Professional sports have taken over Las Vegas, but they willingly yielded the spotlight to the area’s best high school athletes, coaches and support staff members on Wednesday night at the South Point showroom.
The Las Vegas Aces, Las Vegas Lights, Las Vegas 51s, Vegas Golden Knights and soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders were among the sponsors at the third-annual Las Vegas Sun Standout Awards. Raiders coach Jon Gruden started the night with a video introduction, and the Stanley Cup-bound Golden Knights provided a surprise of their own at the end.
Golden Knights Senior Director of Global Partnerships Keith Baulsir presented Sun Standout Award winner Nick Campbell, who returned to his track and basketball teams at Coronado after being shot in the shoulder on Oct. 1, with a customized jersey.
“I’d like to thank everyone out here in Las Vegas because I wouldn’t be here without the support,” Campbell said while accepting the award.
Campbell was the second-to-last honoree on the night, as the presentation of the Hank Greenspun Lifetime Achievement Award closed the evening. Longtime Chaparral football coach Paul Nihipali, who recently retired, accepted the award from Brian Greenspun, the Las Vegas Sun’s CEO, publisher and editor.
“I heard (the saying) somewhere — ‘If you don’t like the kids, get out,’” Nihipali said. “Very simple, and that hit me real hard — obviously it’s not for the money but when you see (a student-athlete) excel.”
Other sponsor presentations included John Anzalone For Congress recognizing the Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the year, James Bridges and Haylee Niemann, respectively, and Findlay Toyota’s John Barr giving out the Citizen of the Year Award to Hannah Barr.
Check out the full list of winners below.
Hank Greenspun Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Nihipali, Chaparral football coach
Sun Standout Award: Nick Campbell, Coronado track
Female Athlete of the Year: Tatum Spangler, Coronado softball
Male Athlete of the Year: Ty Smith, Virgin Valley wrestling
Rising Star Female: Audrey Boch-Collins, Clark tennis
Rising Star Male: Ma’a Gaoteote, Faith Lutheran football
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year: Haylee Niemann, Arbor View soccer
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year: James Bridges, Clark basketball
Female Team of the Year: Coronado flag football
Male Team of the Year: Bishop Gorman basketball
Moment of the Year: Nick Doland, Chaparral basketball
Citizen of the Year: Hannah Barr, Basic softball
Coach of the Year: Joe Sawaia, Coronado golf
Unsung Hero Award: Chely Arias, Cheyenne athletic trainer
Game of the Year Award: Centennial rallies to beat Liberty in girl’s basketball state championship game
Greenspun Cup: Coronado High