It’s an unusual time to be a high school student, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s probably true about most everyone these days.
But with school campuses closed, athletic seasons interrupted, proms canceled and graduations postponed, teenage students may have been hit harder than most.
That extends to other recognition ceremonies, and the 65th-annual Jim Tyack Awards is no different. Originally scheduled to be held at Hodel’s restaurant on Monday, the event that recognizes the top high school and male and female athletes each year will now have to be viewed remotely on Zoom.
The ceremony will begin at noon, with the meeting room on Zoom opening at 11:50 a.m. to give everyone interested enough time to participate. Vance Palm will serve as the emcee of the event. Only 100 people will be invited to watch it on Zoom, but the ceremony will also be available live on the Jim Tyack Award Facebook page.
Here’s a look as this year’s nominees for the top male and female athlete of the year:
Male Athlete of the Year nominees
Ramon Henderson, Liberty
Cumulative GPA: 3.4
Athletics: Three-time first-team all-league football player as a defensive back, wide receiver and return specialist will attend Notre Dame on a football scholarship. Versatile two-way star had 29 catches for 581 yards and seven touchdowns, and also returned two kickoffs for scores this past season to earn first-team BVarsity All-Area honors. In track and field, His personal-best time of 10.59 seconds was the fastest wind-legal 100 in the section last season. Advanced to state in the 200 and on the 1,600 relay team. Graduated mid-semester to get a jump on spring workouts and missed his senior year of track and field, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
School activities/community efforts: Project Best, Black Student Union, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Seafood Breast Cancer awareness fundraiser, volunteer at Bakersfield Homeless Shelter.
Josiah Hill, Bakersfield
Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Athletics: Three-time state wrestling qualifier became first local athlete to win the CIF State Wrestling Championship heavyweight title. The future Arkansas-Little Rock wrestler won championships at the CIF Masters, Central Section Division 1, Southwest Yosemite League and South Yosemite Conference tournaments. Was voted one of the top high school heavyweights in California in the past decade and finished the season ranked ninth in the country. Finished seventh in the state as a junior and was named a high school all-american. Captured the 2019 Central Section title.
School activities/community efforts: Member of Grappler’s Gang Club and FCA, Youth wrestling referee, Youth junior wrestling coach, volunteer at Feed the Homeless events at St. Francis Church and MLK Park.
Adham Maher, Stockdale
Cumulative GPA: 4.462
Athletics: A Top Scholar Athlete award winner in cross country, soccer and track and field, was named first-team all-Southwest Yosemite League in soccer, cross country and track and field his junior year. He is a 10-time varsity letter earner. During his senior year, was named all-SWYL and to the BVarsity All-Area first team in cross country. Was a medalist at the Central Section championships and qualified for the state meet.
School activities/community efforts: Math Honor Society, Sports Management Athletic Leadership class, has taken AP classes in World History, English Language, Arts, US History, Calculus, Chemistry, English Literature, Macroeconomics, Statistics, Physics and Environmental Science, is a member of the National Honor Society and has volunteered as a youth soccer referee.
Max Richey, Centennial
Cumulative GPA: 4.26
Athletics: Captain and starting quarterback for the football team, set a school record with a 98-yard touchdown pass, was named All-Southwest Yosemite League, BVarsity All-Area and the team’s offensive MVP and most scholastic. In basketball, he received the Golden Hawk award as the team’s best all-around student athlete, was second on the team in scoring in leading the Golden Hawks to the Central Section D-2 semifinals. Led the team in steals and blocks. His junior year, received the Clayton Boen Award as the basketball team’s toughest and hardest working player, was co-captain and named a scholar athlete.
School activities/community efforts: Four-year member of the Biomedical Sciences Program, already accrued 13 units of college credit, three-year member of the California Scholastic Federation, has taken seven GATE courses, provided lessons and training to youth basketball and football athletes, volunteered as a Evolution Basketball Skills Camp coach, participated in Relay For Life fundraising and Leaders of Tomorrow.
Ben Yurosek, Bakersfield Christian
Cumulative GPA: 3.94
Athletics: Led the Eagles to the CIF State championship in football and the basketball team to the CIF State title game. The game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Was named the BVarsity All-Area player of the year in both football and basketball his senior year, and is headed to Stanford to play football. A two starter in football at defensive end and tight end, helped his team reach the Central Section title game three years in a row, winning the D-3 championship this year. Was named South Yosemite League MVP in football. In basketball, was a four-time all-league performer, helping the Eagles to three straight league titles. BCHS was 23-1 with him in the lineup his senior year, 4-5 without him.
