Longhorns News · 2019-2020 Athletic Awards Announced

The 2019-2020 Athletic Awards have been announced. Congratulations to our winners!

Longhorn Athlete of the Year: Athletes are nominated by members of the Athletic Council (coaching body). All Varsity athletes are eligible for nomination. Each nominee is voted on by the Athletic Council in three separate areas; Ability, Attitude, and Leadership. The award is given to one Female and one Male. This year’s Longhorn Athlete’s of the Year are Paris Mather and Nolan Ragland.

Paris Mather is the 2019-2020 Female Longhorn Athlete of the Year. Mather is a four year track & field contributor, four year basketball standout, played volleyball for two seasons, and ran cross country for two season. In 2019 Mather was First Team all CVC in cross country including a top 5 finish at the CVC Championship race. In basketball, Mather was the strongest overall player on a 17-7 team during the 2019-2020 season. She led the team in points per game and many important defensive categories. She had three 20 point games in key match ups that contributed to big wins for the Longhorns. Her hard work earned her First Team All Conference and All District Honorable Mention. Despite not having a 2020 Track & Field season, Mather was a main contributor in 2019; she was Second Team All PAC in the 800m,  4x400m, and the 4x800m. She is currently a school record holder for the 4x800m and the 4x400m. In her career she was a 2017 state qualifier for the 4x400m as well as a regional qualifier in 2018 for the 800m and in 2017/2018 for the 4x400m. She was a team captain for cross country, basketball, and track & field. Her leadership abilities and positive attitude set a fantastic example for her teammates. She is a fierce competitor with a high work ethic and relentlessness tenacity. Her commitment to spiritual growth is impressive, displaying Christian service to her teammates and community. Mather was the 2018-2019 OHSAA Archie Griffin Award winner, this years OHSAA Scholar Athlete of the Year, and received the Joe King Commitment to Excellence Award for participating in a sport for twelve consecutive seasons during her time at Lutheran West. She will be heading to Case Western Reserve where she will compete collegiality in Track & Field.

Nolan Ragland is the 2019-2020 Male Longhorn Athlete of the Year. Ragland has participated in football, basketball, indoor track & field, as well as outdoor track & field. Ragland was a force for the 7-3 football Longhorns in 2019. Rarely coming off the field, he was integral on both sides of the ball including special teams. His effort earned him All Metro Division First Team CVC at the linebacker position and Northeast Ohio Lakes All District Honorable Mention. He was selected as the 2019 Culture Award winner for his leadership within the football program. In basketball, Ragland was a key energy player for the Longhorns playing an up tempo, physical brand of basketball. Ragland showed maturity in knowing his role and supporting his teammates in all their successes and lifting them up through failures. While he didn’t show up much on the score sheet his energy and passion to compete was often a needed spark for the 15-9 Longhorns throughout the season. He was awarded the Servant Leadership Award for the Longhorns at the conclusion of the basketball season. In track & field, he is a school record holder in the Weight Throw and the Hammer Throw. He was an indoor state qualifier in the 2019 and 2020 season for the Indoor Weight Throw. Ragland is also a Joe King Commitment to Excellence winner having participated in twelve seasons during his Lutheran West career. A captain for each season this year; Ragland embodies servant leadership. He prioritized his teammates and led by example with his work ethic, compete level, and selfless actions. Ragland will continue football and track & field at the University of Rochester this fall.

The Karen Wittrock Christian Sportsmanship Award: Any junior or senior is eligible for nomination by members of the Athletic Council (Coaching Body). This award is given to the Female who best exemplifies the ideals of Christian Sportsmanship in both word and deed. The recipients are chosen by majority vote from the Athletic Council. This year’s Karen Wittrock Christian Sportsmanship Award goes to Taylor Warner.

Taylor Warner is the 2019-2020 Karen Wittrock Christian Sportsmanship Award winner. Warner was a member of the cross country team, the indoor track & field team, as well as the outdoor track & field team. As a member of the Lutheran West cross country program, Warner helped the team qualify for the Regional meet in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She also helped the team win the 2018 PAC Championship and earned team runner up honors at the 2019 CVC Championship meet where she was named Honorable Mention. A four year letter winner in both cross country and track, she was also selected as a captain. Warner is hard working, selfless, and dedicated to her craft and her teammates. She displays a high level of class, poise and honesty. Her commitment to her spiritual growth is commendable and she led by example with a servants heart. Her display of Christian Sportsmanship in both word and deed made her a great fit for this prestigious award. Warner was also the 2019-2020 CVC Sportsmanship Award winner. She is headed to Bowling Green State University this fall receiving a number of reputable scholarships.

The Robert Luecke Memorial Christian Sportsmanship Award: Any junior or senior is eligible for nomination by members of the Athletic Council (Coaching Body). This award is given to the Male who best exemplifies the ideals of Christian Sportsmanship in both word and deed. The recipients are chosen by majority vote from the Athletic Council. This year’s Robert Luecke Memorial Christian Sportsmanship Award goes to Tyler DeSimpelare.

