Fortuna celebrates its seniors at inaugural Husky ESPYs

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Fortuna seniors Cody Collins, Lonna Torrez and Kylee Fennell were named Athletes of the Year at the inaugural Husky ESPYs, held earlier this month at the Gene Lucas Center.

Collins, who has played a key role in the Huskies’ historic Big 5 and Charlie Lakin Tournament double championship this spring, was named Male Athlete of the Year, while Fennell and Torrez were named Female Athletes of the Year.

The Husky ESPYs are the brainchild of school Assistant Principal Kristie Christiansen, who initiated the popular awards night when she was the Athletic Director at Eureka High School, before bringing them with her to Fortuna.

“It was really great,” she said of the night. “And it was exciting to bring that to Fortuna High. It’s something I’m really proud of.”

The night featured 17 awards and the student-athletes involved were encouraged to dress formally for the occasion.

“It’s a really special way to honor and celebrate the senior student-athletes in a unique way that’s different to how they have been recognized throughout their high school careers,” Christiansen said. 

Eight Fortuna seniors were recognized for competing in at least 10 sports seasons during their high school careers, but Fennell was the only athlete to compete in 12.

The outgoing senior played volleyball, basketball and softball for Fortuna and recently announced she will play both volleyball and softball at College of the Redwoods after graduation.

Torrez will also bring her talents to CR and will compete for the Corsairs track and field team.

Other Fortuna student-athletes honored included Matt Letter, who was named Most Inspirational Male Athlete, and Zoe Dewberry, who was named Most Inspirational Female Athlete.

Cole Ayala received the award for Best Individual Male Performance, while Lindsay Bibby was recognized for Best Individual Female Performance.

Bibby was a two-time winner on the night and also received the award for Female Breakthrough Athlete, while Jonah Rapich was named Male Breakthrough Athlete.

Team of the Year, meanwhile, went to the boys basketball team, while wrestling head coach Steven Stockdale was named Coach of the Year.

Male Scholastic Athlete went to Mathew Hansen, while Libby Johnston and Kasidy Johnston were named Female Scholastic  Athletes.

The special occasion also honored two of the seniors as Best Dressed Athletes, with Haydin Mela getting the nod for the boys and Elle Emmons receiving the award for the girls.

The annual awards night also honors a Fan of the Year, which went to Rick and JoAnne Center, while Ashley Tully and Dylan Moorehead O’Loughlin were the recipients of the Eddie Houseworth Memorial Scholarship.

The seniors recognized for 10 or more sports seasons included Fennell and Collins with 12 and 11 seasons, respectively, as well as Letter, Torrez, Libby Johnston, Rogan Gans, Troy Lopez and Coltyn Corning, with 10 each.

Gordie Hunt, who graduated Fortuna High in 1998, was the keynote speaker for the night.

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