Outstanding! Engeholm, Morgan honored as Spirit's spring athletes

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Spirit editorial staff is happy to announce that the Spring Sports Outstanding Players have received their honorary plaques, and they can now be announced to the public.

Recent graduate Brody Morgan — a track and field star at Punxsy throughout his time at Punxsutawney Area High School — and soon-to-be senior Chelsea Engeholm — a member of the District IX champion Lady Chucks softball team — were this year's winners, as selected by The Spirit's readers.

This season's voting was especially close with a diverse cast receiving votes on both the girls' and boys' sides.

For the girls, Engeholm received 173 votes, but three of her fellow nominees came within 40 votes of the top spot, as well.

Her closest contendor for the title of Outstanding Athlete was Karah Hollis, whose 145 votes edged her track and field teammate Alexis Young by just two tallies for second and third in the voting.

Engeholm's teammate, pitcher Ashley Bacha, also received a fair number of votes, with her total of 135 putting her in fourth overall.

Senior softball player Randa Depp and track youngster Juliann Boddorf were also nominated for the girls' award.

On the boys' side, Morgan's vote total of 233 votes eclipsed runners-up Jamie Bush — whose pitching was an integral part of Punxsy's District-IX baseball championship this season — and junior Ty Zimmerman — who was recently named the most valuable player of his league — by a total of 40 and 50 votes, respectively.

The tennis duo of Michael Blose and Tim Pearce were each nominated, as well, and former-sophomore sprinter Kevin Hughes was among the boys' six nominees.

Pearce and Hughes finished fourth and fifth in the voting, with Pearce's 136 votes just edging Hughes' 130.

The purpose of The Spirit's Outstanding Athlete Award is to take the opportunity to recognize the achievements of many local athletes and to give the community of Punxsutawney an opportunity to select a pair of athletes to recognize.

All athletes who were nominated — and many who just missed the nomination cut — were well worthy of their recognitions, and The Spirit staff thanks all who participated in this year's voting.

The third-annual campaign of Outstanding Athletes will begin at the conclusion of the fall sports season for PAHS athletics.