Over the past few years, organizers of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® have been fine-tuning and elevating in stature the “program within the program” that is the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast Honors. These prestigious recognitions are presented each year to deserving students from local high schools, private schools and Shenandoah University; students who not only achieve success on the playing field and in the classroom; but, also exhibit obvious qualities of leadership. These students and their parents are invited to attend the perennially sold-out Sports Breakfast; mix and mingle with the celebrities [like Cal Ripken in 2016, and Hines Ward in 2017]; and, receive their awards from these famous sports legends. As always, the Festival is trying to build indelible memories even as it strives to entertain. This year’s nominees are as follows:
Honoree: Bayne Gordon
School: Clarke County High School
Parents: Teri and Bud Gordon
Career Highlights: Bayne is a four-time Regional and four-time 2A State Wrestling Champion winning at 106, 120, 126 and 132 pounds. He recently was awarded the best Student-Athlete in 1A/2A schools from the VA Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Virginia Wrestling Association National Team and has competed in national events in folk-style, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling across the country for the past 3 seasons. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Wrestling in Manassas. He helps coach and train youth wrestlers with many local clubs. In addition to his wrestling achievements, Bayne is also an active volunteer with the Clarke County Fair and serves on multiple committees. He currently raises goats and poultry on his family farm. Bayne has a 4.15 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Future Plans: He will be wrestling for George Mason University in the fall under Coach Joe Russell.
Honoree: Aaron Black
School: James Wood High School
Parents: Son of Pamela Simpson and Charles Black
Career Highlights: Aaron finished with a 33-1 record this past season; and, holds a Career Record of 181-13 (3rd All-Time in wins at James Wood). He is a four-time conference champion; a two- time regional champion; a four-time state finalist; and, a two-time Virginia 4A state champion. He also carries a 3.80 GPA.
Future Plans: Aaron plans to attend Ferrum University to major in computer science and wrestle.
Honoree: Mya Mintschenko
School: John Handley High School
Parents: Elaine and Matt Mintschenko
Career Highlights: Mya is a four-year letter-winner at John Handley High School and was a team captain for the Judges Volleyball team. She was a 1st team All–Conference 21 West player; and, holds the school record in assists with 1484 and highest attack percentage with over 500 at .219. Mya also won All-Conference, All-Regional and All-State honors as a high jumper in track and field. She finished her career in the Top 10 in school history for the high jump [a school history, it is noted, that stretches back almost 100 years].
Future Plans: Mya has committed to play volleyball in NCAA Division II at Davis and Elkins College.
Honoree: Cody Robertson
School: Legacy Christian Academy
Parents: Vicki and Barry Robertson
Career Highlights: Cody participated in multiple sports. In soccer, he was his school’s 2016 Outstanding Defensive Player, 2016 Outstanding Goalie, and, overall, Legacy’s Most Outstanding Player. He was also on the NACA National Tournament Team. In basketball, he was Freshman Defensive Player of the Year; and, in 2017, his school’s Outstanding Player of the Year. In baseball, he was Outstanding Player of the Year in 2015; and, his team’s Most Valuable Player in 2016. He carries a 3.0 GPA.
Future Plans: Cody plans to attend Lord Fairfax Community College in the fall.
Honoree: P. K. Kier
School: Millbrook High School
Parents: April and Pede Kier
Career Highlights: P. K. was a four-year starter at running back. He has been recognized as All-Conference, All-Region, All-Area and All-State. He rushed for over 1,000 yards this season and broke the all-time rushing record at Millbrook High. He has also been a part of Winchester Rising Stars AAU Basketball, Childhood Cancer charity golf events, feeding the homeless, North End community leaf-rakings, FASST, and Walk-A-Thons for various non-profits. He is a member of DECA and interns with a local attorney’s office. P. K. carries a 3.8 GPA; and, he hopes to be able to use his football notoriety to brighten the lives of hospitalized children.
Future Plans: At UVA, P. K. plans to major in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science.
Honoree: Kolton Anderson
School: Mountain View Christian Academy
Parents: Ginger and Kevin Anderson.
Career Highlights: Kolton has received various awards for both athletics and academics, including the school’s sportsmanship award and leadership award. He maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school while also playing varsity basketball and varsity baseball. He is a member of the National Honor Society
Future Plans: Kolton plans to attend Shenandoah University in the fall of 2017 where he will major in biology before pursuing a graduate degree in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant.
Honoree: Stephen Latona
School: Shenandoah University
Parents: Alix and Tom Latona
Career Highlights: Stephen’s sport is lacrosse; and, in 2015, he was All-ODAC, Third Team; ODAC All-Sportsmanship; and, Academic All-State. In 2016, he was Team Captain; All-ODAC, Third Team; ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year; ODAC All-Sportsmanship; and, Academic All-State. In 2017, he was Team Captain; ODAC Player of the Week, 3/13; and, set program records for career goals and points.
Future Plans: Stephen didn’t state his future plans for us; but, we wish him well in all of his future pursuits.
Honoree: Eldar Hotic
School: Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy
Parents: His parents are Ekrim & Melissa Hotic. He is a foreign exchange student from Bosnia. His guardians here in the United States are Phil and Cari Combs of Winchester, VA.
Career Highlights: Eldar has captained the varsity basketball team for the past 2 years; and, has a GPA of 3.9.
Future Plans: He would like to play basketball at the college level and is being considered by several teams.
Honoree: John Borst
School: Sherando High School
Parents: Liz and John Borst
Career Highlights: John’s sport is wrestling; and, he is the career win record holder at Sherando with a record of 211-18 with 164 falls. His freshman year, he was 5th at the VHSL 4A State tournament. His sophomore year, he was conference, region and 4A State champion. His junior year, he was once again conference, region and 4A state champion. His senior year, he was once again conference, region and 4A State champion. At a national level, he claimed the championship belt at the Super 32 Tournament in North Carolina; and, he won The Beast of the East tournament, held at the University of Delaware.
Future Plans: John is attending Virginia Tech to study kinesiology and continue his wrestling career.