Tyler DeSimpelare is the 2019-2020 Robert Luecke Memorial Christian Sportsmanship Award winner. DeSimplare is a member of the men’s soccer program, the men’s basketball program, and also serves as a place kicker for the Longhorn football team. As a junior captain of the men’s soccer team, DeSimpelare played a vital role in the midfield for the 2019 Longhorns. He was a CVC Honorable Mention selection and also earned the same recognition for the Greater Cleveland District. While he was a key piece of the puzzle for the Longhorn attack, he also showed class and dignity in how he treated opponents, officials, and his teammates. In basketball DeSimpelare earned the starting point guard position as a Junior on heavy laden Senior team. His work ethic and commitment to get better every day earned him the program’s Most Improved award.  DeSimpelare’s thoughts, actions, and character come from a genuine and Christ-centered perspective. His servant leadership was not only to his teammates on the floor, but also to the many of the strong supporters and stakeholders in the Lutheran West community. Tyler’s enthusiasm and joy to experience his teammates success has been a major part of building a positive team culture in both soccer and basketball.

The Joe King Commitment to Excellence Award: This award is earned by any student-athlete who participated in twelve seasons for their Lutheran West career. The award promotes a multi-sport approach and commitment to the school athletic program. This year’s Joe King Commitment to Excellence Award Winners are Kristin Groppe, Paris Mather, Emma Bernardini, Taylor Warner, Nolan Ragland, Hunter Albers, and Tyler Robinson.

Kristin Groppe has been a part of the cross country, basketball, and outdoor track & field programs for her high school career. She was a captain for cross country and track & field. She is a school record holder for the 800m, 1600m, 3200m, 4x800m, 4x400m, and the 5k (cross country). She is a state qualifier for cross country in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She was a track & field state qualifier for the 4×400 in 2017, a regional qualifier in the 800m in 2019, the 1600m in 2018, and the 4x400m in both 2017 and 2018; including a District championship in the 800m in 2019. She is a conference champion in the 800m in 2018 and 2019, the 1600m in 2018 and 2019, the 4x800m in 2018, and the 4x400m in 2018. She has also been an important cog for the women’s basketball team; logging important minutes every game. She will attend Bowling Green State University this fall to run cross country and track & field.

Paris Mather – (see Longhorn Athlete of the Year write-up)

Emma Bernardini – (see NFHS Award of Excellence write-up)

Taylor Warner – (see Karen Wittrock Christian Sportsmanship Award write-up)

Hunter Albers has been a member of the football, basketball, and baseball programs his entire Lutheran West career. Albers was a multi faceted threat for the football program; playing crucial minutes in the defensive secondary while also making a name for himself as one of the areas top place kickers. He was a CVC First Team All Metro Division winner as well as an Honorable Mention selection for the Northeast Ohio Lakes District at the place kicker position. Albers proved to be an important piece for the Longhorn basketball program, carving out a role as a physical defender who was always willing to do the dirty work such as take a charge. His energy was contagious as his high compete mentality pushed his teammates on a daily basis. Albers was also a member of the Longhorn baseball program where he started as a freshman for the District Championship squad. He is an accomplished outfielder who can be counted on for making a play. Albers will head to Muskingum University this fall where he will compete on the football team.

Tyler Robinson has been a member of the golf, basketball, and baseball programs his entire Lutheran West career. Robinson helped guide the Longhorns to four consecutive league championships in golf that spanned two conferences; the PAC and the CVC. He was a 2019 First Team All CVC selection. In basketball, Robinson was a consistent starter for the Longhorn rotation in 2019-2020. A natural shooter Robinson connected on numerous big shots for Lutheran West, helping to lead the team to a 15-9 finish, their best in recent years. In baseball, for the 2019 season he batted .382 and led the team with 24 singles on the season. Robinson was also named the 2019-2020 CVC Sportsmanship Award winner for Lutheran West. He will head to The Ohio State University this fall.

Nolan Ragland – (see Longhorn Athlete of the Year write-up)

The Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award: Sportsmanship, ethics and integrity are essential components of any successful athletic program. As part of an ongoing program to promote Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity, the Ohio High School Athletic Association would like to recognize students who display exemplary sportsmanship. This award is named for Archie Griffin. Mr. Griffin is an Ohio native, the only two-time recipient of the Heisman Trophy for football, and as a professional athlete, he always displayed exemplary sportsmanship. Mr. Griffin, current CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, has been active in promoting sportsmanship, ethics and integrity for many years. He was honored in 1998 as the recipient of the prestigious OHSAA Ethics and Integrity Award. This year’s Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award winners are: Riley Keller and Alex Bearer.

