The Community School paid homage to its soccer athletes at an award banquet and potluck party at the Elkhorn Clubhouse on Tuesday.
Given unlimited time from athletic director John Remington, varsity boys' head coach Richard Whitelaw ad-libbed his way through a set that was at once humorous, touching and heartfelt.
Explaining how the term "hobbit" came into vogue for this year's vertically challenged team, Whitelaw recounted coaching a Sawtooth United U-12 boys' team with Aaron Thompson some six years ago.
"We were in Boise and all the boys that are now upperclassmen, Tanner (Flanigan) Tyler (Davis), Wyatt (Bunce) Morgan Pike and others, were just teeny-tiny then. Aaron needed a sub and looked down the bench and said, 'Hey, Richard, throw me another hobbit, would you?'"
Decades of clean living were displayed for all to see as Whitelaw spontaneously recited all 17 previous recipients of the Factor Award. He also paid tribute to each one of his 20 players, running the gamut of gentle gibing, "Tim Kanellitsas, the first player in Cutthroat history to show up in slippers and a long-sleeved Snuggie," to the heart-tugging, "These boys are the epitome of a Cutthroat player who wears his shirt with pride," when presenting Jackson Bates and Wyatt Bunce with the Factor Award.
Whitelaw noted that co-captain Tyler Davis was "one of my greatest players over the last two seasons" when presenting him with his second straight Most Inspirational award as voted on by his teammates.
Goal of the Year went to Will Brokaw, who pocketed a sublime shot to lift Sun Valley 1-0 over Buhl in the playoffs.
Freshman Zach Lindahl's ability did not go unrecognized in winning the Most Improved trophy, and Whitelaw likened him to Quinn Orb, who will go down in school annals as one of its most accomplished and versatile players.
With 10 goals this season and 58 in his career, co-captain Tanner Flanigan took home both MVP and High Scorer honors. The third and youngest of the Flanigan boys, Tanner started a record 74 matches for the Cutthroats, besting the mark set by Alex Conn.
< "Even though our results (5-9-4) weren't what we expected, these were such good guys and we loved every minute of it," Whitelaw said.
Co-captains Flanigan and Davis rounded out the remarks by thanking coaches Bob Brock and Jason Lynch.
"Stick with it," Davis said to the younger players. "You will be happy you did."
Girls' head coach Kelly Feldman and assistant/jayvee coach Carolina Stevens had the hard task of following up Whitelaw, but were backed up by a beautiful fourth-place trophy from the State 3A Soccer Tournament and a 15-5-2 record.
"The girls got better with every game," Feldman said. "We were the district champs, and placed fourth at state. We had 13 different goal scorers with 80 goals for and 30 against."
Feldman noted the team had three players named to the All-State squad: Nellie Brown, Gabi Perenchio and Ricki Eshman. Five made All-Conference: Hailey Rheinschild, Kelly Hennessy, Emma Wilander, Brown and Eshman.
Hennessy, a junior, was named Most Valuable Player. Feldman lauded her ability to run the defense and make the players around her better. Kayla Cloud was Most Improved. Kerry Lee Nelson was voted Most Inspirational for the second consecutive season.
"She always worked hard and tried to do her best," Feldman said.
The Coaches' Award winner was Nellie Brown.
"Nellie scored in nine of the final 12 games. She had a huge breakthrough and became the player we knew she could be," Feldman said.
Volleyball coach Reamy Goodwin and his team enjoyed lunch two weeks ago, and the following awards were given:
Varsity volleyball: Most Inspirational was Meredith Pintler. Most Improved was Sophia Carkonen. Most Valuable Player was Morgan Pintler.
Junior varsity volleyball: Most Inspirational was Isobel Pollock. Most Improved was Morgan Roudabush. Most Valuable Player was Barrett Brown.