By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School's wrestling and basketball coaches and players have been honored with the release of the 2013 All-Western Athletic Conference teams for the two sports.
GCHS wrestling coach Carlos Prieto and girls basketball coach David Upton, who guided their respective teams to WAC championships this season, were named coaches of the year.
In addition, junior Taryn Tempel was named the Player of the Year for the girls after leading the Lady Buffs in scoring and the team going undefeated at 8-0 in claiming their first WAC title. The Lady Buffs also had their best won-loss record in program history at 17-4.
Prieto's wrestling team, which won the Class 6A state championship in February, had six members of his squad earn first team all-WAC honors.
Michael Prieto (106), Tevin Briscoe (132), Trevor Kennedy (145), Chris Adler (152), Juan Carlos Rodriguez (182) and Montana Fuller (285) were the first team selections for the Buffs.
Tempel was joined on the girls first team by sophomore Jaymie Bernbeck.
For the Buffs' boys basketball team, which finished its season at 15-8 and earned a spot at the Class 6A state tournament a week ago, senior forward Bo Banner was the lone player to make the first team.
Wrestlers who were recognized on the honorable mention list included Matt Urrutia (120), Alec Castillo (126), AJ Hurtado (138), Zac Finch (160), Anthony Gardner (170), Sammy Reyes (195) and Samson Aldaco (220).
"I am really proud of all the kids because 13 out of the 14 weight classes were either first or second team," coach Prieto said. "That just goes to show you that we had a really solid lineup from top to bottom."
As far as the coaching award, Prieto was quick to give credit to his assistants and the wrestlers.
"It's nice to get recognized and I appreciate it, but it's easy to coach a bunch of unselfish young men that have one goal in mind and that was to win state," coach Prieto said.
Honorable mention honors for the Lady Buffs basketball team were won by senior Johna McClelland and for the Buffs' boys by junior Tristan Nanninga.
Other members of the all-WAC wrestling team included: Jady McRoberts of Dodge City (113), Clay Weil of Dodge City (120), Chris Burley of Great Bend (126), Dane Edwards of Dodge City (138), Bryce Hofmeister of Great Bend (160), Kyler Myers of Hays (170), Preston Weigel of Hays (195) and Gunar Brewer of Great Bend (220). Weigel was voted the wrestler of the year, compiling a perfect 42-0 record and a state 5A championship.
The remaining members of the girls all-WAC team included Kaitlin Schumacher of Hays, Jai Chapman of Liberal and Morgan Harwood of Great Bend.
"Every year Taryn has improved her game," Upton said of the 5-7 Tempel, who averaged 15.2 points this season. "She does a lot of things well. She goes as hard in practice as she does in a game, which helps lead by example."
Bernbeck, a 5-11 sophomore, was the team's second leading scorer with just under 13 points per game.
"She really came out of her shell and asserted herself," Upton said of Bernbeck. "She had an outstanding season and I think as she progresses through her high school career, you can look forward to her making many more good plays."
Of the coaching award, Upton was appreciative of the fact that it reflected the team's accomplishment this season.
"It is a reflection of the team," Upton said. "This team really bought into what we have asked of them, and we had great success."
On the boys all-WAC team were Brady Werth of Hays, JJ Lewis of Liberal, Jace Larson of Dodge City and Ethan Henderson of Great Bend. Werth, just a sophomore, was the player of the year while Dennis Hamilton of Dodge City won coach of the year honors for the league champion Red Demons.
Coach Jacy Holloway said it was rewarding to see Banner recognized for his senior season, especially considering that he was coming off a football injury that kept him out of much of the preseason practices and start of the season.
"Bo really worked hard and his game just got progressively better," Holloway said of the 6-2 senior. "when you look at where he was a year ago to where he got to this year, he made huge strides. We always had him guarding the other team's best player, regardless of position. He worked hard to get better on defense, he worked hard on his shooting and it all paid off."