It was an inspiring scene.

More than 170 high school athletes from 55 schools, surrounded and supported by parents, coaches and other loved ones, all gathered together at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City Saturday evening for the second annual Deseret News High School Sports Awards gala.

“We’ve got a legacy of reporting on high school sports coverage that goes back many, many decades,” Deseret News publisher Burke Olsen said.

“We’ve got the largest database of high school sports statistics. For us, it’s thrilling to bring the athletes behind these numbers along with their families together to give them a great sendoff, a great celebration and a great night of recognizing the power of athletics and the outstanding achievements of these young people.”

In addition to the 23 established “Mr.” and “Ms.” awards for each sanctioned sport, the Larry H. Miller Company-sponsored event introduced honors for “Mr. Volleyball,” “Ms. Cheer” and the Male and Female Humanitarians of the Year. The Male and Female Athlete of the Year and the Male and Female Coach of the Year each received $1,000 checks courtesy of America First Credit Union.

For the second consecutive year, American Fork distance runner Daniel Simmons was named Male Athlete of the Year, earning Mr. Track honors as well.

Simmons — the two-time defending Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year — is considered the nation’s top high school distance runner and has captured two straight 6A individual boys cross-country state titles.

Of all his accomplishments as a prep athlete, the BYU commit said his favorite was shattering the high school 5,000 meter indoor record at March’s New Balance national indoor championships in Boston, where he outraced the previous best time by 18 seconds.

“I think a lot of success comes from belief, a belief in yourself, what you’re working on and having confidence moving forward,” Simmons said. “I think something that lasts forever is consistency. It will always be your best success-builder, along with working hard and working smart.”

Female Athlete of the Year was given to Jane Hedengren of Timpview, who was named Ms. Cross Country for the second straight year and added a Ms. Track award in 2024 for good measure.

Hedengren has been a Gatorade Utah Player of the Year in both track and field and cross-country in her career. Most recently, the speedy junior was the 5A state cross-country champion and broke a state record in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4:37.72.

“My dad has given me the advice to give myself the opportunity to be great,” Hedengren said. “That’s really helped me as I’m trying not to limit myself or my capabilities.”

The inaugural Humanitarian of the Year awards were given to Skyline baseball’s Brooks Walker and Eliza Doxey of Timpview soccer.

Walker has logged more than 420 hours of community service, including feeding the homeless, assisting students with special needs and even embarking on a humanitarian mission to Tonga.

Doxey — who serves as student body president at Timpview — has done much to serve disadvantaged youth in Utah County and volunteer at local events, but the endeavor most dear to her was organizing an elaborate Veterans Day assembly at her school to honor retired servicemen and women.

“Giving back to the community is everything to me,” Doxey said. “I don’t want to sound rude, but I think it’s kind of selfish to not give back. It’s helpful when everybody does their part and gives a little bit.”

Female Coach of the Year was awarded to Natalie Jarvis, who won her fourth-consecutive 5A softball state championship with Spanish Fork to cap off a 30-3 campaign.

In five seasons leading the Dons, Jarvis is a staggering 119-10, only once failing to bring home a state title.

Corner Canyon football’s Eric Kjar was awarded Male Coach of the Year, having won his fourth career state championship with the Chargers this past season.

Kjar has helped turn Corner Canyon into a factory for elite football talent since taking over the program in 2017, with his latest prodigy Isaac Wilson, now a Utah Ute, being named Mr. Football and three more of his players earning awards Saturday as well.

“It’s so rewarding seeing these kids do so many awesome things, watching them grow as men, improve their abilities and see some of them go on to realize their dreams playing at different levels,” Kjar said. “That’s why you go into coaching.”

Award winners and honorees for each sport are considered cumulatively and regardless of classification, all being determined by a panel of notable coaches, media members and other experts.

BYUtv broadcaster and Deseret News columnist Dave McCann served as master of ceremonies for the evening, with Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and mental health/addiction recovery advocate Alema Harrington offering the keynote address.

“This is such a special part of our lives,” Harrington told the audience. “High school sports is as pure as it gets. It’s important to acknowledge and recognize that.”

Other sponsors who played a hand in the successful evening included the Utah Jazz, NHL in Utah, Symbol Arts and Crumbl Cookies.

2023-24 Deseret News High School Sports Awards Honorees

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Daniel Simmons — track and field/cross country — American Fork.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Jane Hedengren — track and field/cross country — Timpview.

MALE HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR

Brooks Walker — baseball — Skyline.

FEMALE HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR

Eliza Doxey — soccer — Timpview.

