Last Tuesday was a wrap for the Bluejays spring sports and a time to commemorate each team for its accomplishments and participation during the season.

The annual spring sports banquet was held at the Waseca Junior Senior High School auditorium, where activities director Joe Hedervare and each of the spring sports coaches spoke on behalf of their team.

Most Valuable Player awards were handed out at the end of the banquet, and captain Cole Halla won for boys track. Coach Abel described Halla, a state qualifier, as being a leader for the team, noting that he set a standard for everyone around him. Odell Frye won for the girls, and Abel talked about how the sprinter, who also qualified and placed in state, has been clutch this season and has led the team to victory multiple times.

Sam O’Brien won for boys golf, and Crystal Cariveau earned the award for the girls. Hammond said that O’Brien is their top player and discussed his commitment to the game. Hammond went on to describe Cariveau’s positivity on the team and how her focus on golf paid off during her high school career.

sports banquet

The MVP winners of this years spring sports at Waseca. From left to right: Cole Halla, Odell Frye, Sam O’Brien, Crystal Cariveau, Zander Fitzsimmons, Michaela Shifflet, Ritchie Diedrich.

Softball player Michaela Shifflet pitched in every inning of every game, and she took the award for the girls softball squad. Coach Lenny Kroll talked about how her attitude is positive on and off the field as well the type of energy she puts into the program. Zander Fitzsimmons won for boys baseball and Coach Nelson said he was a player that was reliable with the bat and someone who is able to bring the team together when they are facing down moments.

sports banquet

The boys tennis team lines up on stage, while coach Kyle Collins takes the podium. (Shafin Khan/Waseca County News)

Ritchie Diedrich closed out the MVP awards by winning it for the boys tennis team, and Coach Kyle Collins talked about his improvement over the summer and how he was arguably the team’s best net payer. He also mentioned his great leadership throughout the season as well.

Madison Gehloff was the WHS female scholar of the year and Ritchie Diedrich added to his award total, winning the same accolade on the male side.

Hedervare opened the evening by introducing Waseca’s track coach Dave Abel to take the stage and kick things off.

Abel spoke highly of everyone on his team and remained humble about the fact he won the section 2AA Coach of the Year award along with Assistant Coach of the Year Gary Meuer. Softball followed up track with words from Lenny Kroll who was not able to attend but read by Hedervare. Kroll highlighted the seniors who will be leaving along with what each girl brought to the table over the course of the season.

Coach Kelvin Nelson and baseball took the stage next with Nelson expressing how excited he is that the team has no graduating seniors and is looking forward to improving with the boys next season. Tennis coach Kyle Collins talked about how much of a pleasure it was to coach the team this year and talked about how the boys handled different competition they faced as the year went on.

“I think there were a lot of positive things this year. The results are not always there for our programs, but the signs of growth are there. Our kids went out and competed, and our teams got better as the season went on,” Hedervare said.

waseca banquet

Ted Hammond speaks at the podium on Tuesday evening at Waseca Junior Senior High School during the spring sports awards banquet. (Photos by Shafin Khan/Waseca County News)

Golf coach Ted Hammond took the stage and began his speech with referencing “Tik Tok” videos the girls team introduced to him and how these videos can go “virus,” which brought laughter from the audience. Hammond went on to describe other songs the girls introduced to him as the season went on, such as “Single Ladies.”

Assistant coach Jake Nelson took over the podium next and spoke about Hammond’s humility and commitment to the team throughout the season. He concluded with speaking about how proud of the girls he was for finishing second in the section and how they were looking forward to the state competition the following week.

The banquet ended with the auditorium singing the Bluejay fight song with everyone joining in as Nelson ended his speech and thanked the parents for their support throughout the season.

Overall, it was a positive spring season for Waseca teams and athletes, with many girls and boys taking the spotlight at various points. And the best news, games were able to be played.

“The future is bright for all of our programs right now,” Hedervare said. “The spring season was definitely a success. It’s hard with the weather to get all the games and contests in, but we were able to pull it off.”

Reach Sports reporter Shafin Khan at 507-835-4283.

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