Riley Keller was a member of the women’s basketball program. Keller gave her best effort each and every day for the Longhorns. Regardless of her playing time, she was extremely positive and served as a great role model for the younger players in the program. She was also one of the most committed student-athletes to the strength and conditioning program leading by example with consistency. She embodied teamwork and Christian sportsmanship in a selfless manner living with a high acumen of integrity. Keller will attend the University of Kentucky in the fall.

Alex Bearer was a member of the football team, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field. Bearer also played in the marching band. He was an indoor track & filed state qualifier in the 2018 and 2020 in the Weight Throw. Bearer is applauded by his teammates, coaches, and school administrators for his positive attitude, responsible communication skills, and no excuses mentality. Bearer will attend Ohio Northern University and will compete for the Track & Field team.

OHSAA Courageous Student Award: The Ohio High School Athletic Association continues to disseminate a “Courageous Student” award to be made available to every OHSAA member high school. This award is intended to bring credit to a student who has been involved in, or supportive of, the interscholastic athletic program, and who deserves recognition for courage. Recipients are to have met one or more of the following guidelines; a student who either currently has, or who has overcome, a serious illness, injury, or disability, a student who has overcome great adversity in a positive way, a student who has gone far beyond normal in assisting a fellow student, family member or friend, and/or other extraordinary situations, where a student has displayed tremendous courage against overwhelming odds. This year’s OHSAA Courageous Student Award goes to Grady Walker.

Grady Walker is a member of the football and wrestling programs. Walker has undergone multiple surgeries since his freshman year, but always pushes the pace with his rehabilitation and commitment to the strength and conditioning program. Even with being sidelined, he continued to be a part of the team in any way he could find. This season he wrestled up a weight class all season until his third surgery in February. Mentally tough; Walker will be ready for his senior season.

The OHSAA State Exemplary Award for Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity: The Ohio High School Athletic Association has established an annual state Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award to be made available to every OHSAA member high school. This adult award may be presented to a coach, teacher, administrator, booster, or supporter of the school program. It is an opportunity for every member high school in Ohio to honor one of their own with this prestigious state award. This award goes to a person who reflects a high level of ethics and integrity in dealing with students and the interscholastic athletic programs. This years State Exemplary Award goes to Coach Bob Magee.

Bob Magee was the Head Coach of the Longhorn Bowling program for the past two seasons. Before taking over the program he assisted Ron Reeves for the previous five years. Coach Magee brought home one league championship and brought his team to the District tournament in 2019-2020; including mentoring freshman JT Maslanich to a second place finish at the OHSAA DII state championship. Coach Magee stepped down this season to spend more time with his family after retiring from the Berea Fire Department. Coach Magee led his program with a high level of integrity; focusing on representing Lutheran West with class and dignity.

NFHS Award of Excellence:  The National Federation of High School’s Board of Directors and NFHS Citizenship Committee has permitted each OHSAA member high school to award the NFHS National Award of Excellence to one male and one female senior student who has displayed exemplary sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. This award is to be presented to a student in your school who has exhibited qualities that embody good citizenship, good moral character, and good sporting behavior. This years NFHS Award of Excellence goes to Emma Bernardini and Khalid Morales.

Emma Bernardini was a member of the following programs; volleyball, basketball, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field. Bernardini captained the volleyball program this season as well as the track & field team. She was an indoor track & field state qualifier in the Weight Throw for 2019-2020. She was a Regional qualifier for the Discus in 2018 and 2019, a District Champion in the Discus for 2019, and a PAC runner up in the Discus for 2019. She is hardworking, determined, and always looks out for her teammates in a respectful manner. She exercised exemplary sportsmanship in all her endeavors. Bernardini will attend Mount Vernon Nazarene in the fall and will compete in track & field.

Khalid Morales was a member of the wrestling program. Morales was a CVC and Sectional Champion in 2019-2020 . He placed 5th in the District meet earning an alternate position to the OHSAA State wrestling tournament. Morales reached the 100 win plateau this season and captained the team to a successful season. In the District tournament he lost on a last second take down in two go to state bouts. He showed great sportsmanship after those losses, congratulating both of his opponents on their hard fought victories. Morales was the most edifying athlete on the team, always willing to help others and encourage his teammates through wins or losses. Morales has enlisted in the United States Navy post graduation.

OHSAA Scholar Athlete Award:  As a part of our ongoing program which encourages achievement in the classroom as well as on the playing surface, the OHSAA would like to recognize some of the state’s top scholar-athletes by providing you with two OHSAA Scholar-Athlete Awards. This award exemplifies the commitment that the OHSAA has dedicated to academic excellence while participating in interscholastic athletics. This years Scholar Athlete award winners are Paris Mather and Tommy Tibbitts.

Paris Mather is the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. On top of all Mather’s accomplishments listed above, she took home to top GPA for all female senior student-athletes.

Tommy Tibbits is the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Tibbitts was a vocal leader in the men’s soccer program bringing energy and passion to the pitch on a daily basis. On top of his physical contributions he earned the top GPA for all male senior student-athletes.