Three Vashon High School seniors recognized with athletic awards

Three Vashon High School students, less than a week from graduation, were honored with awards for their outstanding athletic achievement in the last four years.

Senior Danny Salonen was awarded The Mathews Inspirational Award, which is given to the senior athlete who has consistently exhibited inspirational leadership to the athletic programs of Vashon High School.

The award is given in memory of Jay Mathews, Vashon High School (VHS) class of ’73, who died of leukemia in 1981. Mathews was involved in school activities including football, basketball and track. He was a natural leader and an inspirational teammate: hard-working, dedicated and possessed a good attitude, according to VHS assistant principal Stephanie Spencer.

Salonen, this year’s award winner, exhibits all of these same qualities. He participated in football for all four years of high school and baseball and track for two years. He earned a total of seven varsity letters: four in football, one in baseball and two in track. He was selected as football captain three years in a row and won the Bill Burby Coaches’ Award this fall.

In track, he was honored as most inspirational and received the Russ Brazill 110% Award. The teams he has participated in have been honored with WIAA Scholar Athlete Awards and Nisqually League Sportsmanship Awards.

Seniors Karisa Gibbons and Justin Calhoun were honored with the Bacchus Award.

The Bacchus Award is given in recognition of outstanding athletic talent. It is given in memory of Thomas and Douglas (Lad) Bacchus, VHS ’38 and ’40 respectively. Both were killed in separate air accidents a few months apart during World War II.

Thomas died in December of 1944 in the South Pacific while serving in the U.S. Navy Air Corps, and Lad died in February of 1945 in Oregon on his way home for furlough shortly after earning his wings in the Army Air Corps. Both brothers were involved in school activities including drama, clubs, school leadership and sports.

Gibbons participated in volleyball and basketball for four years and fastpitch for her first three years. She earned a total of eight varsity letters: two in volleyball, three in basketball and three in fastpitch.

She participated in district tournaments for volleyball and basketball as well as the state tournament in basketball this year.

Gibbons earned varsity most improved awards in both basketball and fastpitch and the varsity service award in basketball this year.

Calhoun participated in basketball and baseball for four years. He earned seven varsity letters: three in basketball and four in baseball.

In basketball, he was awarded the best teammate award and participated in the state tournament twice.

As a member of the baseball team, he was honored with the 400 Club, team MVP (twice) and Batting Champion.

He has been recognized by the league and state, earning honors such as Nisqually League second team pitcher, co-MVP and first team second base. He was also named as a state Athlete of the Week and a member of the All-State Team.

Finally, he helped the VHS baseball team clinch a spot in the state tournament this year.

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