The finalists for Oklahoma's Wendy's High School Heisman award, which honors student-athletes for hard work and dedication through outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community and school leadership.
The following 20 finalists were selected out of the 552 applicants from the state.
The 10 female finalists are: Briana Kuestersteffen, Norman North; Andi McGill, Turner; Kaleigh Cox, Claremore; Romy Fawaz, Lawton Christian; Hailey Gillispie, Henryetta; Keyoni Mbroh, Putnam City North; Ashley Pruitt, Westville; Wendy Ramirez, Southeast; Jade Mitchell, Broken Bow; and Taylor Ely, Norman.
The 10 male finalists are: Landon Nault, Kingfisher; Weslie Howard, Guthrie; Colton Jackson, Skiatook; Samuel Blankenship, Tulsa Union; William Estes, Hollis; Chandler Miller, Bixby; Keedric Emerson, Wilson; Montana McNeal, Broken Bow; George Coffman, Marlow; Chandler Puckett, Hilldale.
On Nov. 4, one male and one female finalist from each state will be named, and of the state winners, 12 will be chosen as national finalists. Those 12 will go on to compete for the national award on Dec. 13 in New York City. National finalists will be featured during a televised ceremony on an ESPN network and will receive gold medals, along with $2,000 awards for their high schools.
One male and one female winner will receive a crystal Wendy's High School Heisman trophy and a $500 Wendy's gift certificate. Wendy's will donate $10,000 to each winner's high school, and the winners will be recognized during the collegiate Heisman Trophy announcement on ESPN, Dec. 14.
KINGFISHER WILL TEST NEWCASTLE DEFENSE
The biggest key to Newcastle's 4-0 record in District 3A-3 has been its defense.
The Racers haven't allowed more than 14 points in a district game, and have only given up more than 14 twice in all eight games. That includes last week's 26-3 win over John Marshall, which was averaging 30.1 points per game up to that point.
But the test gets tougher for the Newcastle defense this week, when second-ranked Kingfisher comes to town. The Yellowjackets are averaging 51.3 points per game, led by running back Landon Nault, who has rushed for 1,329 yards and 29 touchdowns.
CASHION IMPROVING AT RIGHT TIME
Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford isn't impressed just with freshman quarterback Matt Harman. He's impressed with how the Wildcats have improved from Week 1.
Cashion is 6-2 overall, but has not lost since Week 4 to Minco, which has District A-3 locked up.
“We started out losing two of our first four with a freshman quarterback, with a young offensive line and some other young kids playing in some key spots,” Shackelford said. “To battle through that and continue to improve and really see the big picture is what impresses me with this team.”
Harman accounted for three touchdowns in Cashion's 23-7 win against rival Crescent last week.
Cashion needs to win one of its final two games against Carnegie and Crossings Christian to clinch second in the district and a home game to open the playoffs, which would be beneficial to the young team.
“Once you get in the playoffs, especially in Class A where it's pretty wide open every year, anything can happen,” Shackelford said. “If we can play at home in the first round, I like our chances. We'll just kind of see what happens after that.”
OKC TEAM WINS USTA EVENT
A team of Oklahoma City-area tennis players won the USTA Junior Team Tennis 18U Intermediate national championship earlier this month.
The team consisted of Beau Lanier, Jordan Henry, Joshua Noel, Katie Conrad, Blake Crawford, Maria Marcos and Seth Moore, all of whom reside in or around Oklahoma City.
The team, representing the Missouri Valley USTA Section, defeated a team from Wilmington, N.C., 55-36 in the championship match of the event at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center in Cayce, S.C.
Oklahoma City defeated a team from Ponce, P.R., 52-37 in the semifinals of the 32-team event.
“These kids worked really hard and somehow we managed to win the whole thing,” said OKC coach Randy Painton. “Most of the kids were here last year and we placed fifth. Our goal this season was to come back and improve, which we did.”