Wildcat athletic excellence recognized

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  • Courtesy photos Chase Jerome (left) and Ryan Morgan show off their Male Athlete of the Year award from the North Idaho Sports Banquet.

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    Cade Finaly and coach Simon Miller show off their award for Male Golfer of the Year and Coach of the Year.

  • Courtesy photos Chase Jerome (left) and Ryan Morgan show off their Male Athlete of the Year award from the North Idaho Sports Banquet.

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    Cade Finaly and coach Simon Miller show off their award for Male Golfer of the Year and Coach of the Year.

COEUR d’ALENE — Kellogg High School was well represented recently at the 56th North Idaho Sports Banquet at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.

Kellogg senior athletes Cade Finlay, Ryan Morgan and Chase Jerome all won individual awards (kind of), and Simon Miller was recognized for his excellence in coaching.

Finlay was awarded Male Golfer of the Year, an award that spanned all of the school classifications.

He was the medalist for last year’s 3A District Tournament and then finished fifth overall individually during Kellogg’s 3A State Tournament championship run.

Finlay, both humble in his win but also very candid, was quick to share the glory with his team — while also believing that they didn’t get the recognition they deserved.

“Without my teammates constantly pushing me, I don’t know that I would have had the success that I had,” Finlay said. “I think we deserved to win the Team of the Year award too. How many teams go down to state and win the way we did last year? I’m proud to have won the award, but I think that our team was the best team.”

Finlay beat out teammate Tyler Gibbons for the award.

Kellogg’s 66-stroke win at the 3A State Tournament was absolutely dominant, as four Wildcats finished inside the top eight for the tournament.

That takes us to the next award winner, Kellogg golf coach Simon Miller, the 1A-3A Coach of the Year.

Miller coached the Kellogg boys to their state championship, while also guiding the girls to a state runner-up finish.

Also nominated for the same award was KHS football coach Dan Lucier.

Miller discussed what the award means to him, but also touched how this award belongs to a lot more people than just himself.

“To be recognized for something you work very hard at, and pour much of your life and energy into, is always nice,” Miller said. “But I feel like that award is representative of what we do in the KHS Golf Program. I have two former golfers who played for me, that are now my assistants, and they are invaluable to the success of our program. I'm grateful for the recognition, and just to be mentioned in the same sentence or category as someone like Coach Lucier is an honor. I'm also thankful for a wife who sacrifices much so that I can continue coaching. It really is a team effort on multiple levels.”

Over the last four years, or even the last few generations, there have been few athletes that have had as much impact on Kellogg athletics as Chase Jerome and Ryan Morgan.

The pair was recognized for their efforts as Co-Male Athletes of the Year (1A-3A).

Whether it was basketball, football, golf, baseball or track, these two athletes have left their mark on several sports and excelled at all of them.

Morgan, the beating heart of the Kellogg football program, vital piece of the Kellogg basketball team and state qualifier for the track team was thrilled to have won the award, but even more so to do it with his friend and teammate Jerome.

“I’m not sure when the last time an athlete from Kellogg won this award, if ever, but for us to both get it together made it really special,” Morgan said. “It was great to hear the crowd when they announced it. We had quite a few people there supporting Kellogg.”

Jerome, a generational player for the Kellogg basketball program, one of Kellogg’s best golfers and quarterback specialist spoke about what really contributed to his success throughout the years.

“I know I say this every time, but it’s my teammates,” Jerome said. “I always had a lot of confidence doing whatever I was doing. I knew that most of the time I was one of the best players on the court, but it was my teammates who let me be that player and helped me be that player.”

Morgan agreed with Jerome’s statements, and even acknowledged how they applied to him as the football juggernaut that he became for the Wildcats, but also gave specific shout outs to his supporters.

“Our teammates are like family for us,” Morgan said. “But also our (real) families have always supported us. If I had to thank a specific person though, I think I would thank my dad (Doug Morgan) for always pushing me to be my absolute best at everything I could be.”

With Kellogg’s trips to state in both football and basketball, Jerome and Morgan have represented the community well this year as well.

Jerome will be one of the key cogs in Kellogg’s upcoming district and state tournament run.

Morgan unfortunately won’t be able to repeat as a state qualifier for the track team this year due to a hamstring injury, but it’s safe to say that if it wasn’t for that injury, both of them would be making their third trips to state competition this year.

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