PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney senior Kody Young and Jenna Reitz have had similar high school winter sports careers.
Young, a wrestler, was coached by his father, Buddy Young. He was also one of the top wrestlers on the team since he was a freshman.
Reitz, a basketball player, also had her father, Randy Reitz, as a coach. Midway through her freshman season, she was the starting point guard. She then started at that position for the next 3 1/2-years.
Wednesday, the pair received a related honor, as both were recognized as The Punxsutawney Spirit's first-ever Winter Sports Male and Female Most Valuable Players after a public vote over the past two weeks.
"Getting this award with Jenna was nice just because the whole way up through, we both faced the same challenges and struggles," Young said. "We've both had good seasons in both sports, and this is a great way to end our careers."
Nearly 1,500 votes were cast, about 750 per gender, and the votes were close. Young edged teammate Seth Spack by just nine votes, and basketball player Logan Weaver finished third.
For the girls, Reitz had 18 more votes than senior teammate Shawnna Crago, who was the fall's first-ever female MVP. The fall male winner was cross country runner A.J. Meterko.
Reitz finished her career with nearly 800 points, and that includes 180 this season. Most of her points came from beyond the arc, where she shot 40 percent in her career.
The senior led the Lady Chucks with 37 three- pointers, 79 assists and 56 steals this year. Her 8.2 points per game were second-best on the team this season.
"It's an honor to know that the community is following and supporting my career," Reitz said. "It was a good season, and this was a good way to end my basketball career."
Young's career included a school-record 143 victories to just 13 losses. He also won four district titles, four regional medals and a berth in the state tournament during his sophomore and senior seasons. He won the regional title this past March.
Wednesday's plaque was just another award to add to his mantel.
"I feel privileged to be able to achieve this award after a good season, and to just know that the community voted for me even with the other great athletes that were in the running for it," Young said.
Young's 143 victories were the sixth-most in District IX history, and his 92 pins were the second-most ever in the district.
"Kody is a very talented wrestler," Reitz said. "He has accomplished many things throughout his career, and he was a big asset to his team."
The Spirit will continue to conduct MVP votes by the public for the Spring athletic season in order to continue honoring the athletes. In no way are The Spirit's MVP awards associated with the school's MVP selections, which are selected by the players and coaches of each respective sport.