Several Greenwood High School athletes and coaches were honored last week during the third annual River Valley Best of Preps awards banquet held at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
After being postponed earlier due to the historic flooding in the area, the event was finally held on June 11th, sponsored by the Southwest Times Record newspaper.
The special guest for the banquet was Gabby Douglas. The 23-year-old Olympic gymnast was a member of Team USA and became the first black female to earn the individual all-around title in London, England seven years ago as a teenager.
“It was extraordinary, amazing. Sometimes I can’t even put it into words how great it was to achieve that goal and make history,” she said of her accomplishments. “And at the same time, inspire the next person behind you.”
Douglas admits she’s still coming to terms with the impact she has on others, but despite a few “bumps in the road,” she’s embracing her role model status. She wants to help others realize their goals.
Among the many award winners, Greenwood was well-represented at the event. Bulldogs’ football quarterback and baseball shortstop Peyton Holt was named the Male Athlete of the Year.
Holt led the ‘Dogs to their second consecutive state gridiron title last December and is committed to play college baseball at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Greenwood’s Mariah Hamilton was selected as the softball Player of the Year, helping the Lady Bulldogs reach the Class 5A state finals. She will continue her athletic career at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
GHS coach John Kincade was honored as the wrestling Coach of the Year after his Bulldogs won the dual state championship this past winter. Kincade also founded the wrestling program at Greenwood.
Cross Country head coach Jim Andrews was also named Coach of the Year, and two of his top GHS runners were similarly honored.
Senior-to-be Taylor Koeth and graduated senior Nathan Gonzales were selected as the female and male cross country Athletes of the Year. Gonzales will also continue his running career in college.