HERMISRTON — The last among keynote speaker Steve Corey’s seven lessons of sports during the 17th annual Umatilla County Athletic Achievement Awards, be humble, was perfectly illustrated by the winner of the Male Athlete of the Year award.
Dallas Reich of Weston-McEwen came to the ceremony Monday night at Hermiston High nominated with some of the best prep athletes in Umatilla County, state champions and four-year college recruits alike. Even after his name was called and his hands filled with trophies, the TigerScot still felt surprised.
“Hearing (Joey) Delgado’s record, four state championships and however many wins, that’s pretty stiff competition right there man. That’s pretty crazy how good he is,” Reich said of his fellow nominees, which included Hermiston’s wrestling star Delgado. “It’s a blessing for me and I honestly didn’t expect to win this going in.”
Enjoy this time.
Corey, a football state champion as a Buck in his day and now an attorney in Pendleton, quoted recent NCAA advertisements, remarking that of the many student athletes even at the college level, so few will become professionals. But the high school sports opportunities the county’s finest have experienced will create memories for a lifetime, he said.
It’s a message Maloree Moss, a senior at Hermiston, took to heart.
“You should enjoy what you’re doing, whether in sports or in life and in a career as well,” Moss said. “Everything he said is going to transfer over to life and I feel like that’s why I play sports, to learn these lessons and experience different things.”
Moss, a three-sport star who most recently led the Bulldogs to the state basketball tournament in Eugene last month, took home the Female Athlete of the Year award. She was nominated with fellow Hermiston senior Gracie Flyg in both the female athlete and large school female scholar category, the latter in which Flyg won.
On the boys’ side, Nolan Hill of Pendleton was the large school winner while Devin Bailey was named the scholar from Stanfield, a small school. Jessica Siler of Umatilla was the female’s small school winner. The victors of the scholar categories were given a $500 scholarship to use toward their college expenses.
Nominees won a $250 prize.
Hermiston’s Curt Berger, a nine-time state champion as a tennis and wrestling coach, was given the 2012 Achievement Award. The coach recently retired after a 21-year career at the school, a run that brought him to the Umatilla County awards stage more times than he can remember, Berger said.
The defending state champion Stanfield baseball and Pendleton dance teams were honored as male and female teams of the year. Their coaches, Tiger Bryan Johnson and Buckaroo Debbie Kishpaugh, shared the coach of the year award.