Leadership is an important quality of any top athlete.
It was one of the strengths of both Hunting Hills athletes of the year — Amanda Stonehouse and Jon Boutin.
“Amanda was the heart and soul of any team she played on,” said Hunting Hills athletic director Jill DeJonge. “She made the players better.”
It was the second year in a row Stonehouse has received the top female award.
“It seems new every time,” she said. “It’s definitely a thrill.”
Stonehouse won the coaches award for both volleyball and basketball and will play basketball for Augustana University in Camrose next season.
“Mostly I was recruited by them to play basketball,” she said. “Volleyball is great, but basketball has always been No. 1 for me. That’s my choice.”
Stonehouse said she had no idea when she entered trade 9 at Hunting Hills that she would leave as one of the school’s top athletes.
“Not really. I always liked sports and that’s the direction I headed, but I didn’t know it would be like this until now.”
As expected Stonehouse didn’t pick out any individual honours as highlights of her career.
“I had such amazing coaches. I would never have gotten near this far without them. I’m also so proud of everyone who went up (on stage) tonight. We have so many amazing athletes and the program here has grown so much over the last few years. It’s kind of sad to be leaving and seeing everyone go.”
As for her season, Stonehouse, who broke her ankle midway through the basketball season, looked back at winning the zone championship as a highlight.
“I got back just in time to play the first game of the championships, that was exciting.”
Patty Beatson, Corbie Fedyk and Jordanna Cota were also in the running for the award.
Boutin received a number of accolades concerning his leadership and athletic ability from his football head coach, Kyle Sedgwick, while he was making the presentation.
Boutin was an all-star at quarterback for the league champion football Lightning, MVP on the basketball team and also competed in track and tennis.
He’s one that enjoyed having the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
“I enjoyed that responsibility,” he said. “I want to have a large say in what happens at the end of the game. That’s why I love playing quarterback and guard in basketball.”
Still Boutin said he was surprised, honoured and thrilled at receiving the award.
“All of the above,” he said. “It’s a big moment.”
As for his best moment this season it was when the football team finished their undefeated season, winning the Central Alberta title.
“Going undefeated with those guys was special,” he said. “That was an unbelievable moment. And received the Lightning pride award as a team put it over the top.”
Boutin has signed to play with the Edmonton Junior Huskies this season and hopes it’s at quarterback.
“I talked with the coach and he said I may play some defence. We’ll see how it goes, but so far it looks like it’s quarterback.”
Football has always been important to Boutin.
“I liked football since I was a little kid and watching the CFL,” he said, adding he credits Sedgwick for his growth as a player.
“It’s tough, there are so many to thank, but coach Sedgwick played a major role. I didn’t play in Grade 10, and he gave me a starting spot in Grade 11. I wouldn’t be here today without him.”
Boutin will attend the Huskies camp on July 26 and may attend NAIT in the fall to work toward becoming a paramedic.
“I’m not sure I’ll go to school this year, but over the next five years I’ll have that completed,” he said.
Drew Hamilton, Kieran McDonald, Logan Sabourin and Matt Van Mulligan were also in the running for the award.
Meanwhile, Ben McIver won the prestigious André Sather Memorial Award for the second straight year while the Lightning Athletics Advocate of the year award went to Ronni Dixon.
The Ross Towers award went to Teighan Ponto and Josh Loney, while Jaden Robinson was the Grade 9 female athlete of the year and Evan Petriew the top Grade 9 male.