Student athletes honored during the 2011-2012 Gladiator Athletic Banquet

Image: Jase Holden and Kaytlyn Bales received Gladiator and Lady Gladiator of the Year.

Jase Holden and Kaytlyn Bales received Gladiator and Lady Gladiator of the Year. (Anne Sutherland)

Gladiator Coliseum —  All the gear has been stored away, the final buzzer has sounded, the dust has settled and the finish line has been crossed to successfully complete an exceptional year for Italy Gladiator Athletics.

In all the honor and tradition, the Italy High School Gladiator of the Year and Lady Gladiator of the year were announced, Jase Holden and Kaitlyn Bales, respectively.

Richard Cook, current Gladiator Fan-of-the-Year, passed the torch to his friend, Billy Ray Turner for the 2012-2013 athletic season. “All the children in the Gladiator uniform are mine,” said Turner. “I just might be a little louder now,” Billy Ray said with a smile. “I am proud to be the Fan-of-the-Year and will do you proud.”

Special guest, Bryan Irwin, head football coach at IHS from 1995-1997, spoke to the athletes and their families. “The tradition at Italy includes the heart,” Irwin said. “And there are no guarantees in this world, just opportunities.” Irwin introduced Keith Davis to the athletes and was honored to do so.

The recipients for the Keith Davis award:
Alyssa Richards
Devonta Simmons
Larry Mayberry

Andrew Henderson, brother of David Henderson, presented the 27th annual Henderson Scholarship Award to Larry Mayberry.

In volleyball, Coach Tina Richards announced the Offensive MVP as Kaitlyn Rosa, Defensive MVP as Jimeka Copeland and Bailey Bumpus. The Fighting Heart Award went Alyssa Richards.

Coach Craig Bales announced the football awards and mentioned JV had a 6-1 record and were district champs. The varsity have been district champs since 2005. Bales said, “When you are a champion at heart, excellence is the result.”
Offensive MVP-Larry Mayberry
Defensive MVP-Ethan Saxon
Jimmie Davis Award-Omar Estrada

Girls Basketball
Coach Randy Parks announced the girl’s basketball awards. He was very proud to announce five of his players were Academic All District:
Kaitlyn Rossa
Megan Richards
Alyssa Richards
Jaclynn Lewis
Kaitlyn Bales
Offensive MVP-Jimeka Copeland, Kaitlyn Rossa
Defensive MVP-Alyssa Richards

Boys Basketball
Coach Aidan Callahan announced the boy’s basketball awards:
Defensive MVP-Larry Mayberry
Offensive MVP-Devonta Simmons
Robert Lewis Memorial-Jase Holden

Powerlifting awards were announced by Coach Bales:
Girls MVP-Kaitlyn Bales, qualified for state four years in a row and medaled each time
Boys MVP-Kelton Bales

Coach Jennifer Reeves, 6 year veteran at IHS, announced the softball awards. “I am very proud of these girls. The softball team achieved regional quarterfinals again this year,” Reeves said.

Second Team, All District:
Katie Byers
Madison Washington

First Team, All District:
Alma Suaste
Bailey Bumpus
Jaclynn Lewis

Defensive MVP, Pitcher of the Year
Megan Richards

Offensive MVP
Alyssa Richards

Nancy Ferguson Carter Award
Bailey Bumpus

Coach Callahan announced the Tennis awards:
Girls MVP-Kaitlyn Bales
Boys MVP-Jase Holden

Coach Josh Ward awarded the following boys awards:
Honorable Mention All District
Catcher-Ross Stiles
Pitcher-Caden Jacinto
1st Base-Cole Hopkins

All District
Pitcher-Justin Buchanan

Offensive MVP-Justin Buchanan
Defensive MVP-Ross Stiles
Loyd Davidson Award-Justin Buchanan

Coach Hank Hollywood was proud to annouce the trip to state in track. Freshman Kortnei Johnson placed 1st, 2nd and 4th in state. She was presented with a box of Wheaties with her picture on the front. "We are all waiting for your picture to be on the front of this box, " explained her classmates.

Track Girl MVP-Kortnei Johnson
Track Boy MVP-Chase Hamilton
Cross Country Girl MVP-Andrea Lanning
Cross Country Boy MVP-Steven Little

Megan Richards gave the speech about Italy tradition, “We are Italy Gladiators, honored to represent 2012,” Richards said. “We have contributed hard work and dedication, blood, sweat and tears and honor the ones before us who set an example and standard.”

The 2012 seniors presented each coach that had been with them for four years with a signed ball from their class. Kelly Lewis, Italy Athletic Booster Club representative, announced the four $500 scholarship winners, Megan Richards, Jase Holden, Kaitlyn Rossa and Brandon Souder.

Megann Lewis Harlow, 2007 IHS graduate and Hardin Simmons University graduate, spoke to the athletes and their families about using the experience in sports and taking it to help in life’s decisions, “Take pride in what you do, be the best in what you do.” She used the efforts in sports and took them to college and realized it was good thing to do.

Senior Athletes:

  • Destani Anderson
  • Kaytlyn Bales
  • Beverly Barnhart
  • Justin Buchanan
  • Bailey Bumpus
  • Drenda Burk
  • Alex DeMoss
  • Omar Estrada
  • Jase Holden
  • Kyle Jackson
  • Andrea Lanning
  • Larry Mayberry, Jr.
  • Isaac Medrano
  • Sa’Kendra Norwood
  • Jimesha Reed
  • Megan Richards
  • Kaitlyn Rossa
  • Ethan Saxon
  • Devonta Simmons
  • Brandon Souder
  • Ross Stiles
  • Alma Suaste

Special Thanks:

  • Larry Mayberry, Sr.
  • Sandy & Larry Eubank
  • Lisa & Vincent Jacinto
  • Mary & Lucio Jacinto
  • Jon Mathers
  • Italy ISD
  • Monolithic Constructors, Inc.
  • Cheryl Owens
  • Nancy & Brentley Byers
  • Kelly & Russ Lewis
  • Dora & Barry Bassett
  • Casey & Shawn Holden
  • Kristi & Mark Souder
  • Mark Stiles