“21 Teams. 1 School. All Champions.” This appeared to be the theme of this year’s Bruin Cup, an annual dinner and awards ceremony celebrating Rock Bridge athletes’ achievements in their respective 21 teams, at Columbia College. The night began with dinner and followed with the distribution of awards to celebrate another year of victories in Rock Bridge athletics. Everyone from athletes and coaches to fans and parents were recognized for their help and support.
Sophomore Lily Farnen attended Bruin Cup for her participation as a cheerleader this year.
“At Bruin Cup, coaches nominated their players for awards for leadership and ability,” Farnen said. “I thought it was really fun to go and support my team members and learn about other sports teams.”
The night also included videos and slideshows by the Bruin Cup Video Committee which highlighted fan support, coach recognition and academic excellence of Rock Bridge athletes.
“There were a lot of videos that students made, and they showed which were really fun,” Farnen said. “I thought the fan support slideshow was cool as a thank you to all the people who come and cheer us on.”
After the videos and introductions, seniors Eli Sherman, Sam Mulholland, Billy Swift, Mike Nemec, Kate Harlan and Katelyn Race accepted Senior Scholar Awards for their cumulative 4.0 GPAs.These six seniors make up almost half of the thirteen valedictorians this year.
A member of girls basketball, Kayla Cheadle, and Matt Priest of boys baseball, snagged Outstanding Sportsmanship awards. Seniors Alex Henderson and Leia Tarbox received Exceptional Leaderships awards from presenters Sophi Farid and Kate Harline. Next was Tarnue Tyler of boys soccer, and Kelley Tacket of swimming and diving, who took home Rookie of the Year awards, presented by Alex Henderson and Graham Ratermann.
Subsequently, recipients for the Performance of the Year were revealed by Jordan Forrest and Ali Kreklow to be wrestling and girls golf.
Performance of the Year awards preceded the endowment of the Most Inspirational awards.
Senior Hannah Dressler, a member of girls basketball who completed the year with a 3.5 or higher GPA, received the Most Inspirational award. Zach Cook also accepted the Most Inspirational award from presenters Annie Rumpf and Eli Sherman.
The Bruin Cup Awards finished off with the bestowment of MVP male to A.J. Logan, Nathan Keown and Jason Smith. MVP female went to Sophi Farid, Sophie Cunningham and Kelley Tacket.
Overall, Mast believes Bruin Cup gives everyone the opportunity to reflect on the year and the contributions of senior athletes and the Bruin Cup Student Board.
“They do a lot of work for this event so we just really appreciate them,” Mast said. “And definitely celebrate what they’ve given to the athletics department.”
Not only was it a chance to hail athletes, but also for them to hail each other. Sophomore Cierra Porter, a member of Girls basketball, enjoyed Bruin Cup because she was able to observe all of Rock Bridge athletics not just her sport. “It was cool to have every kid from every sport come together.” Porter said. “It was an opportunity to recognize each other, instead of just ourselves.”
Mast agrees that Bruin Cup provided a chance for athletes to step back and appreciate other athletes, coaches, fans, and parents.
“Athletes get focused on their own sports and it’s life to them.” Mast said. “Part of the event is to understand the experiences of other kids and other sports too.”
All in all, the ceremony was filled with “happiness and pride.” Awards were given for not just athleticism but also for maintaining high grades and community service while partaking in sports. Mast highlighted the specialness of Bruin Cup because of its incorporation of all Rock Bridge athletics and their 21 teams, into one night.
“It’s kind of a family feel,” Mast said. “Even though theres 650 people there, it unites us all as one big Rock Bridge athletic family.”
By Fariha Rashid