Season after season, year after year, they donned Oxford’s navy blue and gold as they battled teams from around Oakland County and across Michigan.
During their careers, the 173 athletes in the Class of 2019 proved themselves to be fearless as they took on all comers. It didn’t matter if they were on fields, in gyms, on mats, in swimming pools, on courts, in bowling alleys, on tracks or spread across golf courses.
When they won, these Wildcats showed class. When they lost, they did it with grace. The final score always took second place to exhibiting good sportsmanship.
For all their hard work and dedication, the 92 male and 81 female senior athletes that played a combined 28 sports were honored by the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Booster Club during its 44th annual awards ceremony held Sunday at the high school’s Performing Arts Center.
Trent Myre and Megan Armbruster received the highest honors as they won the coveted George Prince and Helen Smith awards, respectively.
These awards are given annually to the best male and female athletes in the senior class. To win, a student must be “a credit to (his or her) school in athletic achievement, character and scholarship as determined by objective criteria as well as by vote of the student body and head coaching staff.”
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Myre, who lettered in wrestling four times and football three times. “It’s an honor to have the class vote for you.”
“It’s honestly surreal,” said Armbruster, who earned six varsity letters, three in bowling and three in soccer. “I wasn’t expecting to win, but I am honored to represent my class and my (fellow senior athletes) with this award.”
Ross Wingert, head coach of the varsity wrestling team, presented the Prince Award to Myre. In his mind, Myre fully exemplifies the dedication, sacrifice, discipline and leadership it takes to be an Oxford athlete.
Myre’s level of self-discipline was so great that Wingert once witnessed him remove all of the M&M’s from a bag of trail mix and throw them away because they weren’t part of his commitment to clean eating.
“Right there in my head, I was (thinking) this young man is very, very special – not in a bad way, in a fantastic way,” Wingert said.
After graduation, Myre, the son of Sheri and Buck Myre, plans to attend Muskegon Community College and continue wrestling. After a year there, he hopes to transfer to Michigan State University to study business and wrestle for the Spartans.
Myre is grateful for all of the “amazing” friends he’s made at Oxford and for the coaches who always had his back.
“They care so much about us,” he said.
Claude “JR” Lafnear, head coach of the varsity bowling teams, presented the Smith Award to Armbruster. He had no shortage of praise for his star bowler, who, earlier this year, became the women’s state champ and the first Wildcat to earn an individual title in the sport.
“She works incredibly hard in the classroom and on the field,” he said. “There’s never been anyone (who) questioned her effort or her desire to succeed . . . It’s rare to find an athlete that can be at the top of their sport and yet (still) have opponents pulling for them. This is truly the sign of a good sport and a good person.”
Lafnear said Armbruster “puts the team in front of herself and is always ready to do what is necessary to reach a goal.”
Armbruster, the daughter of Robert and Laura Armbruster, is in the fourth year of the five-year Oxford Schools Early College program. As she continues her education, she is considering studying criminal justice and forensic science.
To Armbruster, the most important thing high school athletics has taught her is to “have confidence in myself.”
In addition to the Prince and Smith awards, the Oxford Athletic Department presented the 2019 Scholar Athlete Award to McKenzie Miller and Lochlan Palmrose.
This award is given annually to the top male and female senior athletes who have lettered in two or more sports during their senior year and have the highest cumulative grade point average.
Miller, who is valedictorian for the Class of 2019, lettered in softball and volleyball, while Palmrose lettered in football and swim/dive.
As part of the awards ceremony, the Booster Club and Oxford Junior Wildcats (OJW), a youth football and cheer program, both announced the recipients of their respective scholarships.
The Booster Club selected Armbruster and Sam Barrott, who lettered in football and lacrosse.
OJW awarded scholarships to Barrott and Joseph Miller, who lettered in football and baseball.