Conway High athletes honored

Conway Corp’s Crystal Kemp (left) and Jeff Matthews (right) with award winners Kate Freyaldenhoven (from left), Elizabeth Ablondi, Kendon Moline and AJ Mainord. Kate and Kendon received the awards for Scholar Athletes of the Year. Kate and AJ received athlete of the year awards. The four awards are sponsored by Conway Corp. (See more photos on the 501 LIFE Facebook page and in the July edition of the magazine.)

Story and photos
by Sonja J. Keith

Conway High School celebrated its senior athletes on Wednesday during its Annual All Sports Senior Recognition Program, held at James Clark Auditorium.

In his first recognition program as athletic director, Clint Ashcraft thanked those in attendance.

“During the school year, it can be difficult to express our appreciation for the hard work and dedication all of you put into our athletic programs,” he said. “Today, we want to thank you for your commitment, and we would like to honor our senior athletes.”

Ashcraft expressed his appreciation to Eric King, Bob Leffert and Blake Browning with Centennial Bank; Julie’s Sweet Shoppe and the Wampus Cat Booster Club for providing the meal served to student-athletes after the program.

In introducing Conway Corp’s Jeff Matthews, who served as the emcee for the event, Ashcraft described Matthews as an instrumental part of Conway Athletics. “Jeff has announced our athletic events as well as broadcasted our games over Conway Corporation Channel 5 and the internet. You will recognize him from the many commercials on TV promoting Channel 5 Sports and Conway Athletics.”

Matthews described the 2018-19 athletic year as exciting and shared some highlights, noting that several sports are still competing:

  • There are 615 athletes on high school teams, including 69 freshmen, 202 sophomores, 173 juniors and 171 seniors.
  • Twenty-four seniors have been awarded athletic scholarships and have signed to play their sport in college.
  • Conway High had 52 all conference and 26 all state selections.
  • CHS teams that were conference champions were the girls swim team, boys cross country team and boys track team.
  • The boys swim team was state runner-up.
  • The girls volleyball team won the state championship.

During the program, each senior athlete walked across the stage, with Matthews announcing the student’s name, sport/sports and future plans.

Conway Corp presents awards each year to the top scholar athletes ($500 each) and top male and female athletes ($250 each).

Students recognized with individual awards were:

Scholar Athletes of the Year – Elizabeth Ablondi (4.4255 GPA) and Kendon Molin (4.3774 GPA). Elizabeth participated on the high school dance team for the past three years, and Kendon participated on the bowling team for the past four years.

Ruth Doyle Female Athlete of the Year – Kate Freyaldenhoven has earned a four-year letter in cross country and will earn a three-year letter in track once the season finishes. She was selected all conference the past two years in cross country. She will be attending Rhoades College, where she has signed to continue running.

Frank E. Robins Male Athlete of the Year – AJ Mainord is a four-year letterman in swimming. He was selected all conference and all state all four years. He was instrumental in the boys swim team being state runner-up this year. He will be swimming at Southern Methodist University in the fall.

John Bailey Lady Cat Legacy Scholarship Award (volleyball) – Karli Ferguson, who will be playing volleyball in the fall at Ouachita Baptist University.

Luke Baker Memorial Scholarship Award (golf) – Hunter Hull, who will receive a $500 scholarship each year for the next four years.

Bob Courtway Award of Excellence (swimming) – Ivy Watkins and AJ Mainord.

True Blue/Dandra Thomas Scholarship Award (basketball) – Nyah Summerville. Coach Ashley Hutchcraft and Dandra’s son, Breylin Smith, presented the award.

Kelly Dunlap Award (football) – Roman Aaron received this year’s award, which recognizes the outstanding player from the Conway High homecoming game.

Jim Case Award (football) – Will McKenna received this year’s award, which is presented to the most dedicated senior player.

At the conclusion of the program, a video highlighting the CHS sports teams and senior athletes, created by Lylla Hinchcliff, was shown.

Sonja Keith