By BRETT MARSHALL
Fourteen Garden City High School athletes were honored for their 2013 fall performances by the Western Athletic Conference in selecting first-team players in football, volleyball and boys soccer.
The three fall sports teams also garnered WAC team championships.
The Buffaloes' football team, which earned the WAC championship by virtue of its 35-0 win over Hays after both teams finished 3-1 in the standings, garnered eight first-team selections, four each on offense and defense, while senior Greyson Tempel was named the WAC Player of the Year and head coach Brian Hill was tabbed as Coach of the Year.
The Buffs, who advanced to the Class 6A state semifinals before being eliminated on Friday by No. 1-ranked Derby, finished its season with an 8-4 record and had key wins over Hutchinson, Dodge City in the Hatchet Game, and Wichita Heights in the second round of the state playoffs.
Offensive honorees were linemen Humberto Perez and Montana Fuller while wide receivers Caleb Tramp and Dustin Tempel were the other offensive selections for the Buffs. In the WAC's selection process, if an individual is chosen as Player of the Year, he is not eligible for first-team selection.
On the defensive side of the ball, Buffs' recognized included linemen Cody Worden and James Nguyen, along with linebacker Nalen Rincones and safety Dozie Ekweariri. Rincones is a sophomore, Tramp and Perez are juniors and the remaining five are seniors.
The boys soccer team, which went 7-1 in the WAC to edge Dodge City by one game, reached the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Senior David Fuentes, juniors Eric Barragan and David Amaro, along with sophomore Gilberto Tovar were named to the WAC first team unit. Junior Esteban Neave was an honorable mention selection.
Veteran coach Joaquin Padilla earned Coach of the Year honors by his peers.
In volleyball, despite winning their third consecutive WAC championship, neither first-year coach Shandra Sanders or any of the Lady Buffs, claimed the coach or player of the year honor. Those went to league runner-up coach Kelsey Perry of Great Bend and Lady Panthers' Tarynnn Stueder.
But seniors Jamie St. Clair and Taylor Linenberger did earn two of the six spots on the all-WAC first team while senior Taryn Tempel was an honorable mention selection.
An additional nine GCHS athletes received honorble mention honors in the three sports — one each in boys soccer and volleyball, and seven in football.
Each year, the five WAC schools compete for the prestigious Champions Cup, presented by State Farm Insurance.
It is a competition where points are awarded on a 12-8-6-4 basis for a school's finish in 20 varsity sports for both boys and girls. There are seven fall sports (boys and girls cross country, boys soccer, volleyball, football, girls golf and girls tennis), five winter sports (boys and girls basketball, wrestling, boys and girls bowling), and eight spring sports (boys and girls track and field, girls softball, boys baseball, girls swimming, girls soccer, boys tennis and boys golf).
Through the completion of all fall sports, the Buffs had totaled 76 points while Great Bend stood in second with 44 points. Liberal is third with 34, Dodge City fourth with 30 and Hays fifth with 26 points. The Buffs had league championships in five of the seven sports (girls cross country, boys soccer, football, volleyball and girls golf, while boys cross country and girls tennis placed second). Garden City has won the last two Champions Cup competitions after finishing last in 2011.