Tributes began as one organizer, Ann Kee, welcomed attendees with an introduction of personal gratefulness and pride for everyone who contributed to the success of the team.
Serpent coach Pete Summerbell presented an introduction of the assistant coaches, Nate Ridley and Tevis Jones, with special mention to others that gave their time and effort to manage and coach the winning players since elementary ages.
“How can I ignore the credit that goes to so many, especially John Wachsmuth,” Summerbell said. He went on to explain that Wachsmuth coached most of his team players when they were Little Serpents, creating an excellent feeder program for his high school talents.
In welcoming up the players one by one, the coaches were able to publicly acknowledge the team’s ability to work together in creating a win that was 53 years in the making. Several awards were given, including: senior, Taylen Wachsmuth as the NIAA 1A Player of the Year. Also a senior this year, Andre Davis and sophomore Robert McFalls were awarded first in the NIAA team, while Brandon West, a senior, made the second team.
Special thanks were given to the cheerleaders and their coach Erin Dunagan; the managers: Cade Horn, Bodie Oberhansli and Seth Bozzi; as well as every Mineral County supporter that traveled to their games throughout the season.
A “Coaches Tribute” was given by the senior players, with a surprising fact that Summerbell had not only won the championship as a player once, but also as a coach. Summerbell had only been coaching basketball for 14 years.
Brandon West verbally shared his own private thoughts and accolades regarding Summerbell.
“He has been our coach since seventh grade, and he has taken us to zone every year we’ve been on the team. He never turned his back on us and he listened, even allowing us to change the game around when needed. We started with a real goal and we ended it completing that goal,” West proudly shared.
A custom metal wall hanging had been inscribed to Summerbell, as well as one for transportation director Ed Stidham, whom players gave tribute to being “more than a bus driver, but a team support and leader.”
Parents were given Serpent colored carnations and Michele Hart presented each player and coach with a Booster Club gift, which were Serpent Basketball commemorative game sweatshirts.
In closing, Superintendent Walt Hackford shared that he had personally waited his entire life to win a championship and this team had brought it to him, to the school district and to an entire community of grateful supporters. He recalled plays and successful moments within the season while sharing, “You will always share this win among yourselves – whenever you come together this will always be that treasured moment you talk about and it will keep you close.”
Hosted by the MCHS Booster Club, with special thanks to El Capitan; Flowers by Ness; Walker Lake Crusaders; Wagner Hardware; Special K Fabrication and the Mineral County Serpent photo page staff, the evening yielded applause, many smiles and happy tears.