School activities/community efforts: Was Commissioner of Athletics and Homecoming king his senior year, volunteers in several outreach programs through Bakersfield Christian.
Girls athlete of the year nominees
Cumulative GPA: 4.73
Athletics: A three-time Central Section doubles champion, she was named the BVarsity All-Area singles and doubles player of the year three times. She was the Rams’ varsity team captain and MVP the past three years, as well. She is a member of Kern County’s first competitive high school dance team.
School activities/community efforts: Varsity captain on cheerleading squad, four-year member of the California Scholarship Federation where she served as vice president, she was a Link Crew core leader, Rambassador and Helping Hands member. In the community, she was a girl scout for eight years, earning the gold silver and bronze awards. Served more than 160 hours fundraising for the Friendship House Community Center, provided meal service for St. Vincent de Paul, volunteered at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter and raised money for the Cookie for Kids Cancer program.
Cumulative GPA: 4.069
Athletics: Committed to play softball at Colorado State next year, she is a four-year varsity starter for the Mustangs. She was the Southwest Yosemite League rookie of the year her freshman year where she was also named to the underclassman all-american and state large-school teams. She led her team to the Central Section Division 1 championship her junior year and is a two-time BVarsity All-Area softball player of the year. Her senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also been named a top scholar athlete and been named the SWYL most valuable player the past two seasons.
School activities/community efforts: Worked on the senior class float and volunteered for the Adopt-A-Star Christmas drive. She has taken AP English Literature and Statistics. In the community, she has served as a volunteer at Buena Vista Elementary School, BASA softball league and was employed at Cox Petroleum Transport.
Cumulative GPA: 3.1
Athletics: Led the Drillers to their third straight Central Section basketball championship and fourth Southwest Yosemite League title in a row. She was named BVarsity All-Area girls basketball player of the year and the MVP of the SWYL. In track and field, she finished second in the SWYL in the discus and shot put, and was also runner-up at the Kern Invitational and South Area meet. Her senior season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
School activities/community efforts: Received the Lady Driller Top Scholar Award and is a member of the BHS Service Academy, Student Council, Drill Crew and Black Student Union. In the community, she volunteered at Fun Fest, Wind Wolves Preserve, the Burrito Project and Kern County Museum.
Ellen Palmgren, Liberty
Cumulative GPA: 4.438
Athletics: Won the Southwest Yosemite League individual cross country title, helping her team win the championship her senior year as team captain. She was named team most MVP after being named first-team BVarsity All-Area and first-team all-SWYL. Her track season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she was named a CIF Central Section Scholar Athlete award winner. She was also captain of the team. During her junior year, she led the Mustangs to the SWYL title and was named first-team all-league. She was also nominated for the Best Female Athlete at the PEAAK awards. During track and field season, she was named second-team BVarsity All-Area as a member of the Central Section champion 4x400 relay team. As a sophomore, she was a state qualifier in cross country, was named first-team all-SWYL and second-team BVarsity All-Area.
School activities/community efforts: She is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, English Honor Society and California Scholastic Federation.
Aleyna Young, Centennial
Cumulative GPA: 4.478
Athletics: A three-time, first-team BVarsity All-Area selection, she qualified for the Central Section individual tennis championships three times. Helped lead her team reach the section semifinals and finished second in the Southwest Yosemite League individual championships. She reached the semifinals at the South Area Championships her sophomore and junior years. As a swimmer, she competed in four disciplines to help the Golden Hawks finish third in the SWYL her sophomore year.
School activities/community efforts: She is involved in her school’s Varsity Mock Trial team for four years, is the Poetry Club president and founder and is a member of the Kern County Student Leadership. She helped her team finish second at the We the People Competition, received the Furman University Top Attorney award, We the People Civic Virtue Award and is a Lincoln Day Essay Scholar award winner. In the community, she is involved with Ford Dimension, the Bakersfield Youth City Council, volunteers as a “Learn to be” English instructor, is a Like Crew leader and a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honors Society and interns at a local congressman’s office.