opponents with respect and fairness.”

Travis Applegate, senior—boys water polo: “During the last four years, Travis has earned my trust and the trust of his teammates. Travis will be honest, he will give his best effort, and he will follow through on his word.”


Jennifer Meneces, senior—volleyball: “She is that quiet captain who leads by example, but when she speaks both in the huddle and outside the game, she has insightful and thoughtful comments that everyone listens to.”

Samuel Suggs, senior—boys cross country: “A true leader by example, Sam continuously demonstrates a high level of fairness and caring for others by proving that he regards his teammates as people first and athletes second.”

Tulare Union

Maria Zavala—girls cross country: “Responsibility best describes Maria Zavala. During the cross country season, she has given her all no matter the level of difficulty, persevering through adversity and pushing harder than she thought possible. And most of all, (she) was accountable for her words, actions, and schoolwork, all while being a consistent and faithful member of the team.”

Dylan Van Scyoc—boys water polo: “Having Dylan on our team shows how valuable leadership is on a team. He took the underclassman under his wing and taught them skills and how to behave as a person of character.”

Tulare Western

Delanie Zavaleta—girls water polo: “Delanie is the most inclusive student athlete I have ever coached. She is always available to help freshman and new players. She is kind (and) accepting. And an all-around great person at practice, games, and on campus.”

Corbett Vander Feer—boys water polo: “Corbett exhibits the foundation of character. He makes sure everything is set up for practice for his teammates. He has a great attitude, (is a) great leader, and most of all a great person.”

Mission Oak

Jamie Rambur—girls golf: “As a four-year player, Jamie is a leader. She can always be counted on to do the right thing. During match play, she helps with rulings that help support officiating. She’s always on time and ready to do her best.”

Michael Iriye—football: “I had the pleasure of coaching Mike for the last two years. He is an exemplary student athlete. His ability to display the Six Pillars of Character on a daily basis is very rare at his age. Mike will be a great example of this award in the future.”

Start typing and press Enter to search