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Hunting Hills Lightning celebrate athletes

That’s a wrap on a busy sports season
Hunting Hills Male Athlete of the Year Riley Easton and Female Athlete of the Year Grace Watson pose for a picture following the conclusion of the athletic awards on Thursday in Red Deer. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Hunting Hills High School held its annual athletic awards banquet on Thursday honouring athletes for yet another great season.

Among the major award winners were Female Athlete of the Year Grace Watson and Male Athlete of the Year Riley Easton, both in Grade 11.

Watson is a two-sport athlete, excelling on the field in rugby and on the basketball court.

Her passion for both sports shined brightly this school year averaging a double-double in basketball. When asked which was her favourite she couldn’t possibly choose.

“I love them both equally. I’m honestly torn between them,” she said.

“I love playing sports. I love the competitiveness and I’m all the way with it… I just think teams are family and those girls are my family. It’s good to spend time with people who want to work together and push ourselves to be the best people we can be.”

Her commitment as well as other attributes earned her Female Athlete of the Year honours which she said was an awesome feeling.

“It’s such, an honour, and such a blessing. It feels amazing and I’m so grateful to have it.”

Watson is the youngest of three siblings who all played rugby. Despite following in their footsteps Watson explained it didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the game.

In addition to the major award, Watson was also named MVP of the senior girl’s basketball team and awarded the Lightning Award for rugby.

Riley Easton, who was also in Grade 11 this year, earned the award by excelling in multiple sports this year.

The young man played basketball, football, badminton, and track and field.

Even though he did well in all of them Easton explained Football is where he feels most at home.

“I just fell in love with it. I love the team and everything about it… It just feels right,” he said.

Last season he played both ways starting at wide receiver and defensive back for the Lightning senior football team. He’s also represented his province at the U17 and U16 levels on the gridiron playing for Team Alberta.

His consistent improvement in the sport helped him become an important part of the squad and he hopes to one day play at the university level. He’s even seen some interest from some schools.

“I’ve had interest from the University of Regina and I’ve had emails from Toronto,” he added.

Easton is poised to receive more offers as he heads into his senior year in September but for now, he’s focused on enjoying playing sports with his friends.

“Tournaments with teams basketball especially and going on to provincials in football. Doing all that stuff it’s a lot of fun with those guys.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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