The Outstanding Athlete Awards Banquet, saluting Stanislaus County’s top athletes of 2013, sometimes is called the local sports version of the Academy Awards.
There will be awards finalists, thank-yous, speakers and, eventually, winners in the high school and college/open categories when the 47th OAA Banquet convenes Wednesday night at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club.
Seth Joyner, one of the NFL’s top linebackers of the early 1990s, will serve as the guest speaker. He played alongside some of the great defensive stars of that era, including the late Reggie White and the late Jerome Brown. As a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Joyner was named the NFL Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine in 1991.
Also to be recognized are Hall of Fame inductees Suzy Powell, the Downey High and UCLA graduate and three-time Olympian in the discus, and the late longtime local high school coach, official and administrator Dan Gonsalves.
The Darell Phillips Coaches Award will be presented to Kim Duyst, the Cal State Stanislaus men’s and women’s track and cross country coach for 21 years. Duyst has remained at Stanislaus as the school’s associate athletics director and senior woman administrator since she stepped down as coach in 2007.
The Oakdale High baseball team also will take a bow. Last spring, the Mustangs clinched their fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section championship and sixth in seven years.
Other honorees will be the recipients of the Tom Mellis student-athlete scholarships and the Jay Pattee Award for public service to the sports community.
Tickets for the dinner, which is open to the public, cost $30 for adults and $25 for students. The press reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by social hour at 6:30 and the dinner and program at 7.
High school boys finalists
Bryce Dyrda (baseball) – Dyrda, an Oakdale senior, went 11-2 and pitched the Mustangs to the Division IV section title over Central Catholic. He struck out 95 in 651/3 innings with an ERA of 1.07 and batted .300 with 15 runs scored and 20 RBIs.
Ja’Quan Gardner (football-basketball) – Gardner, a senior at Central Valley, set a Stanislaus District record by rushing for 2,467 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns. His career total of 6,014 yards also is a district record. In a playoff loss to Manteca, he rushed for 378 yards and four scores.
Matt Ringer (football) – Ringer, a senior at Central Catholic, rushed for 2,348 yards and 33 touchdowns as the Raiders campaigned to the Division IV section and state small-schools titles for the second year in a row. Injuries kept him from playing in the state final.
Israel Saavedra (wrestling) – Saavedra, a sophomore at Modesto, became the 11th freshman to win a state title when he claimed the 113-pound championship in Bakersfield. He went 48-1 and annexed a Section Masters title. Later, he started a sophomore season that ended with the 120-pound state crown.
Spencer Stark (football) – Stark, a senior at Central Catholic, was a two-way lineman and provided much of the running room for Ringer. He was named the State D-IV Player of the Year and MaxPreps’ Player of the Year.
High school girls finalists
Halie Bergman (basketball) – Bergman, a freshman at Pacific, averaged 27.3 points per game as a senior for a Turlock Christian team that went 25-6 and reached the D-V section semifinals. She led the section with 792 points and was The Bee’s Player of the Year.
Katelyn Harden (softball) – Harden, a freshman at Dominican University in San Rafael, went 22-3 with a 0.72 ERA and led Hughson to its third consecutive D-V section title as a senior. She struck out 184 in 146 innings and batted .457 with 32 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
Maycie LaBass (volleyball) – LaBass, a senior at Gregori, led her team to a 38-5 record and the D-II section quarterfinals. She totaled 579 kills (5.8 per set) for a team that claimed its second consecutive Modesto Metro Conference title. She was named The Bee’s Player of the Year.
Shelby Stender (water polo) – Stender, a junior , led Oakdale to a 27-7 record and the first D-II section title by any county team. The two-time Bee Player of the Year led the Mustangs with 107 goals and 14 assists.
Lexi Tubbs (volleyball-basketball-track) – Tubbs, a senior at Modesto Christian, placed fifth in the Section Masters 100 hurdles and was a Trans-Valley League champion in four events. She led her volleyball team to the Division V section quarterfinals and was a standout on the basketball team, which reached the NorCal Regional Division III playoffs.
Open men’s finalists
Isaiah Burse (football) – Burse, a senior at Fresno State and a graduate of Modesto Christian, caught 99 passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns for a Bulldogs team that won 11 games. He ended his career as Fresno State’s all-time leader with 5,873 all-purpose yards.
Sam Smith (golf) – Smith, a graduate of USC, averaged a team-best 71.76 strokes per round and won the NCAA West Regional. The Turlock High graduate was the Trojans’ team captain and an honorable-mention All-American.
Nick Vander Tuig (baseball) – Vander Tuig, a member of the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets, pitched UCLA to its first College World Series title. The Oakdale graduate, a second-team All-American, went 14-4 with a 2.16 ERA, featuring a 4-0 record in the NCAA Tournament. Vander Tuig pitched eight shutout innings during the Bruins’ 8-0 win over Mississippi State for the title.
Open women’s finalists
Becky Hobby (track-cross country) – Hobby, a sophomore at Modesto Junior College, won the NorCal title last spring in the 1,500 meters (4:41.94) and placed second at the State Meet. She was fourth in the NorCal 5,000. In cross country, the Hughson graduate placed second at NorCals and led the Pirates to the NorCal title. Hobby placed seventh individually at the State Meet.
Amanda Pridmore (softball) – Pridmore, a graduate of San Jose State, went 29-11 with a 1.69 ERA and led the Spartans to their first Western Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The Modesto graduate was named the WAC’s Pitcher of the Year and was the WAC Tournament MVP.
Kianna Weinzheimer (track) – Weinzheimer, a junior at Kansas, won the community college javelin state title as an MJC sophomore last spring. She entered the final as the No. 4 seed but won it with a throw of 142-11. The Patterson graduate also won the NorCal title.