ATASCADERO — Atascadero High School announced May 31 the recipients of their annual athletic awards and scholarships at an end of the year banquet. Each year, Atascadero gives out two scholarships, the David. B Hamilton Scholarship and the Bud and Helen Ewing Scholarship, the Brian Russell Award, Male and Female Athlete of the Year along with Scholar Athlete of the year.
Earning Male Athlete of the Year for Atascadero was senior three-sport athlete Xavier Gonzales. Gonzales competed in cross country, wrestling and track and field earning MVP of the team for his excellent distance running in both the fall and the spring. Gonzales started his senior year with a bang winning the individual CIF Central Section Division 2 boys cross country title by posting a personal best time in his last high school race. The runner-turned-wrestler took over first place with a little over 300-meters to go in the big race and beat all of the competition to the finish line. In the winter, Gonzales traded in his running shorts for a singlet and placed second highest out of the boys and third highest overall on the team at CIF taking fifth and helping the Hounds advance to the Masters meet. In the spring, Gonzales was back to running and finished in second place at the San Luis Obispo County Meet which qualified him for the CIF West Area Meet where he also took second place and advanced to the Valley Championships where he placed in the top 15. During his time at Atascadero, Gonzales earned 10 varsity letters and plans to attend St. Mary's College in Moraga.
Atascadero’s Female Athlete of the Year recipient was softball and soccer star Claire Lohayza, who was just voted co-MVP of the Mountain League for her work as a catcher and leadoff hitter for the Hounds who advanced to the CIF semifinal game. Lohayza batted an .477 in her senior campaign leading the team in hits, runs scored (almost double the next closest player), steals, triples and doubles. Despite batting first in the lineup, she was also second on the team in RBI with 14. Lohayza was equally as valuable on the pitch playing both forward and keeper based on the needs of the team. The Hounds finished third in the Mountain League with a 14-7-4 record and fell in the first round of the playoffs to Clovis. Lohayza plans on continuing her education and athletics at Cuesta College next year where she will play both soccer and softball.
The Scholar Athlete of the Year award for the 2018-19 school year went to distance runner Claire Livengood. Livengood was a staple of both the Hounds cross country and track and field teams while in high school. Unfortunately for Livengood, she was battling an injury for most of the track season which didn’t allow her to experience the success she possibly would have had but has excelled far greater in the classroom graduating with a 4.42 GPA. Livengood plans on attending UC Irvine in the fall where she will continue to run and major in Biomedical Science.
This year’s recipient of the David B. Hamilton Memorial Scholarship was Carson Eads who transferred into Atascadero as a senior and played football for the Hounds. Eads earned second team all-league honors in the Mountain League in the fall and represented Atascadero in the 2019 FCA all-star game last weekend in Santa Maria.
The 2018-2019 Bud and Helen Ewing Scholarship was awarded to Cade VanAllen as selected by the Ewing family. VanAllen was a two-sport athlete at Atascadero participating in baseball and basketball. VanAllen led the Greyhounds basketball team in points, rebounds and blocks and led the baseball team in earned run average and RBI while earning all-league in both sports and was the team MVP in basketball.
The 2018-19 Brian Russell Award, which is given to a student who demonstrates outstanding leadership ability, good athletic ability and friendliness which knows no boundaries, went to football and track athlete Jacob Winch. Winch broke the school record for the 300-meter hurdles and was the only track athlete from Atascadero this past year to make it to State meet.