The Salt River High School Fall Athletic Banquet took place on November 2 on campus. Student-athletes and their parents were invited for a dinner at 5 p.m., followed by an awards presentation at 6 p.m. in the lecture hall.
Salt River High School Athletic Director Shawn Lytle said this year they wanted to make the awards banquet a little more special, so they decided to divide it up and conduct a banquet after each sports season is completed.
“This will give coaches the chance to say more about their teams and individual players and give them the recognition they deserve,” he said.
Lytle said this was a very good first quarter for all fall athletes. They had record numbers in junior high volleyball, with close to 20 students participating, and the junior high football team had the most participants in history, and also the most sixth-graders ever.
“The high school spirit line is getting better and better every year,” Lytle added.
Lytle said this year’s football team was the youngest team at the school; at the end of the year, four freshmen were starting on either side of the ball.
“This could be the start of something special,” he said.
The high school volleyball program was cut last season because the team had not won a game in three years, but this year the athletics department decided to bring it back in hopes that the one-year hiatus would propel the program. It worked.
“This year we won seven varsity games, which is multiple times better than before. One great thing about volleyball is a lot of girls are coming back next year because we only lost two seniors. Also, the junior high volleyball team has many girls, and that will continue to build this program,” Lytle said.
Lytle said over his eight years at Salt River, with four as the athletic director, he can’t believe how proud he is of everything the student-athletes have accomplished. He said they are getting better every year.
“To have the development we have had in seven years gives me so much hope for where we will be in 14 years, or 20 or 40 years, and then we will have to build multiple trophy cases,” Lytle said. To the student-athletes, he said, “Twenty years from now, you can bring your children here and show them that is your trophy and your banner hanging in the gym.”
Nola Johnson, the junior high volleyball coach, said she would like to thank every parent and family member of the girls who participated on both the gold and black volleyball teams for their support in helping the players to be successful.
Junior high football coach Kevin Voit said he had “a great group of guys” this year.
“You should have seen them in the last practice, all doing up-downs and working hard,” Voit said. “That is a big improvement from where they started, when they were not able to even run one lap. They really have come a long way.”
Varsity football coach Troy Head said he believes his team was very good. Despite being young and inexperienced, a lot was gained from this season.
“They never gave up, they kept trying and were awarded with the win over Cibecue,” he said. “I also want to send one last thank-you to the upperclassmen for continuing to come out and be leaders. To you underclassmen, thanks for working hard and I really believe you will be a special team.”