Guyer, Clement earn top athlete awards
COCOLAMUS — East Juniata High School held its annual athletic banquet on Thursday night with a unique twist — the event was set up as a Zoom meeting by Juniata County School District Athletic Director Travis Quici and was simultaneously broadcast through Facebook Live.
The event highlighted Senior Class MVPs from each of the school’s 11 sports teams, presented the Tigers’ District 4 Sportsmanship Awards and recognized individuals for the outstanding male and female athlete of the year.
The school also presented its annual Perna Award and Tiger Award.
Coaches and school administrators took turns presenting the awards while athletes joined into the broadcast.
The night began with unveiling of each team’s Senior MVP, followed by the more prestigious awards, including the EJ Scholastic Athlete Awards given to athletes who excelled on the field and in the classroom. The female winner of the Scholastic Athlete Award was Thea Neimond, while Christopher Nipple won the Male Scholastic Athlete Award. Both Neimond and Nipple also won the female and male District 4 Sportsmanship Awards, respectively.
East Juniata’s Outstanding Male Athlete Award was presented to Xavier Clement, who shined in both soccer and basketball. Clement finished fifth in the Tri-Valley League with 35 total points, while finishing fourth with 16 goals. On the basketball court, Clement was a second-team Tri-Valley League All-Star, averaging 12.5 points per game while leading the Tigers in 3-pointers and steals.
East Juniata’s Outstanding Female Athlete Award was presented to Clarye Guyer, who was a star three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track and field. She was a second-team Tri-Valley League All-Star in soccer and in basketball was a Top 10 scorer in the TVL, finished Top 5 in steals and Top 3 in 3-pointers made. Guyer was also a second-team All-Star in basketball and excelled throwing the javelin.
The Perna Award is annually given to a student-athlete that has faced adversity and continues to live with enthusiasm. The award was presented to Dale Lightner. The Tiger Award is an award given to a student athlete that shows pride and discipline in sports and in the classroom. The Tiger Award was presented to Brandon Marker.
The individual sports MVPs included: Amanda Trego (cheerleading), Mitchell Watts (golf), Thea Neimond (girls soccer), Xavier Clement (boys soccer), Clarye Guyer (girls basketball), Xavier Clement (boys basketball), Paris Feltman (softball), Logan Wagner (baseball), Madison McDonald (girls track), Tanner Martin (boys track) and Maria Rickenbaugh (air rifle).
Trego was named the school’s senior cheerleading MVP for her leadership.
“Amanda has been an integral part of our cheerleading squad for many years,” coach Laura Chubb said. “You have shined as a base and as a captain and the best thing is you never gave anyone a hard time about doing things and always did what was asked of you. You have taught our future cheerleaders wonderful ethics.”
Watts played a big part in the success of the East Juniata golf team’s run to the state championships, where the team placed sixth in the PIAA Class 3A golf championships.
“A lot of that success was due to our outstanding senior Mitchell Watts,” East Juniata golf coach Mike Zendt said. “He always seemed to come through with a good score when we needed it.”
Neimond was a dominant girls soccer player, who was named the 2019 Tri-Valley League girls soccer MVP after leading the league in scoring in TVL competition with 69 points, including 25 goals. Neimond scored the game-winner in the District 4 championship game over Bloomsburg and helped lead the Tigers in the PIAA playoffs.
“She wasn’t an extremely outspoken girl, but she didn’t need to be with how she played on the field,” assistant coach Christian Dressler said. “She played with endless amounts of grit and determination that could push the team forward in times of doubt. As a four-year starter, she undoubtably made her mark at East Juniata and she scored a ton of goals and had a lot of assists but those totals never mattered to her. She cared about winning with her teammates.”
Clement helped lead the boys soccer team to an upset victory over Halifax in the first round of the PIAA Class A tournament.
“I wanted to say congratulations on a great season boys,” boys soccer coach Noah Brackbill said. “I wanted to especially thank all of the seniors and wish Xavier congratulations on winning the senior MVP award. I wish all of you the best of luck in the future.”
Guyer played a pivotal role on the court for the East Juniata girls basketball team, leading the Tigers in points and finished second on the team in steals while earning a second-team TVL All-Star nod.
“She was our team-leading scorer, finished second in steals and often found herself as the target of many teams’ opposing defenses,” girls basketball coach Travis Quici said. “She was unselfish and always put the team first.”
Clement was a versatile player on the basketball court who excelled in shooting from 3-point range and was a consistent scorer for the Tigers who earned second-team TVL All-Star honors last season.
“This individual was a team leader — not only in points — but as a mentor to the younger players on the team,” East Juniata coach Wes Diehl said. “His attitude toward the game was one of tremendous talent and passion toward basketball. Thank you for what you have brought to EJ boys basketball. Your ability, drive and love for the game has been nothing short of a demonstration of strong commitment. I wish you the best of luck in your future and thank you for representing the Tigers of East Juniata.”
Feltman was recognized as East Juniata’s senior MVP for the hard work and dedication she put into the sport over the last four years.
“She shared great amounts of hard work and perseverance throughout her high school athletic career,” East Juniata softball coach Lauren Cheran said. “Her ability to track a flyball and outsmart her competitors on the bases came natural. She made both look effortless at times. Along with her dedication to the team, she was a true leader, both on and off the field.”
Wagner was a stellar player for the East Juniata baseball team, who was a star first baseman for the Tigers. Wagner compiled a career batting average of .297 with 44 hits with 12 hits two triples and four home runs and 32 RBIs.
“Logan has played baseball all of his life and is committed to continue playing baseball at the college level while getting his education at Penn State-Dubois,” Tigers coach Justin Martin said. “He was a consistent player on offense and defense. I can remember many times where he would save a play from an error with his glove skills. Those types of plays don’t show up in the stats and those types of plays can only be recognized by seeing them in person.”
McDonald was a strong competitor in track and field for the Tigers, leading a 4×100 relay team that ran the event in 53.82 seconds, a personal best and good enough for ninth all-time at EJ. McDonald was also skilled in the long and triple jump.
“Maddie has grown so much as a person and as an athlete in the four years I’ve known her,” Tigers’ track coach Cory Benner said. “She is a tremendous spirit and has a really strong will to win. I am very lucky personally to have been able to teach and to coach such an awesome person.”
Martin excelled in hurdle events, including a PR at the District 4 championships last season in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.38 seconds, ninth all-time at EJ. He also competed in the 4×400 relay.
“Tanner is the kind of guy that lives and breathes track,” Benner said. “His hard work and dedication truly paid off.”
Rickenbaugh earned the first senior MVP air rifle award at East Juniata. By the end of the year she became a tremendous and reliable scorer for the rifle team.
“Rickenbaugh came to us with very little experience, but she improved tremendously throughout the year,” coach Rodney Shoop said. “She was a very steady influence on the younger kids. She was always there with the other seniors whenever you needed her. You never had to tell her what to do, she just did it and her scores improved tremendously.”