Well, we did it. A couple hundred people attended the 2018 Sheridan Press Sports Awards Wednesday night at the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center.

We celebrated athletes from across Sheridan County — their success, teamwork, sportsmanship and perseverance. One student-athlete in each sport went home with an award, celebrated and recognized by his and her peers not only within their own schools, but the other schools in the county as well.

Quinton Brooks took home an award for sportsmanship. Others have described the young man as somebody who will apologize after sacking a quarterback. He invited his entire football team to his baptism. He also participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters and a number of other extracurricular activities.

We also took time to recognize coach Don Julian, who many have said deserves praise not only for what he’s helped the Sheridan Broncs accomplish on the field, but the young people he’s helped shape off the field. He received a standing ovation as his name was called to come on stage. 

The Press also gave out the very first Katie Malin French Be Fierce Award for Perseverance. This one is near and dear to us at The Press. Katie worked with us for just a few months but left an impression that we are determined will never fade. She was fierce at work. She was fierce as a high school and college athlete. She was a fierce friend. She was fierce in her battle with cancer, too.

Five individuals were nominated for the award. As we discussed each of them with Katie’s father, trying to determine who would receive a scholarship that we all hoped would encourage someone to persevere some more, we came to a conclusion. Each of the five deserved something. So, four of the five will receive scholarships for $250 apiece. The winner of the award, Chelsea Thornburgh, will received a $2,000 scholarship to help her continue her career at Sheridan College.

Thornburgh has lived a life of perseverance. Her story and the story of her family includes physical abuse from her biological dad and sexual abuse from her step-father, who then went to jail, leaving her family without a primary bread winner. Plus, her younger sister became pregnant. With so many distractions, so much hardship, it’s admirable that Thornburgh continues to work toward becoming the first college graduate in her family.

Thornburgh allowed us to share her story in the hopes that it would empower others to do the same. What a young woman. What a field of nominees. 

While many athletes didn’t have their names called Wednesday night to pick up an award on stage at the WYO — most all of the athletes in Sheridan County deserve a pat on the back. 

What a crew. What a county. What a night.