The 48th Annual Outstanding Athlete Awards ceremony was held at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club in Modesto on Wednesday, bringing the best student and adult athletes Stanislaus County has to offer together for one night of recognition and fun.
The OAA finalists are carefully selected each year with SOS members pouring over stats and accolades as they attempt to do the athletes justice. This year four Turlock athletes made the cut and found themselves listed among 12 other outstanding athletes from Stanislaus County.
In the Prep Division, Turlock High’s Brett Cumberland was nominated for the Men’s High School award while Pitman High’s Maddy Halteman and Lindsey Vander Weide were both nominated for the Women’s High School award. THS was also represented in the Men’s Open Division with Vince Wheeland — recent Oklahoma State University graduate — being nominated.
“I went away and a lot of people don’t really follow you when you go away. It’s fun to come back here and see that they knew what I was doing and to be recognized,” Wheeland said before the awards ceremony. “It would be an honor (to win), especially with the people who have won this award previously.”
“To me, it doesn’t matter who wins at this point,” Vander Weide said before the awards ceremony. “The reason that we’re nominated for this is because we got to state, and we did that together.”
“I’m very proud of myself and Lindsey as well to get to this point,” Halteman said before the awards ceremony. “It brings back memories.”
After eating dinner and listening to NFL greats Eric Dickerson and Roy Green speak about their lives and careers, two of the Turlock-area athletes were declared as winners of their division: Wheeland and Vander Weide.
“I know so many great athletes have come through this and got these awards that I’m nominated for, so even being nominated is a big deal,” Vander Weide said.
As Pitman’s outside hitter, the future University of Oregon volleyball player led her school to Sac-Joaquin Section Division I and Northern California Division I titles and a State Championship appearance with 471 kills and 260 digs.
“I’m really excited to go there. I feel like it’s taken so long to get there because I committed so early, but now I feel like it’s gone by way too fast,” Vander Weide said. “I am so excited to get to play there with great players.”
Wheeland has already experienced what Vander Weide is looking forward to having played four years at Oklahoma State where he was a two-time All-Big 12 selection. As a reliever, Wheeland finished his career at Oklahoma State last spring with a 10-1 record and a 1.52 ERA in a season that saw his team win the Super Regional. His college career stats of a 2.49 ERA and an overall record of 20-4 was good enough to get the former Bulldog drafted in the 24th round of the MLB draft by the Houston Astros.
“This is awesome. We got to hear from great former players like Eric Dickerson and it was fun to hear him talk,” Wheeland said.
The award was bitter sweet, however, as Wheeland revealed he was recently released by the Astros due to an injury to the rotator cuff of his throwing arm.
“Time will tell. The ceiling for a career is very short and it all depends on what the doctors say,” Wheeland said.
But Vander Weide and Wheeland weren’t the only Turlockers recognized on Wednesday as girls water polo pioneer Brett Bohlender was named to the 2014 Hall of Fame and Abe Rojas was given the Jay Pattee Memorial Award.