May 28, 2014 - Eighty boys and 51 girls earned a total of 131 varsity letters as Oxford High School seniors this year.
Oxford senior athletes Ben Line and Wesley Maskill shared the George Prince Award while athlete Darien Bandel took home the Helen Smith Award. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"That's a lot of kids," said Athletic Director Mike Watson at the annual Athletic Awards Ceremony hosted by the Oxford Wildcats Booster Club on May 19 at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.
"It was a very special senior class, not only for the number of kids who participated in athletics, but also for the accomplishments that they made. We had a couple semi-final appearances for these seniors both in wrestling and in bowling, as well as several outstanding individual records were set."
Watson also noted how special it was having 25 of those athletes sign to play sports at the college level.
As is the annual tradition, a female and male were named the "most outstanding athletes of their class."
For the ladies, Darien Bandel was the recipient of the prestigious Helen Smith Award.
Bandel was an eight-time varsity letter winner in volleyball, basketball and soccer, as well as All-OAA in two sports, named All-State First Team in volleyball.
Bandel will attend Oakland University where she will play volleyball for the Grizzlies.
"With all the senior athletes going different places this year, it's just incredible that I was lucky enough to win it," she said.
"Darien Bandel is a definitely deserving of the honor. Darien was an absolutely outstanding volleyball player who mainly was an outside hitter, but was very versatile," Watson added. "She learned how to be an effective leader as she got to her junior and senior year, which was really nice to see."
For the first time since 1993, there was a tie for the George Prince Award.
"It was nice to see a couple of kids tie for it that deserved it," noted Watson.
The recipients of the award were Ben Line and Wesley Maskill, both of who played football and wrestled, were All-OAA in both sports and received All-State honors in wrestling. Line will attend Robert Morris University where he will play football and Maskill will wrestle at Michigan State University.
"I thought it was cool to win it with Wes because we both play football, we both wrestle and we both worked really hard to become good athletes and do what we do here," Line said. "It's just cool to be given an award for something that you worked so hard for, especially with one of your best friends."
Watson described Line and Maskill as "very fine athletes."
"Ben Line as (Football) Coach (Bud) Rowley said has lineage and (saw) his brothers accomplish wildly successful things," he said. "Wes, on the other hand, also comes from an athletic background. His dad (Don) was former athletic director here and school administrator, and Don is still active in officiating in the sport of wrestling. Wes grew up in wrestling and has become one of the toughest wrestlers that we have here. Pound for pound, just one the toughest kids we have in the school."
The Bud Rowley Scholarship recipient was Kyle Reason.
"It's a pleasure to have a scholarship named after me. The only thing that's hard is it means you're old," Rowley said. "This scholarship is very close to my heart. I love Oxford, I bleed blue and gold. I came here in 1973 and it's just a phenomenal community."
Reason played football and ran track.
"This young man gave us all he had, busted his butt for four years and did a great job," Rowley added. "He's very supportive of the program."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.