Several GHS players, coaches receive SWTR awards
By Richard White
Last Thursday evening, June 1st, the Southwest Times Record newspaper honored the accomplishments of area high school athletes and coaches at the inaugural Best of River Valley Preps Awards.
The Greenwood School District was well represented at the event with several GHS student-athletes and coaches recognized for their outstanding performances during the 2016-17 school year.
According to the paper’s website, the banquet “is the Times Record’s way of saying thank you to the thousands of outstanding high school athletes, coaches, and fans who allow us to share their stories, performances and passions.”
The event recognized and honored the top performers in 17 sports from Sebastian, Logan, Crawford and Scott counties in Western Arkansas, and Le Flore and Sequoyah counties in Eastern Oklahoma.”
The sports gala also featured current NFL and former Arkansas Razorback star running back Darren McFadden as special guest and presenter. Three Greenwood students – Abbie Jones, Ireland Robbins, and Arron McAllister – sang the National Anthem.
The Bulldogs captured the biggest prize of the night when junior Connor Noland was honored as the River Valley Athlete of the Year. A two-sport star at Greenwood, Noland is the starting quarterback for the football team and the top pitcher for the Diamond ‘Dogs in baseball.
Noland has verbally committed to play college football for the Arkansas Razorbacks and will be part of the 2018 recruiting class. He also hopes to play baseball for the Hogs, and with another good season on the mound next spring, he will likely draw a lot of attention in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft as well.
Greenwood High School also had the area Players of the Year in girls tennis (Olivia Gaston), boys tennis (Andrew Anderson), volleyball (Madi Pfeifer), and boys golf (Evan Griffith). In addition, GHS volleyball player Lexi Castillow was selected to receive the Lionheart award.
Four GHS head coaches were also honored for their accomplishments. Ken Hamilton was named as the area Coach of the Year in tennis after leading his Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs to the 6A state title.
John Kincade was recognized as the Coach of the Year in wrestling. Kincade founded the GHS program and has coached numerous state champion wrestlers over the past five years.
Ronnie Sockey was honored as Coach of the Year in softball after taking his Lady Bulldogs to the finals of the 6A state tournament, finishing as state runners-up.
Trey Holloway was named the baseball Coach of the Year for another outstanding season, guiding his Bulldogs to a 26-7 overall record, reaching the state semi-finals.
Asked to comment on the numerous awards given to Greenwood players and coaches, district Athletic Director Dustin Smith said, "We had an incredible year athletically, and this event showcased that fact. Greenwood was well-represented in all aspects.
“I was extremely proud of our coaches and student-athletes who did an outstanding job of representing the 'G' and the Greenwood school district all year,” Smith continued.
“This event was an awesome testament to the leadership we have in our coaches and the outstanding athletes we have here. For our athletes and coaches to be recognized by the area for their accomplishments is tremendous. It is always a great day to a Bulldog!"