Simmons, Garrison honored at Oak Ridge

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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As the Oak Ridge High class of 2012 begins to prepare for the future, last Sunday evening was a night for a pair of Trojan athletes to be acknowledged for their past. Seniors Garrison Yeandle and Haley Simmons were honored with the Outstanding male and female Career Athlete Award at the Oak Ridge Athlete of the Year Banquet on May 20. The collective Oak Ridge High coaching staff voted?with minimum requirements of a 2.8 GPA, three varsity letters and strong leadership and sportsmanship qualities?for the two senior Trojans. Yeandle, a three-year varsity starter on the Trojan water polo and swim teams, turned the water polo team into a major threat in the Sac-Joaquin Section. ?I started swimming and playing polo my freshman year and was completely new to the sports,? said Yeandle, the hole set who will be in the pool for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next year. ?Winning the award made me feel very accomplished and lucky. There were many equally deserving nominees.? In 2011 Yeandle was a water polo seventh team All-American (top 70 players nationwide). He holds Oak Ridge varsity records for career goals and steals, while earning two all-section honors. On the swim team he, along with his relay mates, set Delta River League records in the 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle relays in 2012. ?I don?t think there?s anyone that put in the extra effort trying to be best at his sport,? said Oak Ridge water polo coach Don McCormick of Yeandle. ?I just enjoyed watching him dominate other teams by himself. He put our team on his shoulders. Even when he was double-teamed, he?d score. He is a phenomenally strong guy and an awesome individual.? Simmons played all four years on the Trojans? varsity volleyball team. In her first two seasons she helped the Lady Trojans win back-to-back section titles from the middle blocker position while breaking the school?s season record for blocks by a sophomore. ?She never went less than 100 percent,? says head coach Becky Potter, who has had Simmons on her team in all four of her varsity coaching seasons. ?She just got more confident with who she competed against and with her leadership. All of the other girls looked up to her in awe because she?s a good leader with good sportsmanship and integrity. She was great at balancing having fun while at the same time being serious and getting the job done.? During her tenure at Oak Ridge, Simmons led the Lady Trojans to a 110-46 record (37-6 in conference games) while compiling a 40.7 hitting percentage with 777 kills and 168 blocks. She was selected to three All-League teams as well as the second team All-Metro this past season. ?I was not expecting to be chosen for this award at all,? said Simmons, who will study psychology at Chico State in the fall. ?I thought it would be cool to maybe be picked for just Athlete of the Year because there were a lot of good candidates who did a lot of extra-curricular things. But when I found out I got the career award, it was definitely exciting.? Simmons won?t play for Chico in her freshman year but doesn?t rule out the possibility of returning to the volleyball court as a walk-on in the future. ?It still hasn?t set in that I?m not playing next year but I?m sure I?ll miss it. Maybe it?ll start to hit me harder than what I?m feeling now (once the season begins).? Oak Ridge Athletes of the Year Freshmen Female Morgan Jones, water polo, basketball, swim Freshmen Male Ryan Sullivan, football, basketball, baseball Sophomore Female Jenn Hoffman, basketball Sophomore Male Josh Wellman, lacrosse, football Junior Female Haley Anderson, basketball Junior Male Keaton Subjeck, wrestling Senior Female Jenna Klein, basketball Senior Male Bryce Scott, basketball