Scottsdale student-athletes take center stage at All-District Banquet

Recipients of the Charro Foundation Scholarship Awards: Luke Donovan of Desert Mountain and Sloane Van Zanen of Arcadia. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Scottsdale student-athletes, coaches, parents and administrators converged for a night of frivolity and recognition at the All-District Banquet where the spotlight was reserved for the student-athletes.

The McCormick, 7401 N. Scottsdale Road, played host to the tri-annual banquet Monday, Dec. 4, which starred fall sports athletes from Scottsdale Unified School District’s five high schools.

Fall sports include badminton, cross-country, football, golf, swim and volleyball.

Coaches from each school introduced their players who made the all-district team while two student-athletes earned $500 scholarship awards from The Charro Foundation.

This banquet’s recipients included Desert Mountain High School football player Luke Donovan and Arcadia High School Golfer Sloane Van Zanen.

SUSD Athletic Director Nathan Slater said it’s important to take a moment to recognize student-athletes whenever the opportunity presents itself.

“We have a lot of negativity out in the world and to show some positivity is always a breath of fresh air,” he said following the event.

The banquet’s keynote speaker was Luis Gonzalez, senior advisor to the president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mr. Gonzalez’ message to the young scholar-athletes was people like him are looking for the next big star and there’s nothing stopping them from reaching those heights.

He also said while some athletes get to take the elevator to success, many have to take the stairs, putting in the work to reach the top.

Following his remarks, coaches then presented their teams to those in attendance while giving a small snippet of information on each one.

In order to qualify for the all-district team, athletes in individual sports have to place at the district meet or invitational while head coaches determine who makes it from team sports.

Arcadia Girl’s Cross-Country Head Coach Sarah Boustila said she notices her runners performing hard to reach to place at the district meet because they want to attend the banquet.

“It’s neat that they’re so gung-ho, from the cross-country aspect of it, to make it and to be able to come to this event,” she said after the banquet.

Along with All-District Awards, the Scottsdale Charros awarded a pair of scholarship awards to two student-athletes.

Athletic directors and coaches nominate someone for this award “based on character, academics, community service, athletics and future plans.”

Donovan said he greatly appreciates the Charros and their commitment to education.

“I love how they support education because it’s scholar before athlete,” he said after the event. “That’s definitely something my parents have taught me and something Desert Mountain preaches.”

This banquet was the first of three that span the 2017-18 school year. The next one will be Monday, March 26 for the winter sports with the one for the spring sports slated for Monday, May 14.

Luis Gonzalez, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, speaks at the fall sports All-District Athletics Awards Banquet. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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