Parents, friends, and supporters of Bullard High School athletics gathered to celebrate the successes of the BHS athletic department in the 2016-2017 school year at the annual BHS Athletic Banquet Monday, May 1, inside the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center.
“The coaches, as a whole, are so proud of all the Panther athletes,” said Jeff Shrode, BHS head athletic trainer and emcee for the event. “Throughout the year, we had many successes and some hard times. Even through major changes, the kids excelled in their sports. Through it all, each and every kid fought hard and showed the character we try to convey. Much thanks to the Bullard Athletic Booster Club and the Methodist church for making the event possible.”
Attendees to the 2016 BHS Athletic Banquet were treated to a catered dinner by Luby’s in Tyler, with members of the Bullard Athletic Boosters Club assisted with the meal arrangements.
The members of the BHS Panther varsity football team were the first to be recognized at the banquet. The Panthers achieved a regular season record of 3-7 overall, 0-6 in district play in the 2016 season, missing the opportunity for postseason action.
Panther football players Derek Landrum, Joey Padrucco, Tre Crayton, and Major Tennison were recognized by as the team's captains for the 2016-2017 season.
Each of the Panthers' position coaches presented awards to the best player or players at each position.
Members of the Panther varsity football team receiving position awards included Luke Bowman, receiving the Outstanding Offensive Back award; Thomas Brooks, receiving the Outstanding Linebacker award; Derek Landrum, receiving the Outstanding Defensive Lineman award; Tre Crayton, receiving the Outstanding Defensive Back award; Landrum and Austin Childs, receiving the Outstanding Offensive Lineman award; D'Juan Martin, receiving the Outstanding Special Teams award; Nic Costas, receiving the Outstanding Receiver award; and Toby Thatcher, receiving the Attack Team Player of the Year award.
The BHS Cross Country team competed well during their season, advancing several runners to the Regional Cross Country Meet. Cross Country coach Chris Pawlak presented Emily Berry with the Outstanding Female Runner award, as well as Connor Hanna with the Outstanding Male Runner Award.
The BHS varsity volleyball team ended the 2016 volleyball season with a season record of 23-14, 8-2 in district play. The team advanced to the playoffs, falling in the Bi-District round of the playoffs to the Rusk Lady Eagles.
The Lady Panther varsity volleyball team's awards were presented by head coach Cristy O'Bannon. Emily Pittman was awarded Most Improved Player, while Sarah McKeethan was awarded Most Outstanding Player.
The BHS Lady Panther basketball team was on fire throughout the season, tying the school record of wins with a 31-7 season for the third straight season. The team finished district play with a 8-2 record and were named as the runners-up for the District Championship. The Lady Panthers made their way through the playoffs to the Regional Semifinals for the second consecutive season, but were defeated by the defending State champions Argyle Lady Eagles, 36-24.
Head Coach Barry Gill awarded the team's Most Improved Player to Lauren Zachry, as well as the team's Most Outstanding Player award to Hannah Lloyd and Abby Story.
The Panther men's basketball team completed its season-long campaign with a record of 4-23, 1-9 in district play.
The team awards were presented by head coach Monta Jeffley. The entire Panther varsity basketball team was presented with the Most Improved Player award, while Evan Hodges received the Most Outstanding Player award.
The BHS tennis program also had a strong season, with several players competing strongly at the District and Regional tennis meets.
Presented by head coach Josh Boyd, the Most Improved Player award was received by Crosby Peer. Jackson Peer was the recipient of the Panther Tennis Most Valuable Player award. The Lady Panther Most Valuable Player award was presented to Kallie Hardin.
The Panther baseball team completed the regular season with a 12-16-1 record, 5-5 in district play. The team recently competed in the playoffs, where they defeated the Henderson Lions in the Bi-District round, but were defeated by the Canton Eagles in the Area round.
Panther baseball head coach Chad Linder awarded the team's Most Improved Player award to Jansen Mattingly, Offensive Player of the Year to Jacob Johnson, Defensive Player of the Year to Cody Rowan, and Most Valuable Player to Colton Bowman.
The Lady Panther softball team has been a strong team to beat, achieving a regular season of 21-11, 8-2, 8-2 in district play, and was named the District Co-Champions. The team defeated the Tatum Lady Eagles in Bi- District, but was recently defeated by the Pittsburg Lady Pirates in the Area round.
The team's awards were presented by Lady Panther softball head coach Megan Dobrinski. Payton Hancock received the team's Most Improved Player award. Destinee Dixon was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year, while Ashlyn Seaton was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year.
The Panther and Lady Panther golf teams were in full swing this year, with several players advancing to the regional tournament, as well as Jaxson Bellar and Hayes Esposito representing the Panther golf team at the State Golf Tournament as of time of publication.
Panther and Lady Panther Golf Head Coach John Taylor presented the Most Outstanding Male Golfer award to Bellar, while Bailea Mapes was named the Most Outstanding Female Golfer.
The Lady Panther track and field team had a successful track season this year, sending several members to the Regional meet.
Coach Pawlak presented Macy Riley with the Most Outstanding Field Events award. Emily Berry was the recipient of the Most Outstanding Runner award.
The Panther track team also had a successful track season, sending members to the Area, Regional, and State track meets. D’Juan Martin was awarded the Most Outstanding Field Events award and Most Outstanding Runner award by Panther Track Head Coach Jason Taylor.
The Panther and Lady Panther powerlifting teams had a strong season this year, sending one athlete to the State meet.
BHS Powerlifting Head Coach Jody Allen presented the Most Outstanding Male Lifter award to 2016 State Champion Toby Thatcher, as well as the Outstanding Female Lifter award to Leighann Langston.
The Men's and Women's Athletic Fighting Heart Awards, presented to athletes that possess strong work ethic, great attitudes, and overall character-filled individuals, were awarded at the event to Phelps, as well as Katie Bell and Tracey Johnson, respectively.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes male and female leadership awards were shared with a pair of athletes, as Nic Costas and Derek Landrum were presented with the Male Leadership award, while Abby Story and Faith Crist received the Female Leadership award.
The Panther and Lady Panther awards, voted on by the coaches, are given to the athlete who is abundantly productive in several sports showing above average athletic ability while being respected by players as a leader on the team.
Tre Crayton was named the recipient of the Panther award, while Destinee Dixon was presented with the Lady Panther award.
BHS student athletes Emily Pittman and Toby Thatcher were honored with the Panther and Lady Panther Fighting Heart awards, respectively.
The final award presented at the 2017 BHS Athletic Banquet was the Jacksonville Daily Progress Scholar Athlete of the Year award, received by Carley Goode and Tyler Huffman.