MALE COACH OF THE YEAR

Eric Kjar — football — Corner Canyon.

FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR

Natalie Jarvis — softball — Spanish Fork.

BOYS CROSS-COUNTRY

Mr. Cross-Country — JoJo Jourdon — Olympus.

Jack Beckstrom — Herriman.

Daniel Simmons — American Fork.

Austin Westfall — Orem.

GIRLS CROSS-COUNTRY

Ms. Cross-Country — Jane Hedengren — Timpview. (second time)

Andelyn Aagard — Lone Peak.

Adria Favero — Olympus.

Avalon Mecham — American Fork.

FOOTBALL

Mr. Football — QB — Isaac Wilson — Corner Canyon.

RB — Tevita Valeti — Springville.

WR — Tyler West — Crimson Cliffs.

WR — Tate Kjar — Corner Canyon.

OL — Isaiah Garcia — Corner Canyon.

OL — Dallin Johnson — Springville.

DL — Siosefa Brown — Highland.

DL — Kash Dillon — Corner Canyon.

LB — Taani Makasini — Timpview.

LB — Tyler Payne — Weber.

DB — Davis Andrews — American Fork.

DB — Faletau Satuala — Bountiful.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

Mr. Volleyball — Opp — Trey Thornton — Maple Mountain.

Setter — Malakai Sorenson — Skyline.

MB — Soren Jepsen — Olympus.

OH — Ethan Hillyard — Pleasant Grove.

OH — Kilika Kaimipono Hilamani Tafa — Westlake.

Libero — Branson Hamblin — Syracuse.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Ms. Volleyball — MB — Zoey Burgess — Lone Peak.

Setter — Morgan Pratt — Maple Mountain.

MB — Taylor Harvey — Bountiful.

OH — Levani Key-Powell — Bingham.

OH — Elina Mortensen — Corner Canyon.

Libero — Trinidy Tien — Lone Peak.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Mr. Basketball — Cooper Lewis — Lehi.

Jordy Barnes — Olympus.

Dutch DowDell — Olympus.

Jaxon Johnson — Alta.

Brody Kozlowski — Corner Canyon.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Ms. Basketball — Emilee Skinner — Ridgeline.

Olivia Hamlin — Snow Canyon.

Taylor Harvey — Bountiful.

Shawnee Nordstrom — Lone Peak.

Ellie Taylor — Copper Hills.

DRILL

Ms. Drill — Cambree Snow — Spanish Fork.

Bostyn Brady — Bingham.

Kaitlyn Farnsworth — Cyprus.

Prezley Hunt — Davis.

Alexis Oladi — Farmington.

CHEER

Ms. Cheer — Ava Lyman — Desert Hills.

Charlee Breshears — Morgan.

Ava Cattermole — Timpanogos.

Cohen Gibson — Crimson Cliffs.

Paige Rees — Corner Canyon.

BOYS GOLF

Mr. Golf — Boston Bracken — Crimson Cliffs.

Kihei Akina — Lone Peak.

Parker Bunn — Bonneville.

Bowen Mauss — Corner Canyon.

GIRLS GOLF

Ms. Golf — Ashley Lam — Skyline. (two time)

Emma Lillywhite — Timpview.

Aadyn Long — Lone Peak.

Kate Walker — Crimson Cliffs.

BOYS TENNIS

Mr. Tennis — Calvin Armstrong — Skyridge.

Charles Frey — Farmington.

Oliver Mesicek — Highland.

Nate Tullis — Viewmont.

GIRLS TENNIS

Ms. Tennis — Bella Lewis — Skyridge.

Tia Christopulos — Layton.

Maya Inouye — Orem.

Avery Olsen — Brighton.

BOYS SOCCER

Mr. Soccer — Forward — Lewis Knecht — American Fork.

Forward — Evan Beus — Lone Peak.

Forward — Jayden Cosper — Wasatch.

Midfielder — Jon William Fritcher — Pleasant Grove.

Midfielder — Carden Neff — Olympus.

Midfielder — Justin Roberts — Alta.

Midfielder — Cole Simpson — Wasatch.

Defender — Anthony Dolce — East.

Defender — Canon Downey — Wasatch.

Defender — Luke Haven — Farmington.

Goalkeeper — Jackson Medina — Wasatch.

GIRLS SOCCER

Ms. Soccer — Forward — Bella Devey — Lone Peak.

Forward — Lily Hall — Skyline.

Forward/midfielder — Sophie Neves — Springville.

Midfielder — Kate Denney — Lone Peak.

