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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Jiya Wrightreceived the Euell A. Wilson award, and Madi Ross was the Glass Spike winner at Monday's awards banquet.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017 1:00 am

Wright, Ross big winners at awards night

SAC recognizes football, volleyball

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

SAC awards

Euell A. Wilson

Jiya Wright, Homestead

Glass Spike

Madi Ross, Bishop Dwenger

Football Coach of the Year

Chris Svarczkopf, Bishop Dwenger

Volleyball Coach of the Year

Tim Houser, Bishop Dwenger

Homestead quarterback Jiya Wright and Bishop Dwenger volleyball's Madi Ross were the major award winners at the football and volleyball awards banquet Monday at Parkview's Mirro Center sponsored by The Journal Gazette and Parkview Sports Medicine.

Wright won the Euell A. Wilson award, given to the best senior football player in the SAC, after leading Homestead to a 6-2 overall record.

“It was an honor to be one of the nominees,” Wright said. “I did a little bit of research to see who (Wilson) was, and it was amazing to look up the foundation and how far they've come. So, it was an honor.

“Just being able to shake his parents' hands and hug them, it's an honor to say that I won such a prestigious award.”

The Northern Illinois recruit threw for 2,307 yards and 28 touchdowns and ran for 750 yards and 11 scores.

“He dove into the weight room in the offseason,” Spartans coach Chad Zolman said. “He dove into the classroom and started studying. Everything he did, he was all-in. I think that's what stands out. That's going to carry him a long way. Wherever he goes, whatever he accomplishes from here on out, it's going to carry him.”

Ross, a junior setter, won the Glass Spike Award, given to the best volleyball player in the conference. She helped the Saints to SAC Tournament and regular season titles and a sectional championship.

“It's an honor,” she said. “I'm so proud of how my team played this season. It was truly a team effort. I'm accepting this award on behalf of my teammates.”

Ross had 979 assists this season, 186 digs and 91 kills.

“She's not a very outspoken person and you can kind of tell,” Saints coach Tim Houser said. “She's a great leader, she has great confidence, she works hard every day and I just think that she goes hard and, what was part of our success this year, she doesn't have any favorites. She spreads the ball around to everybody. So everybody's getting into the game and I think that brings us all together as a team.”

Bishop Dwenger football coach Chris Svarczkopf and Houser were named coaches of the year for their respective sports.

“It means a lot to me,” Houser said of his award. “I appreciate the honor but you can't have it without a team like this. To have a preseason and regular season and to have the record we had, it's a group of kids and it's unselfish kids. I appreciate it and I'm glad they bought into my system because it is my system that we run. I do take some pride in that. It is my system. They're taking my system after playing with different clubs throughout the year and we're building this together from June on and that's just been the best part of it.”

Svarczkopf, who announced his retirement last week, helped guide the Saints to a regional championship before falling to then-undefeated Lowell in the semistate.

“(Snider's) Kurt Tippmann always represents the very best in the SAC coaching that I know of and the program has always been that way,” Svarczkopf said. “When he got up to make the introduction, I thought something was up.

“It was one of the finest teams I've had the privilege to coach because they were a team in every sense of the word. They were a pleasure to work with every day at practice, they always competed to the best of their ability. I want to thank them publicly for what they've done for the program, what they've meant to our school and for me personally.”

areichel@jg.net