The 9th Annual Gathering of the Pride took place on the campus of Asheville Christian Academy last week. The event honors the yearly achievements of Lions players, coaches and teams and is highlighted by several special awards.
The Best Breakthrough of the Year Award went to the Girls Track and Field team. For the first time in school history the team won the conference championship and followed that up with a third place showing at the state meet.
The Lion Iron Award are the Strength and Conditioning Awards given to a boy and girl who demonstrate commitment, work ethic, leadership and improvement at an exceptional level thorugh the designated strength and conditioning program. The winners were Avery Jackson (track and field) and Blake Bellows (boys basketball).
The Sportsmanship of the Year Award went to Aidan Swatzell. He was honored for his humility and intensity as well as his work ethic and his ability to lead through his actions. He consistently demonstrated an attitude of sportsmanship in the heat of competition while honoring and respecting his opponents.
The Upset of the Year Award went to the Boys’ Basketball Team for their win on the road against Christ School. Trailing by eight points in the fourth quarter the Lions went on a 16-0 run to win the game 75-65. The basketball team went on to beat the Greenies at home later in the year in route to their first ever undefeated conference regular season.
The Rookie of the Year Award went to newcomers Holly Lanter and Trelin Harper. Lanter lettered in three sports and was all conference and all state in track and field as a 7th grader. Harper was all conference in basketball, all state in track and field and broke the school record and won the state championship in the discus.
The Comeback of the Year Award went to Tyler Mckinney. During a basketball game against nationally ranked Legacy Charter, he went up for a dunk and was hit in the air causing him to do a full flip and land on his face which led to a dislodged tooth and a severe mouth injury. The injury didn’t stop McKinney as he returned to the court a couple weeks later and finished the year as one of WNC’s best players garnering all conference and all-state honors.
The Best Moment of the Year Award went to the boys cross country team who defended their state championship this year. A muddy course could not keep the Lions’ runners from repeating as state champs.
The Coach of the Year Award was given to strength and conditioning noach Nick Ficker. His innovative, consistent, motivating and visionary leadership has brought strength and conditioning at ACA to a new level. He was recently named the south east United States Strength Coach of the Year by the nation’s leading strength and conditioning organization.
The Crown Awards have been the cornerstone award for decades in the ACA athletic department. It is presented to a both a boy and girl who demonstrate not only outstanding athletic ability but also Christ-like qualities. This year’s winners were Brantley Compton and Sam Perry.