Midfielder — Lucy Kessler — American Fork.

Midfielder — Mika Krommenhoek — Maple Mountain.

Midfielder — Nevaeh Peregrina — Ogden.

Defender — Callie Blaylock — East.

Defender — Brooke Gardner — Skyridge.

Defender — HopeAnne Munson — Olympus.

Goalkeeper — Eliza Collings — Lone Peak.

BOYS WRESTLING

Mr. Wrestling — Brayden Robison — Westlake.

Mason Carlson — Syracuse.

Cash Henderson — Woods Cross.

Layne Joseph Kleimann — Mountain Ridge.

Geronimo Rivera Jr. — Layton.

Cayaen Smith — Pleasant Grove.

GIRLS WRESTLING

Ms. Wrestling — Brooklyn Pace — Copper Hills.

Isla Baeza — Mountain View.

Julia Kay — Canyon View.

Aleena Navarrete — Weber.

Aurellia Ramos — Maple Mountain.

Keilikki Nau Rarick — Westlake.

BOYS LACROSSE

Mr. Lacrosse — Goalie — Mason Fray — Brighton.

Attack — Gabe Carrera — Brighton.

Attack — Charlie Droitsch — Olympus.

Attack — Davis Searle — Fremont.

Middle — James Anderson — Brighton.

Middle — Kevin Clinger — Highland.

Middle — Ethan Erker — Wasatch.

FOS — Tommy Bodell — Westlake.

Defender — Andrew Parry — Alta.

Defender— Ethan Salmon — Brighton.

Defender— Samuel Bennett Smith — Olympus.

GIRLS LACROSSE

Ms. Lacrosse — Middle — Hannah Nelson — Olympus.

Attack — Emmery Clark — Mountain Ridge.

Attack — Sophie Neff — Park City.

Attack — Olivia Prosper — Juan Diego.

Middle — Hazel Baker — Olympus.

Middle — Charlie Iacobelli — Park City.

Middle — Maddie McHenry — Park City.

Middle — Hannah Nelson — Olympus.

Middle — Sadie Neuenschwander — Lone Peak.

Defender — Katherine Carter — Farmington.

Defender — Ayla Anna Cole — Brighton.

Defender — Lily Yatkeman — Park City.

Goalie — Sydney Rossi — Olympus.

BOYS SWIMMING

Mr. Swimming — Abe Astle — Olympus.

Luan Barnard — Brighton.

Robs Barton — Jordan.

Will de la Garza — Olympus.

Drake Doyle — Brighton.

Gabe Jones — St. Joseph.

GIRLS SWIMMING

Ms. Swimming — Jade Garstang — Skyline.

Taylor Bennett — Lone Peak.

Veronica Black — Highland.

Avery Bulkley — Payson.

Gabby Henry — Viewmont.

Haylee Tiffany — Lone Peak.

BASEBALL

Mr. Baseball — Austin Park — Juab.

Naulivou Lauaki Jr — Springville.

CJ Mascaro — American Fork.

Cal Michael Miller — Viewmont.

Jaxson Reiser — Mountain Ridge.

Crew Secrist — Snow Canyon.

Boston Vest — Dixie.

Dax Watts — American Fork.

Tu’alau Wolfgramm — Pleasant Grove.

SOFTBALL

Ms. Softball — Brielle Gardiner — Ridgeline.

Tatum Hall — Spanish Fork.

Rilyne Keck — Salem Hills.

Brecka Larson — Bingham.

Brooklyn Ricci — Hillcrest.

Jade Romero — Spanish Fork.

Avery Thorkelson — Snow Canyon.

Athena Tonga’onevai — Bountiful.

Anne Wallace — Ridgeline.

BOYS TRACK AND FIELD

Mr. Track — Daniel Simmons — American Fork.

Matthew Bryant — Lone Peak.

Josh Hamblin — Weber.

Zach Hillhouse — Pleasant Grove.

Banks Jackson — Maple Mountain.

Jerome Myles Jr. — Corner Canyon.

Dominic Overby — West Jordan.

GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD

Ms. Track — Jane Hedengren — Timpview.

Lily Alder — Timpview.

Andrea Chelsea Amoah — Bingham.

Clara Baker — American Fork.

Cortnie Barker — Syracuse.

Presley Gray — American Fork.

Amelia Nadauld — Snow Canyon.

ALL-SPORTS AWARDS

1A — Panguitch.

2A — Beaver.

3A — Morgan.

4A — Ridgeline.

5A — Olympus.

6A — Lone Peak.