YUCCA VALLEY —  The Hi-Desert Star recognized top students in athletics and sportsmanship at Yucca Valley and Joshua Springs high schools Sunday afternoon, marking the 23rd annual Hi-Desert Star Sports Awards ceremony.

About 150 people gathered in the Yucca Valley High School lecture hall to recognize students as the top athletes of their sports. Many of these students are familiar to Star readers from their appearances in the newspaper starting as children playing in youth soccer, Little League or basketball programs and moving into young adults as we followed their high school athletic careers. 

Coaches for each school sport presented their most valuable players of the year with posters featuring photos of them in action.

The golf MVPs from both the Yucca Valley and Joshua Springs teams were awarded $250 WJB Scholarships in honor of William J. Brehm, founder of Hawk’s Landing Golf Club.

At the end of the ceremony, managing editor of the Hi-Desert Star Stacy Moore announced winners of the male and female Athletes of the Year for Joshua Springs and Yucca Valley and the winner of the Dave Miller Memorial Award.

These students receive $250 college scholarships from Hi-Desert Publishing Co.

From Joshua Springs, Jocelyne Wheeler was named the Female Athlete of the Year. Wheeler, a three-sport athlete, is a sophomore at Joshua Springs and was one of the youngest honorees of the night.

“Jocelyne is one of the most dedicated players that I have ever worked with in any sport,” said coach Lori Ellis. “She wants nothing more than to please her coach and grow with her team. She is very talented and humble when it comes to her abilities.”

Max Hart was named the Joshua Springs Male Athlete of the Year. Hart, a four-sport athlete, is a graduating senior.

“He was actually a four-sport athlete for us this year and he pitched in with the golf team when they needed him too,” said school administrator Fem Ontiveros. “They said that they could not have won their league championship without him.”

From Yucca Valley High School Faith Palmer was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year and Daniel Goddard the Male Athlete of the Year. 

“Daniel is a tri-sport athlete (cross country, soccer and swim), while Faith is a dual-sport athlete (soccer and track) with multiple all-league awards,” said YVHS athletic director Adam Wright. “Each of them were also a captain of their respective teams. We are very proud of all that they have accomplished and how well they represent what it means to be a Yucca Valley High School Trojan.”

Both Palmer and Goddard are four-year athletes and, apart from their outstanding athletic performances, they have excelled in the classroom and earned the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma this year.

Goddard also received the Dave Miller award, named in honor of the late sports editor who founded the awards ceremony.

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