Student athletes lauded at prestigious banquet


Rylyn Wang, Staff writer

Hacienda League school were recognized at the Hacienda 5 Honors Banquet at Mountain Meadows Golf Course on Monday, April 24.

An annual tradition hosted by all athletic leagues, seniors Talmage Cobb, Phil Cotton, Genevieve Niko, Josh Razo and Elias Riojas were chosen for their academic, athletic and extracurricular achievements.

“Whether we’re in the Hacienda League, the Palomares League or the San Antonio League, every school picks their selected athletes that are going to represent [them],” ASB adviser Andy Schultz said. “It’s great for the kids because they get to be seen by their peers who they’ve competed against for many years.”

During the banquet, principals from each school shared a speech to introduce their athletes. Then, athletes shared a speech they had prepared beforehand that first introduced their parents and special teachers or coaches: coach Bryan Canchola, coach Marlin Lane, coach Katie Argumosa, social science and coach teacher Jerry Knox and Spanish teacher Gabriel Hernandez. Then, they elaborated on where they see themselves in the future.

“I feel very proud of myself and excited that I was able to receive this award because of all the hard work I put in and was recognized for,” Niko said. “I always try coming to practice every day and try not to give any excuse for leaving early. I think I deserve this award because of my drive to stay disciplined and keep myself going.”

All five students are athletes in multiple teams and have earned many accolades in their sport. Cobb is the varsity water polo captain, All-Hacienda League MVP for water polo and a WHS Hall of Fame inductee for water polo. Cotton is the CIF Division 11 Defensive MVP, Hacienda League Defensive MVP and 16th in the state for tackles. Niko is a WHS Hall of Fame inductee for volleyball, Hacienda League All-Academic and a CIF Swim Consolation Qualifier. Razo is a three time Hacienda League MVP for cross country, has qualified for CIF Masters in track and chosen for first team All-San Gabriel Valley as top junior in cross country.  Riojas is a WHS Hall of Fame inductee for football, a Ken Gunn Award Recipient and WHS MVP for soccer.

“I don’t know if I deserved the award, but it’s the byproduct of the hard work I put in,” Cobb said. “I am proud that I was able to balance everything and keep everything that I wanted to do in high school. I have no regrets and I’ve done everything I wanted: emceed a rally, [got into] ASB, took AP and IB classes and I have a girlfriend and good friends. I’ve got this quintessential high school experience.”

During their four years in high school, they have taken classes that correlate with their career goals. Cobb plans to major in biomedical engineering to become a cardiologist, and Cotton prepares to major in mechanical engineering to achieve the goal of building race cars. Niko wants to pursue a psychology degree and create a mental awareness support group, and Razo intends to continue cross country and track under an athletic scholarship in college. Riojas plans to attain an EMT certification to become a firefighter.

“I’m grateful to the staff and all those people who selected me to be a member and a part of the Hacienda 5,” Cobb said. “It made me feel that someone was listening and made me feel accomplished because I knew that I tried to make an impact on other people.”Ω