Gazette honors fall sports all-stars at banquet

  • Featured speaker Zach Hine at the podium during the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on Sunday. gazette staff / Chris Marion

  • Gazette Publisher Mike Rifanburg with a presentation for Zach Hine during the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on January 22, 2017. Photo: Chris Marion Chris Marion Sr—Chris Marion/For the Gazette

  • Photos from the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on January 22, 2017. Photo: Chris Marion Chris Marion Sr—Chris Marion/For the Gazette

  • Photos from the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on January 22, 2017. Photo: Chris Marion Chris Marion Sr—Chris Marion/For the Gazette

  • Ryan Davis, Zach Hine, Whitney Bevins, and Luke Arcabeault at the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on January 22, 2017. Photo: Chris Marion Chris Marion Sr—Chris Marion/For the Gazette

  • The Gazette's Fall 2016 All-Stars at the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All-Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on Sunday. gazette staff / Chris Marion

  • The Gazette Athletes of the Year at the Daily Hampshire Gazette High School All Star banquet at The Log Cabin in Holyoke on January 22, 2017. Photo: Chris Marion Chris Marion Sr—Chris Marion/For the Gazette

@Hargraves24
Published: 1/22/2017 10:06:54 PM

HOLYOKE — Getting recognized, formally, for accomplishments on the playing field can be an exciting moment for an athlete.

Getting to hear the applause and accepting an award in front of peers and, in some cases, opponents can, too.

Dozens of athletes got to experience this at the Fall 2016 Gazette All-Stars Award Ceremony at the Log Cabin on Sunday afternoon.

Outstanding athletes from each sport at every school the Gazette covers walked to a podium to accept their award in front of spectators in the Grand Edna Williams room.

In addition to picking all-stars from each sport, the Gazette also chose players of the year.

Elijah Davis, senior, Northampton (football); Kayla Henry, senior, Belchertown, (girls soccer); Celia Speth, senior, Frontier Regional, (field hockey); Megan Rice, senior, Amherst (volleyball); Samson Heyer, senior, Amherst (boys soccer); Jack Yanko, sophomore, Amherst (boys cross country); Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, sophomore, Amherst, (girls cross country); Caleb Farnham, senior, Hopkins Academy (golf) were the players of the year.

Gateway Regional girls soccer all-star Jessica Van Heynigen enjoyed getting recognized in front of players from all sports, not just soccer.

“We were there because we are outstanding athletes who portray the same work ethic and drive for the sport we love,” Van Heynigen said. “I feel that every athlete respected one another in that room.”

Mark Tanner, father of Northampton girls soccer all-star Emma Tanner, enjoyed the event.

“It was nice to see the kids get recognized,” Tanner said. “The whole ceremony had a nice flow to it.”

Van Heynigen also complemented the ceremony.

“It was simple and elegant,” Van Heynigen said. “It was nicely organized and not too long.”

The ceremony featured guest speaker Zach Hine, a South Hadley native who was the top American finisher at the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Hine spoke of the challenges of combining academics, athletics and eventually professional work. He encouraged all the athletes to continue to play sports regardless of the level.

“In life and athletics there are going to be ups and downs,” Hine said. “I hope these kids recognize and embrace what they have. Take chances to get better.”

Hine lives in Dallas and works full time as an engineer for a gas company.

“I schedule running around that job the best I can,” Hine said. “Professional work can be frustrating at times. Running or any athletics can be that decompression.”

Hine joked that he needed to keep his speech short, as people might be itching to get home to watch football, specifically the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.

Sophie Prouty, Hampshire Regional’s girls cross country all-star, embraced meeting Hine and posed for pictures with him after the ceremony.

“It’s inspirational,” Prouty said. “He’s the first local guy to win the St. Patty’s day race (in Holyoke) in a very long time. He’s an amazing runner.”

Some of Hine’s words will help Prouty live more in the moment as a high school athlete, as not everyone gets to play in college.

“I listened when he said ‘take it all in when you are in high school’,” Prouty said. “It gets harder in college so I will take it all in when I can.”

Gazette publisher Mike Rifanburg attended the event.

“Our youth are our future,” Rifanburg said. “In this year’s all-star celebration event, the Daily Hampshire Gazette is recognizing our honoree’s athleticism as well as their leadership. This leadership will serve them well in the future.”

After Hine’s speech, Gazette sports editor Mike Moran announced each team’s all-star representative.

Click here to view and purchase more photos from this event.




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