Baublitz, Houtz headline Juniata awards

MIFFLINTOWN–On Thursday night, Juniata High School held its annual Senior Awards Banquet via video chat on Zoom and announced the winners of the school’s athletic awards. Juniata County School District Athletic Director Travis Quici hosted the awards banquet, which was streamed on Facebook Live. Mid-distance runner Garrett Baublitz and decorated swimmer Sydney Houtz swept the awards for Scholastic Athletes, Outstanding Senior Athletes and District 6 Sportsmanship.

Baublitz and Houtz were also named team Most Valuable Players in their respective sports.

The banquet went on to announce the senior MVP honors for all the sports that Juniata High School participates in. The winners are as follows: CJ Bonson (baseball), Jamie Bailer (boys basketball), Tad Shellenberger (boys soccer), Hayley Snyder (cheerleading), Kyli Dowling (field hockey), Stephen Ranck (football), Olivia Clark (girls basketball), Nylah Pannebaker (girls soccer), Hunter Johns (volleyball), Lacey Swab (rifle), Maci Kreider (softball), George Hazard (tennis), Megan Brubaker (girls track), and Baublitz (boys track).

Both the golf and wrestling squads had no seniors on their rosters, so no Senior MVPs were named.

Bonson’s award was presented by his coach, Nick Beward, who offered nothing but praise to his team’s MVP winner who hit .462 en route to an appearance as a Tri-Valley League Second-Team All-Star.

“Many different aspects were taken into account when assigning this award, including not only hard work on the field, but also in the classroom,” Beward said about his team’s MVP.

Al Ream presented Bailer with the boys basketball MVP award, citing Bailer’s leadership and talent on the court as reasons for the MVP honor.

“Jamie was our senior leader,” Ream said. “He was a TVL First-Team All-Star… and he was also in the Top 15 in the league in scoring.”

During his time on the boys soccer team, Shellenberger displayed elite skills and helped Juniata win its first district title. He also leaves as the school’s all-time leading goal scorer. Coach Jared Byler acknowledged all Shellenberger did for the program.

“Tad was a huge, integral part to our success over the last four years,” Byler said. “Tad was a guy that we could rely on to score goals for us–he had many important goals for us over his four year career.”

For cheerleading, coach Rachael Clark was pleased to give the MVP award to Hayley Snyder, who was a captain in her final two years.

“She demonstrated leadership skills… and made sure others were included,” Clark said. “She was a role model for her teammates and the junior high cheerleaders.”

Cross Country coach Jeff Miller had the honor to award Baublitz and Houtz with MVP awards for the boys and girls teams. He sang the praises of Baublitz who set numerous records and lauded Houtz for her hard work and improvement over her career.

“Garrett is a very reliable, hard working individual. He was always at practice and had a great attitude,” Miller said. ” Her senior year.. she started training a little more and she dropped her times by five minutes. She will always give you 100 percent.”

Baublitz was not done for the night as track coach Kim Hart presented the track MVP awards to him and Megan Brubaker.

“(Baublitz) has represented Juniata County and Juniata High School as probably the greatest long distance runner we will ever see,” Hart said. “(Brubaker) is our star jumper. She is a wonderful, well-rounded person… and she was a state qualifier last year, just missing placing–finishing ninth.”

For field hockey, coach Harley Straub presented the award to Dowling who excelled on the offensive end.

“She was a three-year starter,” Straub said. “She also led the team in all offensive aspects with 17 goals, three assists, and 66 shots on goal.”

First-year coach Kurt Condo announced the MVP award for the football team. He listed the accomplishments that Ranck accrued over his career on the field and mentioned his versatility, playing on offense and defense.

“Stephen was a three-year letter winner, and a two-way starter the past two seasons,” Condo said. “Stephen was a team captain and a great leader on and off the field.”

Olivia Clark was also a player who contributed on both offense and defense, but she did it on the court. Girls basketball coach Mike Smith credited Clark for the Indians success.

“Olivia helped lead the Indians to a winning season, earned league All-Star honors and was Top 10 in scoring, steals, rebounds, blocked shots and free throw percentage,” Smith said.”

For girls soccer, co-coach Garrick Paden awarded Pannebaker with the teams MVP honor, for her role with the team as a leader.

“In the three years that I have been involved with the program, Nylah has been a key part to the team each year,” Paden said. “She has always given 100 percent on the practice field and game field.”

Coach Susan Paden complimented Johns’ natural ability and her importance to the teams success in matches.

“You’d never be able to tell that she had only been playing volleyball for a couple of years because her skills are that impressive,” Paden said. “She was a great asset to the team and so much fun to have around.”

In their first year as a program, Air Rifle coach Rod Shoop gave his team’s MVP award to Swab who used her previous experience to help those around her succeed.

“Lacey came with experience-she shoots in all kinds of competitions,” Shoop said. “I’ve never worked with a more mature, young lady than Lacey Swab. She became, right away, the leading influencer on the team.”

Jess King, the softball coach for Juniata, had the tough task of picking an MVP out of field of seven seniors, whose final season was cut short. She chose Kreider for her ability to go above and beyond what the coaches asked of her.

“She was always there to help me at the beginning of the practice and was also one of the last ones to leave,” King said. “She gives everything she has for every second of practice and she’s just been an awesome leader on the team.”

Rounding out the team MVP awards was Sherri Landis who awarded Hazard the honor for his vast improvement over the course of his career with Juniata.

“He’s not only a good tennis player, he’s a very nice person,” Landis said. “I wish him the best in the future.”

Quici ended the night by announcing that both Houtz and Baublitz won the Outstanding Athlete awards and the District 6 Sportsmanship medals. Juniata principal Benjamin Fausey was the presenter for the Scholastic Athlete awards, which go to the male and female athlete with the highest GPA–being Houtz and Baublitz.


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