Meet the winners of the 2021 Arkansas River Valley High School Sports Awards show

Times Record Staff

For the second straight year, the 2021 Arkansas River Valley High School Sports Awards presentation was held in a virtual format on Monday night.

Here are the full winners from Monday's award ceremony, including the player of the year awards along with the premier awards:

Baseball Player of the Year

Connor Johnson, Van Buren, Sr.

Why chosen: Johnson was unquestionably the ace of the Pointer pitching staff in helping Van Buren claim the 5A title. He finished his senior season 14-0 with a 0.77 earned run average, as he allowed nine earned runs in 82 1/3 innings while striking out 121 batters. He was also named the MVP of the 5A championship game.

Female Basketball Player of the Year

Jersey Wolfenbarger, Northside, Sr.

Why chosen: Wolfenbarger did her part in helping Northside win its second state title in three seasons. She led the Lady Bears in points (19) and rebounds (8.8), while averaging 3.4 assists and 1.7 blocks.

Male Basketball Player of the Year

Brayden Oglesby, Howe, Sr.

Why chosen: Oglesby averaged 18 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists as he helped lead the Lions to the 2A state championship game. He also helped Howe win the LeFlore County Tournament championship.

Female Bowler of the Year

Kayla Richardson, Hackett, Sr.

Why chosen: Richardson repeated her All-State honor as she placed eighth in the 4A-3A state tournament, as she rolled a total of 460.

RIVER VALLEY SPORTS AWARDS: Here's how to watch the 2021 Arkansas River Valley Sports Awards show.

Male Bowler of the Year

Andrew Stephens, Southside, So.

Why chosen: Stephens finished as the 6A runner-up as a freshman, but this year, he took the 6A state championship with a three-game total score of 657.

Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year

Macie Cash, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Cash finished as the 5A runner-up for the second straight season as she finished in a time of 19:35.01. Her performance also allowed Greenwood to finish as the 5A runner-up in the team standings. Cash also took first place in four regular-season meets.

Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year

Noah Embrey, Greenwood, So.

Why chosen: Embrey was the runner-up in the 5A boys state meet, finishing in a time of 16:28.24. He also won three regular-season meets, including the Greenwood Invitational in October.

Football Defensive Player of the Year

Jordan Hanna, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Hanna, an impact linebacker who goes 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, was the Bulldogs' leader in tackles (139), sacks (13) and tackles for loss (11) in helping Greenwood to the 6A state championship.

Football Offensive Player of the Year

Hunter Wilkinson, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Wilkinson, a tailback, finished with 1,636 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns. He had 204 yards on 20 carries and two TDs to help rally Greenwood past Lake Hamilton to decide the 6A-West title. Then in the rematch with Lake Hamilton for the 6A championship, Wilkinson rushed for 148 yards and three TDs in the Bulldogs' 49-24 win.

Female Golfer of the Year

Hallie Jones, Greenwood, Jr.

Why chosen: Jones earned All-State honors yet again with a top 10 finish at the 5A state tournament. She also was the overall medalist at the 5A-West tournament, shooting a 76.

Male Golfer of the Year

Brady Fein, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Fein was one of three golfers to break 80 at the 5A state championship as he finished third with a 77 while helping the Bulldogs to a tie for second place in the team standings. He also earned medalist honors at the 5A-West conference tournament by shooting a 76, as Greenwood also won the team championship.

Female Soccer Player of the Year

Avery Gilkey, Northside, Sr.

Why chosen: Gilkey moved to the midfield after spending the previous two seasons as a defender, but she remained very defensive-minded. Defense was a hallmark for the Lady Bears, who allowed a total of 12 goals all season, with Gilkey's play a primary reason. She was also one of two team captains for Northside in the 2021 season.

Male Soccer Player of the Year

Pedro Rodriguez, Van Buren, Jr.

Why chosen: Rodriguez turned in a stellar 2021 season as he led the Pointers with 29 goals and had 16 assists in helping Van Buren capture the 5A state title. In the 5A championship game, he had an early goal and then assisted with the eventual game-winning goal with less than 18 minutes left to lift Van Buren past Russellville, 2-1. Rodriguez also earned the game's Most Valuable Player honor.

Softball Player of the Year

Ally Sockey, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Sockey, a University of Arkansas signee, led the Lady Bulldogs in average (.561), on-base percentage (.596) and slugging percentage (.918), along with hits (55) and doubles (18). She also scored 36 runs and drove in 36 more in helping Greenwood reach the 5A championship game.

Female Swimmer of the Year

Chloe Weathers, Clarksville, Jr.

Why chosen: After finishing as runner-up each of the past two seasons, Weathers won the 200 individual medley at the Arkansas 4A-1A state meet in a time of 2:23.05. She was also part of the 400 free relay team that took first place with a time of 4:04.11. Weathers also placed second in the 100 backstroke (1:05.76) while helping the Lady Panthers achieve a state runner-up finish.

Male Swimmer of the Year

Ethan Spillers, Subiaco Academy, Sr.

Why chosen: Spillers won his first career state title, capturing the 200 individual medley at the Arkansas 1A-4A state meet with a time of 2:05.69. He also finished second at state in the 100 backstroke (57.53) and was part of the 200 and 400 relay teams which placed third in both events.

