Winter Sports’ Athletes Awarded for their Dedication


Clarion photo Anna Rollins

Some of Cleveland’s athletic stars are honored for their commitment.

By Anna Rollins, Editor-in-Chief

The 2016-17 winter sports season was like none other. At the Royal C award ceremony on Wednesday March 8, each coach recalled their biggest competitor this season and one they all had in common: snow (and Franklin). However, though hit with a snowpocalypse, their teams pressed on and became better because of it.

 That said, the Royal C does not celebrate the snow, it honors top student athletes at Cleveland, recognized for their “outstanding leadership and representation of their team, sportsmanship both at practice and during competition, commitment to both individual and team development, excellence both in the classroom as well as on the field, high investment in the team’s success and welfare, exemplary behavior, communication, and team spirit, and the impact they have to their team’s culture and their own personal development.”

Athletic Director Mike Shanahan began the night by granting girls basketball star, leader, and captain, senior Tynesha Parnell the “Ultimate Warrior” award, given to one student athlete each season for embodying what it means to be a Warrior even through difficult times. Parnell was recognized again later in the night by her coach, Suzanne Washington, to receive the Royal C. Coach Washington remarked on not only the athletic ability Parnell demonstrates, but also the passionate, tough, goofball that she truly is. “She is one of the most dedicated players I have ever coached,” Washington observed. She has “a drive to succeed and she will do what it takes to play in the future.” Parnell will play basketball for Umpqua Community College next season.

Boys basketball brought to the stage juniors Rowan Anderson and Sethon Moore. Head coach Craig Cokley spoke to the power of these two juniors and the humble manner by which they conduct themselves. Additionally, Coach Cokley reflected on the season past calling it “one of the most rewarding seasons” he has ever coached, and one of his favorite teams to ever instruct.

Wrestling mastered their sixth consecutive undefeated season in the PIL. The team sent 14 athletes to state, nine of whom scored points. Head coach Jeff Zerba couldn’t pick just one, or two Royal C recipients this season, he honored three seniors: Harper Lee, Simon Brown and Skyler Palakiko. “They did every single thing asked of them,” he recalled. Each was fully committed to the sport throughout their high school career.

Head swim coach Mollie Starr started her address with anything but an ode to the snow that blew across Portland so frequently this winter. The swim season was reduced to three weeks, yet the team exceeded in its performance. Over the winter, junior Vivian Phan took on a leadership role spearheading warm ups. As Royal C winner, she has been a part of the team since her freshman year and never failed to work hard at practice. On the boys’ side, senior Tanner Montagriff-Peck received the award. After joining the swim team his freshman year, Montagriff-Peck learned he was a strong swimmer and continued to improve his skill participating in club swimming throughout the year. Coach Starr described him as a “quiet motivator and wonderful person who did as asked.”

Cheerleading is different than all other Cleveland sports as it has two seasons of Royal C honors. Senior Shantae Sango won for the heart and dedication she puts into the sport. Assistant coach Kirsten Swanberg remarked, “She is an eye-catching performer, excelling as a student and friend.” She leads in a quiet way with power, drive and grace. Sango is strong. Coach Swanberg reflected, “I have watched her grow, and I’m never less than amazed by who she is.”

The night was a full and honest tribute to the winter sports athletes of Cleveland who have worked hard day-in and day-out to get to where they are now. Each has a lot to be proud of and a shiny wooden Royal C plaque to remember their days as a Cleveland Warrior.