Demery, Jones top OAA award list

Cal State Stanislaus stars are first in eight years to earn awards

ragostini@modbee.comMay 15, 2013 

Cal State Stanislaus athletes have been honored many times over the years at the Outstanding Athlete Awards Banquet.

Yet no member of the Warriors had received the top OAA awards since 2005.

That run ended Wednesday night when basketball star Reggie Jones and soccer scoring machine Karenee Demery were named the respective men's and women's open-division athletes of the year for 2012.

The Stanislaus standouts were honored during the 46th OAA dinner attended by 365 at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club.

Jones and Demery are the ninth and 10th CSUS products to be named athletes of the year by the OAA. But they're the first Warriors in eight years — since golfer Ryan Thornberry and soccer star Breanna Vaughan — to be so honored.

Demery, who's training with the U.S. National Team in Chula Vista, could not attend. Her coach Gabriel Bolton accepted on her behalf.

Jones, who played professionally in Europe after his senior season in 2012, could not believe he had won. The New Jersey product received congratulations from Stanislaus coach Larry Reynolds among others.

"This is a special place to put my face on that (award-winning) wall," Jones said. "My coaches pushed me enormous amounts and took me to places I didn't think I could do."

Jones topped men's open finalists James Orth (football) and Eli Davis (baseball). Demery edged Jamie Beck (volleyball and basketball) and Amanda Pridmore (softball).

In the high school boys division, Central Catholic's football-wrestling star Ray Lomas received the nod over Downey quarterback Aaron Zwahlen, Oakdale quarterback Spencer Thomas, Oakdale pitcher Logan Handzlik and Modesto Christian basketball's Raymond Bowles.

The Central Catholic football team, voted the Team of the Year by the OAA, yelled its approval when Lomas' name was announced.

"This has been a great senior year," Lomas said. "What a way to top it off."

Johansen softball star Gabby Maurice, who will continue at UCLA, was named the Girls Prep Athlete of the Year. Finalists included Hughson pitcher Katelyn Harden, Maryssa McDuffy of Grace Davis and Gregori (in 2012), Halie Bergman of Turlock Christian and Maycie LaBass of Gregori.

"Thanks to my parents and coaches for this award," said Maurice, whose grandfather Ed is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Guest speaker Chuck Hayes, the Sacramento Kings forward-center and former star at Modesto Christian, spoke almost directly to the finalists.

"What you're about to embark on ... this is your chance. How bad do you want it?" Hayes said. "The opportunity will knock on your door. You have to own it."

The rest of the awards list:

• HALL OF FAME — John Azevedo, the former two-time state wrestling champion from Grace Davis, and later an NCAA champion and successful collegiate coach, was unable to attend. He became the 38th Hall of Fame inductee.

• DARELL PHILLIPS — The coaches award went to Bob Thomason, who stepped down last season, his 25th as head basketball coach of the University of the Pacific. Thomason cut his coaching teeth at Escalon High, Turlock, Columbia and Stanislaus.

"It's nice to see people I know in the audience," he said. "I enjoyed every stop. Forty-two years is enough to call it a day."

• JAY PATTEE — The late Bill Moorad, one of the SOS founders who handled the financial books for the Modesto Relays for over a half-century, received the public-service award. His brother Cal accepted on behalf of Saralee Moorad, Bill's wife of nearly 60 years, and the family.

• TOM MELLIS — The scholarship honoree was Downey senior Spencer Garrett, a swimmer and water polo player for the Knights. Garrett, ranked No. 1 in his class (he'll attend Cal), received a $2,500 grant from the OAA.

• 1LT. DANIEL B. HYDE — Bill Click, a Grace Davis graduate who attended MJC and was drafted into the Army in 1970, received the military-service award for helping community veterans for many years.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at __lt__a href="mailto:ragostini@modbee.com"__gt__ragostini@modbee.com__lt__/a__gt__ or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter @modbeesports

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