Female Tennis Player of the Year

Kate Files, Northside, Sr.

Why chosen: Files finished her outstanding career at Northside by claiming the Overall girls state championship. She had turned in an undefeated regular season, capped by winning her third career conference championship, and had suffered her lone loss in the 6A finals, her third runner-up finish as a Lady Bear, before rebounding days later to claim the Overall title.

Male Tennis Player of the Year

Maanav Patel, Van Buren, Sr.

Why chosen: Patel, the Pointers' No. 1 singles player, finished undefeated in the regular season and went on to win the 5A-West conference championship. He eventually reached the 5A semifinals en route to earning All-State honors.

Female Track Athlete of the Year

Anna Woolsey, Ozark, So.

Why chosen: Woolsey turned in several first-place finishes all season in the sprints and continued to do so again at the Class 4A state meet. Her first state title came in the 400 meters, which was won in a time of 59.42 seconds. Woolsey then returned to the track to barely win the 200 meters in a time of 26.25, with her closest competitor recording a 26.26.

Male Track Athlete of the Year

Bryson Bailey, Waldron, Sr.

Why chosen: Bailey, a versatile athlete, capped his track career at Waldron with a Class 3A state championship in the long jump, finishing with a measurement of 22 feet, 2 inches. Bailey also placed first in the long jump in several other meets all season. In addition, Bailey placed second at state in the 200 meter dash (22.75) and was fourth in the 100 meters (11.29).

Volleyball Player of the Year

Avery Fitzgerald, Southside, Sr.

Why chosen: Fitzgerald, who signed with Mississippi State, helped Southside reach the state finals for the third consecutive season as the Lady Mavericks were the 6A runner-up. She led the team in kills with 274, recording double-digit kills in every match except one, and was also the team leader in service aces with 68. Fitzgerald was even third on the team in assists (26) and fourth in digs (132).

Female Wrestler of the Year

Lillian Jones, Van Buren, So.

Why chosen: Jones capped a perfect 19-0 season by capturing the 100-pound weight class in the Arkansas state girls wrestling tournament, the second Lady Pointer in as many seasons to win the 100. At state, Jones pinned all four of her opponents in a collective time of 6:14.

Male Wrestler of the Year

Ty Moose, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Moose won his third consecutive state championship in three different weight classes. His latest came in the 138 class at the 5A state meet, as he capped a 30-2 season by registering a pair of quick pins, including 30 seconds in his championship match. Moose's performance also helped Greenwood repeat its 5A state championship.

Female Athlete of the Year

Jersey Wolfenbarger, Northside, Sr.

Why chosen: Wolfenbarger, a 6-foot-6 point guard, was the leading scorer for the Northside girls basketball team that won state for the second time in three seasons. The Arkansas signee was also named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and was named to the McDonald's All-American team.

Male Athlete of the Year

Jordan Hanna, Greenwood, Sr.

Why chosen: Hanna, playing at linebacker, led the Greenwood football team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss and was an instrumental force in helping the Bulldogs win the 6A championship. He then competed in wrestling, and at the 195-pound weight class, finished with a perfect 21-0 record and won the Class 5A state title as Greenwood repeated its 5A team state championship.

I AM SPORT Award

KateLynn Oden, Cedarville, Sr.

Why chosen: Oden runs a program called "A Chance to Dance," which provides free formal attire to any student in the Cedarville school district that might need it. When being nominated for the award, Oden was described as someone who goes "above and beyond to ensure that those around her are happy. ... She was born to be a humanitarian, and has continued changing the world while making a difference one life at a time." Oden has signed to run track and cheer at John Brown University.

Best Band Fan Favorite Award

Van Buren

Why chosen: The Van Buren High School marching band was the Class 6A state champion, and has won three of the past four state championships. This year, they had 65 members named All-Conference and 28 members named All-State, which set a school record.

Team of the Year

Northside girls basketball

Why chosen: The Northside girls basketball team was one of the more dominant teams in school history. Boasting a lineup which included two Division I signees (Jersey Wolfenbarger with Arkansas and Tracey Bershers with Oklahoma State), the Lady Bears finished 26-2 overall, won the 6A-Central championship and then rallied to force overtime in the 6A title game before pulling out a 52-51 double-overtime win against Fayetteville for the program's eighth state championship.

Coach of the Year

Chris Young, Greenwood football

Why chosen: Young was promoted to Greenwood's football coach prior to the 2020 season, replacing the highly successful Rick Jones. But Young kept the Bulldog program humming as the team went a perfect 14-0 in his first season at the helm. Greenwood capped Young's debut season by defeating Lake Hamilton in the 6A title game, 49-24, as the Bulldogs claimed their 10th state title, all since 2000.

Courage Award

Avery Salisbury, Van Buren boys basketball

Why chosen: Salisbury, a senior on the Van Buren boys basketball team, overcame a utility vehicle accident two days before his sophomore year in high school. He lost two of his toes when his foot was crushed under the vehicle. Salisbury spent nine days in the hospital, and was told he would never play basketball again, but he eventually returned to the court. As a senior, the 6-foot-3 guard led the Pointers in both scoring (18 points per game) and rebounding (six per game) and was named All-State, All-Conference and first-team All-Area.