Almost through with football three years ago, Ryan Fitzgerald finished his A&M Consolidated career with a flourish Monday, winning the Tiger Award at the annual Winter Sports Banquet.
With memories of a record-setting run through the football playoffs and a handful of Tigers from other sports just back from their state meets, Consolidated honored athletes from six sports, along with trainers, filmers, cheerleaders and the Bengal Belles dance team.
Football's top honor, the Tiger Award, went to Fitzgerald in a vote by his teammates. Fitzgerald nearly stopped playing football after suffering three concussions in the first five games of his sophomore season, but he resumed his career as a junior and delivered a big senior season as the Tigers reached the Class 5A semifinals for the first time.
Fitzgerald led the Tigers with 164 tackles. He also won awards for football's top scholar-athlete and best linebacker.
It was a big night for the Fitzgerald family, as junior Robin Fitzgerald was named the Most Valuable Player for the volleyball team.
The other MVP winners included Detron Lewis, Tori Williams and Alicia Maxwell in basketball, Duncan Phillips and Annabelle Everitt in cross country, Jonathan Jackson and Lyndsee Vincent in swimming, and Trey Dott and Katy Brown in wrestling.
Howard Bundage won the football team's Heart Award and Taylor Schoen won the Outstanding Senior Trainer Award. Consol football award winners by position were Matt Kriger and Matt Szymanski on special teams, defensive lineman Apollos Daily, defensive back Leroy Thompson, offensive lineman Matt Coates, running back James Gay and wide receiver Lewis.
Carli Kolbe won volleyball's Outstanding Offensive Player Award and Kelsey Blum won the top Defensive Player Award. Erin Hawthorne earned the Academic Award and Kaci Bramhall won the Spirit Award.
Dusty Langwell and Daniel Tomkins shared the Most Dedicated Award on the boys cross country team, with Phillips receiving the Wayne Smith Award along with his MVP. Tomkins won the Most Improved Runner.
Victoria Walker took the Most Dedicated Award for girls cross country. Megan Erickson won Most Improved, Carly Discher won the Wayne Smith Award, Keri Wood won the Academic Excellence Award and Kelsey Appleton won the Most Spirited.
Courtney Oberg and Sarah Thomas shared the girls basketball team's Stephanie Richards Heart Award. Maxwell won the Most Dedicated Award and the Top Free-Throw Shooter Award. Laura Thomas earned the award for sportsmanship and Sarah Thomas won the Scholar Award.
Chad Kolbe and Lewis shared the offensive MVP Award for the boys basketball team, while Trey White was the Defensive MVP. The Heart & Hustle Award went to Jonathan Caldwell, while Sean Jones won for Sportsmanship, Kolbe was the top free-throw shooter and Ray Holliday earned the Academic Award. Calvin Greer and Briceson Payton won the All For One & One For All Award.
Two of the five Consol swimmers who reached the state meet were award winners. Along with Jackson's MVP, senior captain Chris Myers was named Most Improved. The swim team also honored Kyle Kenerley with the Pam Schwartz Citizenship Award and chose Oliver Horvat for the Mary Leland Heart Award.
In wrestling, Pat Chalupsky was named the top freshman.
The banquet also included a video tribute to Sue Betts, who is retiring as head girls basketball coach after leading the Lady Tigers for 24 seasons.