In April, the IndyStar honored the top high school athletes in 16 sports at the inaugural Indiana Sports Awards, an ESPY’s-like awards show at Lucas Oil Stadium, featuring Colts QB Andrew Luck as keynote speaker and Indiana Fever coach Stephanie White as host. While Player of the Year awards here handed out in fall and winter sports, spring athletes were forced to wait.
Well, their time has come.
Athletes in each sport were nominated by their respective coaches’ associations and IndyStar sports staff, with winners were selected by IndyStar staff.
Softball: Miranda Elish, Crown Point
A pitcher, Elish finished the year 15-2 with a 0.41 ERA and led the Bulldogs (28-2) to the sectional finals this past season. In addition to her exploits as a pitcher, she posted a .505 batting average with seven home runs and 26 RBI at the plate. A three-time first team All-State selection, she struck out 196 batters in 103 innings pitched, surrendering just 31 hits and 13 walks. She will continue her softball career at the University of Oregon.
Baseball: Nick Prather, Zionsville
The Florida Atlantic recruit was nearly perfect on the mound in 2016, posting an 11-0 record with a 0.91 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 69.1 innings for the Eagles (30-5-2), who advanced to the Class 4A state championship game. Prather also batted .337 with a pair of home runs and 23 RBI.
Girls track and field: Lynna Irby, Pike
The junior won three individual state titles this spring, while Pike took second place as a team. Irby swept the sprints for the third consecutive season. She tied her own state record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.50 seconds, while capturing the 200 in 23.53 and the 400 in 53.71. Last Sunday, Irby won the women’s 400 meters in 52.51 seconds in the USA Junior Championships at Clovis, Calif., and qualified for the under-20 World Junior Championships, set for July 19-24 in Poland.
Boys track and field: Cooper Williams, West Lafayette
The 6-4 senior and Indiana University recruit clocked 1:52.2 in the anchor leg to bring West Lafayette the victory in the 3,200-meter relay at June’s state meet. Then, he ran away from defending champion Hari Sathyamurthy of Brownsburg to win the 800 meters in 1:54.03. A week later, Williams became just the third Indiana high school runner ever to run 800 meters in less than 1 minute, 50 seconds, achieving the feat in the Midwest Meet of Champions in Ohio. Williams was also named the IHSAA mental attitude award winner for accomplishments on and off the track.
Girls tennis: Maeve Koscielski, Cathedral
A sophomore, Koscielski finished the season 27-0, including 11 consecutive postseason wins on her way to capturing the individual singles state title. Her 6-0, 6-0 scoreline in the final is the state’s first shutout victory in the final since at least 1974-75. In addition to her individual success, Koscielski, and her sisters Grace and Claire, helped the Irish capture the team state title, the school’s first since 1986.
Boys golf: Cole Bradley, Harrison
The defending state champion, Bradley won a regional title, shooting a 71 as he led the Raiders to a team regional win. In this year’s state meet, Bradley tied for 11th with a 36-hole total of 147 (72-75) and helped Harrison to an eighth-place finish as a team. He is the son of Purdue men’s golf coach, Rob Bradley.
Boys rugby: Satchel Carnine, Penn
A two-time All-American and member of last year’s state champions, Carnine helped lead the Kingsmen back to the state final this year before falling to Royal Irish. Penn, however, captured the single-school Midwest High School Championships in May, knocking off Illinois’ Notre Dame de La Salette in the final. Carnine was selected as part of the USA High School All-American team for a two-match series against Canadian opposition in Ontario.
Girls rugby: Kathleen Gearhart, Penn
A high school All-American selection, Gearhart competed with team USA Rugby in Vancouver in March and helped lead Penn to last year’s state championship match. Penn advanced to semistate this season, but fell to Warsaw 31-17. She was part of the Penn team that captured the Division II national championship in May in St. Charles, Mo. Gearhart earned player of the match honors in Penn’s run to the title.
Boys lacrosse: Alex Akins, Carmel
A shutdown defender and returning first team All-State performer and All-American in 2015, Akins played against some of the best attackers in the Midwest this season and no one, except Culver Prep’s Ethan Walker, scored more than one point against him this year. A first team All-Midwest Scholastic League selection the last two seasons, Akins will play at Division I Detroit Mercy next year.
Girls lacrosse: Emma Wildhart, Fishers/HSE
In 14 games, Wildhart scored 35 goals, added 46 assists and posted 59 draw controls. She was a leader on this year’s state champions, as Fishers/HSE came from behind to knock off Cathedral 12-11 in overtime in the state final.
Boys volleyball: Spencer Smith, Cathedral
Smith led the top-ranked Irish to the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association state title. The 6-7 Smith posted a team-high 13 kills in Cathedral’s title-clinching win over Brownsburg. An All-State selection, Smith is the only Indiana boys volleyball player to receive a Division I scholarship this season, signing to play with Ball State.