Throughout her four years at Pilot Point, Abby Watson was playing whatever sport was in season — a theme she had carried throughout her youth.
As a freshman, Watson was on the school’s varsity basketball and softball teams, and eventually was moved up to the varsity volleyball team.
On Thursday night, Watson was recognized for her efforts. The Pilot Point graduate received the Female Athlete of the Year award at the 10th annual Greater Denton Sports Commission awards banquet at TWU’s Hubbard Hall.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Watson said. “It shows how hard I’ve worked, and it actually came out to something and people actually recognized it.”
Will Allen, who was an offensive lineman at Pilot Point, received Male Athlete of the Year honors. Allen’s father accepted the award on his behalf.
Allen and Watson each received $1,000 scholarships.
Watson, who is 5-10 but stood about 6-2 in her heels Thursday night, has been a staple on all-district teams. She was a District 9-3A first-team selection in volleyball and softball and a co-offensive MVP in basketball.
“It’s just something that I love,” Watson said about playing sports. “I’ve done it ever since I was little, and I’ve never known anything else. That’s just what I’ve always done.”
Ryan’s Trey Mohair received a $500 scholarship and the Jim Bateman Award, which is named for the late Denton football coach.
Lake Dallas’ Samantha Llamas and Argyle’s Austin Aune were runners-up in their respective categories for athlete of the year, earning $500 scholarships. Aune signed with the New York Yankees on Tuesday and was not in attendance.
Krum’s Rachel Wallace and Ponder’s T.J. Ferryman each finished in third place and received $300 scholarships.
North Texas track and field coach Carl Sheffield was named the Mean Green’s Coach of the Year, while Pioneer softball coach Richie Bruister received the TWU Coach of the Year award.
Argyle’s John King won the high school Coach of the Year Award. King led Argyle to the Class 3A boys basketball state championship last season. King and Sheffield were not in attendance.
The Chairman’s Award was given to former TWU gymnastics coach Frank Kudlac.
Athletic directors from each high school in Denton County chose a male and female athlete to represent their school at the ceremony. Jason Piter, chairman of the GDSC, said the main goal of the organization is to acknowledge accomplishments in area communities.
“We want to go above and beyond and recognize the athletic achievement throughout Denton County,” Piter said.
The keynote speaker for the evening was former Cowboys defensive tackle Chad Hennings. Hennings played with the Cowboys from 1992 to 2000, winning three Super Bowls.
When Hennings began his speech, he took the microphone off of the podium, gripping it with his left hand as he instilled principles and values to those gathered in the room.
Hennings, with his Super Bowl XXVIII ring on his right hand, quoted the Book of Proverbs and spoke mostly about his time in the Air Force, where he was a part of 45 missions, flying A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in the Persian Gulf in the early 1990s.
“I think that those experiences had more of an impact on me and personally in my development than what playing for the Cowboys did,” Hennings said. “It solidified who I was as a person.”
Hennings has been speaking at functions since his playing days, taking advantage of the platform to share his many experiences.
“It’s passing the baton; it’s passing those lessons,” Hennings said. “It’s more personal for me because I have kids that are their age. So, as a parent, I basically tell them the same things I would tell my children.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .