By Jeremy McDonald
Sprague’s Josh Bradshaw (Boys Tennis), South Salem’s Danny Alvarado (baseball), McKay’s Brian Coburn (Track and Field), North Salem’s Nerissa Thompson (Track and Field), South Salem’s Esha Puri (Girls Tennis), and McNary’s Taylor Ebbs (softball) were honored as the Salem Sports And Breakfast Club Senior Spring Athlete’s Of The Year.
Here is the Press Release:
Seniors have always held a special place for Salem Sports and Breakfast Club. Each year we honor the Senior Athletes of the Year per sport. Each of these honorees have been nominated by their coaches and, subsequently, chosen by SSBC for their excellence. High school sports matter.
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Boys Tennis is Sprague’s Josh Bradshaw. Josh, seeded 3rd, defeated the number one and two seeds to win the North Valley District singles title. Josh had a win-loss record of 8-1 this season. He avenged his only singles loss on the season in the district tournament. He then went on to beat the other top seed to win the District Singles title. Coach Gary Wheeler added, “Josh was a team leader in every way. He always stepped forward to assist the younger players that just joined the team, helping them learn strokes, playing in with them, and assisting at practices if needed. I watched Josh through the years grow as a competitive player, working on his game every chance he could, and practice, practice and practice. His positive attitude showed when I was coaching him, as he would always finish with ‘I got this coach’ and yes, he did! Besides being team captain, all the players looked up to him, respected him and honestly desired to be just like him as a player and a person. He earned their respect and mine over the past few years. Great job. Well done Josh!” Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Josh!
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Baseball is South Salem’s Danny Alvarado. Danny was the starting catcher for the Saxons this season. He averaged .500 at the plate with a .596 on-base percentage and a 1.091 slugging percentage. He had 22 hits against 44 at-bats, earning 10 walks (5 of which were of the intentional variety), against only 3 strikeouts. He had 5 doubles on the season and 7 home runs. Defensively he allowed only 18 stolen bases in 82.2 innings. Danny was honored twice previously as a SSBC Athlete of the Week for baseball. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Danny!
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Boys Track and Field is McKay’s Brian Coburn. Brian finished a strong season with outstanding performances in the shot and discus at the 6A Showcase Championship meet. At the meet, held at Pioneer Memorial Stadium in Oregon City, Brian finished 8th in the discus with a throw of 133’4”. He also earned a 3rd place medal in the shot put with a throw of 51’8”. Brian has been honored as a SSBC Athlete of the Week three times prior – twice for track and once for football. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Brian!
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Girls Track is North Salem’s Nerissa Thompson. Nerissa finished the season undefeated including dual meets with all five other Salem-Keizer schools. She earned three gold medals at the 5A State Championship in the 100, 200, and long jump. She was chosen as the MVP of the State meet as the high point scorer. This makes six state golds in her career at North, including the 6A 4×100 relay in 2018 and 5A 4×100 relay (in state meet record time) and 4×400 in 2019. Coach Don Berger added, “No other S-K athlete finished near her, and her efforts helped the Viking team to an undefeated record. Nerissa is also a team captain, great student, and outstanding young lady!” Nerissa has been twice previously been honored as a SSBC Athlete of the Week. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Nerissa!
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Girls Tennis is South Salem’s Esha Puri. Esha won the North Valley District doubles title this season. Esha and her dubs partner Erin Cridge started out the season as the team’s top two singles players and then opted to join together as a doubles team at the half-way point in the season. They went 5 for 5 in the regular season and then took the North Valley District Tournament title with a win over the #1 seed.
Coach Nancy Cox added this about the duo, “To watch Esha and Erin on the court was a joy not only from the tennis standpoint, both have beautiful games, but also from the friendship and partnership standpoint. They both lifted each other up, boosting one another’s confidence, often with a lighthearted comment or inside joke that made the other laugh. Their tennis kept getting better as the season progressed. Esha was hitting steaming groundstrokes and serves as Erin struck clean powerful volleys and hit masterful lobs and overheads. The combination of these skills made them a very solid and unbeatable team. What makes this duo even more special is that they are as kind and fair as they are talented.” She added “. Esha’s tennis is very solid but what she will be remembered most for on our team and by other teams is her sportsmanship, kindness and caring manner toward others. She is the most supportive partner in doubles, pulls for her teammates and always makes her opponents and their coaches comment on her etiquette. That is Esha whether she is winning or losing. She is a stellar human being. I have been truly honored to coach her and hope that our relationship continues far beyond tennis. They don’t come much better than Esha Puri.” Esha was honored earlier this year as a SSBC Athlete of the Week. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Esha!
The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Senior Athlete of the Year for Softball is McNary’s Taylor Ebbs. Taylor led the Celts to a 16-2 overall record. Dominating at the plate she was also solid in the field with a 1.000 fielding percentage with no errors and 3 assists against 23 total chances. At the plate she hit .500 with 31 hits in 62 at bats. She had an OPS (on base plus slugging) of 1.541 against only two strikeouts. On the season Taylor had 16 singles, 7 doubles, a triple, and 7 home runs. Taylor also had 24 RBIs and 31 runs. On the bases she had 15 stolen bases while only being caught once.
Coach Wise added, “Taylor is a true leader and the best that I have had the opportunity to coach. She is a rare talent and very gifted in the athletic realm. Being able to start on a high school volleyball team that consists of club players, and considering that Taylor only plays volleyball during the high school season, says a lot about her athleticism. Most of the walks that she had this year were coaches who did not want to pitch to her because of her abilities. That also speaks volumes about her abilities as she strikes fear in other teams. She is always thinking of what is best for her team and is willing to do what it takes for us to be successful. Taylor is incomparable in her abilities as a player, teammate, and leader.” Taylor will attend the University of Kentucky and play softball next year. Taylor has twice previously been honored as a SSBC Athlete of the Week, once for volleyball and once for softball. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Taylor!