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The pair of local athletes are honored at a small ceremony at Ward Rhoden Stadium

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Crook County High School Class of 2020 members Kyle Knudtson, left, and Kenna Woodward were named the male and female athletes of the year by the Crook County High School Booster Club at a July 17 ceremony at Ward Rhoden Stadium. Woodward was a track and volleyball standout while Knudtson was a state champion wrestler and outstanding football and baseball player.Normally in the early summer, the Crook County High School Booster Club would be sponsoring the annual awards banquet to honor the male and female athletes of the year.

Although the Booster Club was unable to hold its annual dinner and awards presentation due to COVID-19, they found a way to recognize the 2019-2020 Athletes of the Year.

Crook County High School Class of 2020 seniors Kenna Woodward and Kyle Knudtson were selected and were invited, along with their families, to attend a presentation at the Ward Rhoden Stadium to recognize this special achievement. The two were presented with a leather-bound plaque and a $1,000 Athletic Scholarship for college.

Jason Carr, who is Chair of the Crook County High School Booster Club, in addition to serving as the Communication and Community Engagement Specialist for CCSD, captured the moment on video and posted it on the Crook County Schools Facebook page.

Athletic Director for CCHS, Rob Bonner made the presentations, and emphasized that he was glad that the Booster Club had found a way to continue with the tradition — despite the times.

"We want it to be really special for the athletes, that is why we really love the dinner, and we will ultimately get back to that because that is a really special evening," said Bonner. "We couldn't do that this year, so the next best thing was what we had there at the stadium, and I think the athletes and the families were appreciative — and I just can't wait for it to get back to normal."

He elaborated that when coaches select athletes of the year, they look at overall commitment from the athletes — not just for one sport. Woodward and Knudson are multi-sport athletes, as well as team captains in their respective sports.

"Both athletes that were selected by the coaching staff were excellent choices," commented Bonner. "They were dedicated and go above and beyond in anything they are part of."

He added that they are both going to go on to college and will continue with their athletics in their respective college careers.

Woodward indicated that she will be attending Eastern Oregon State University in the coming fall.

"Hopefully, school will be starting up and I will be going to Eastern Oregon for track and field and pursuing a degree in psychology to become a therapist," said Woodward.

Knudston also noted that he will also be attending Eastern Oregon State University in the fall.

"Assuming that we can go to school, I will be going to Eastern Oregon University to wrestle and play baseball and pursue a career in exercise science."

"Congratulations, again, to our female athlete of the year Kenna Woodward and our male athlete of the year Kyle Knudston," said Carr. "From all of us at the Crook County High School Booster Club, we wish you the very best as you head off to college."

In addition to the Athletes of the Year awards, Bonner also presented the CC Blankets for 12-sport athletes who participated in three sports each year during their four years of high school. These awards went to Knudston and Jiselle Gish.

"This is truly one of my favorite times of the year," said Bonner. "It's a time when we get to award the 12-sport blanket to deserving athletes. Two athletes this year were able to handle the rigors of academics and athletics and compete in 12 sports throughout their high school career."

Knudtson competed in football, wrestling and baseball from his freshman year on, and Gish competed in soccer, basketball and track.

"I will be going to Illinois for an engineering degree on a five-year Navy ROTC scholarship," indicated Gish of her aspirations for college next year.

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