Female athlete of the year: the reasoning
Senior years come better than the previous nine months did for Jackie Goleman.
Goleman's even had better years, arguably. She was still the De Soto Explorer's selection as the female athlete of the year, however, edging out a slew of Wildcats with her consistency and multi-tooled approach.
There are no real criteria for being chosen athlete of the year. Being a senior helps, but is not mandatory -- it's not a "best senior" award. It's also not a career award, meaning Goleman's 2006 high jump state championship didn't figure in either.
What did figure in was her playing three sports all the way through her senior season, and being very good at all of them.
Goleman edged freshman Carly Stanley because of the three sports. Stanley warranted quite a debate, however. She became an integral member of the girls cross country team in her first season and was actually the first Wildcat to cross the finish line at the state tournament, leading the way to the team's first state championship.
Stanley then helped lead the soccer team to its best season in the program's three-year history. Again having an immediate effect, Stanley scored De Soto's first goal of the season, then scored again in that game to deliver the Cats an opening day overtime win. She went on to lead De Soto with 21 goals, and even notched nine assists, good for second on the team.
She might be a foot shorter than Goleman, so it seems unfair to penalize her for not playing basketball, but Goleman's three-season dedication and senior edge broke open a close race.
There were plenty of Wildcats that had great performances in the 2006-2007 season. The entire girls cross country team warranted mentioning, but that feels like somewhat of a cop-out, and not what we had in mind for the first of a hopefully annual award. Kira Gonzalez played three sports, but was truly spectacular in only two, running as an alternate on the cross country team. Lauren Karnitz finished a step behind Stanley at state cross country and was the only De Soto girl to earn an individual medal at the state track meet. Morgan Frehe was also a key to the cross country team's success. Chesney Burgweger ran there and also competed in two events at state track.
In the end, there were a lot of great performances from De Soto girls athletes this season, and the competition for next year's honor should be great. This year it was Goleman that was the athlete of the year, however. She showed why over and over again all year long.