NAMPA — Presenters shared the stories of local student athletes Thursday who had overcome injuries, personal struggles and heartbreaking losses at the inaugural Idaho Press-Tribune’s Sports Stars Canyon County Athletic Awards ceremony Thursday night.
Sports Stars Awards, presented by Saint Alphonsus, were to given to outstanding athletes in Canyon County at a ceremony held in the Nampa Civic Center. The two overall athletes of the year each received $1,000 scholarships.
The female overall athlete of the year was Sierra Manzer, a Melba High cross-country runner.
The male overall athlete of the year was A.J. Castellanos, a Wilder High football player.
The College of Idaho’s men’s basketball coach Scott Garson spoke at the award ceremony of the adversity athletes face, saying the students present were selected because of their positive attitude, their achievements and their greatness.
“When adversity comes is when your true character comes out,” he said.
Garson spoke to the audience about his past players’ work ethic and their devotion to the sport, much like the students present.
“The best players are great teammates and are great leaders,” he said. “... You have to show up every day and bring it to be an elite athlete.”
Castellanos said he owes his success to his coaches and his family.
“My family really pushed me to get out of Wilder and go to college,” he said. “I’m humble, and I’m never satisfied.”
He has signed on to play for Eastern Oregon University as a slot receiver after graduation. He hopes to study education.
Manzer won seven varsity cross country meets during her senior season, including the 2A/1A state championship and the District III title.
“I probably wouldn’t be here without my family,” said Manzer. “My parents really told me to stick with it.”
Northwest Nazarene University has offered her a spot on the cross country team that she said she “probably” plans to accept.
She wants to study kinesiology to stay involved in athletics as a potential career.
The Sports Stars inspirational team player was Boone Bartlome of Kuna High School. Bartlome suffered a spinal cord injury in 2013 while playing football. He hit his head on an opponent’s leg during a game, falling to the ground.
He said if he inspires other people with the award, he does it sometimes unintentionally.
“I just think recovering from my injury and people see things in me that inspire them to be better,” said Bartlome. “I do it I guess without knowing I do it. But it’s awesome that I do inspire people.”
His family and a strong support group are what Bartlome attributes to his success. He plans to attend the College of Western Idaho to study business.