HHS honors athletes and Fan of the Year at annual awards banquet

Highlands School recognized the multitude of achievements earned by athletes throughout the 2018-19 sports seasons at the annual Athletic Banquet on Monday night at the Highlands Civic Center at the Rec Park.

“The high school banquet is an annual event that we recognize our athletes, teams, and seniors on their season accomplishments and seniors for their athletic accomplishments for a career,” said Highlands Athletic Director Brett Lamb. “We highlight the teams successes and efforts during that year. We give out team awards and conference and state awards.”

Coaches presented awards to high school teams including boys and girls soccer and basketball; volleyball, cheerleading, golf, and track.

Fan of the Year

Pictured at the top of the article from left are Highlands School Athletic Director Brett Lamb awarding Plateau Daily News Publisher Brian O’Shea the Fan of the Year award at the annual Athletic Banquet on Monday. FOTY is voted on by the student athletes. Photo courtesy of Dan Brown, The Highlander.

Editor’s Note: To my astonishment, Lamb awarded the Fan of the Year to me. Anyone present could tell from my dumbfounded reaction that I didn’t see this coming. After I realized what was happening, I was so clueless I waved and said thank you to a standing ovation.

But it was afterwards that I learned the significance of the FOTY. This award is voted on by the student athletes and past winners include Gina Billingsley and Andrea Chalker. That’s incredible! I’m floored, stunned, honored, blown away, you name the positive adjective; to even get mentioned in the discussion of nominees is amazing.

If this were a live TV show they would be cuing the wrap-up music. But I have to say school sports are what helped launch Plateau Daily News into what it is today. Coaches and players spoke with me after every game when they were cold, tired, bruised, bleeding, and never once waved me off telling me not today.

To everyone, I say thank you.

Boys Varsity Basketball

Highlands boys varsity basketball team had a tremendous year taking the Little Smoky Mountain Championship four times in a row and winning the tournament championship.Earning All-Conference are Hunter Collins and Jake Billinsley. Honorable mention went to Destin Gearhart.

Pictured below are photos from Highlands against Cherokee and Langtree Charter School. To read the full Cherokee story click HERE. To read the full Langtree story click HERE.

Girls Varsity Basketball

First-year Head Coach Jake Page thanked the community for being welcoming and praised the athletes dedication and commitment throughout the season. Kedra Mccall and Jordan Carrier earned All-Conference Honors and Hayley Borino earned honorable mention.

Pictured below is girls varsity basketball team playing away against Franklin. To see the full article click HERE.

Boys Junior Varsity Basketball

The boys junior varsity basketball team won both the conference championship and the tournament this year. Editor’s Note: These guys are beasts and next year is going to be one to watch. That’s Griffin Green dunking below, like I said, beasts.

Pictured below are photos from boys JV against Cherokee and Hayesville. To read the full Cherokee article click HERE. To read the full Hayesville article click HERE

Boys Varsity Soccer

Highlands boys varsity soccer team came in third in the LSMC conference. All conference honors went to Caden Smolarsky, Dillon Schmitt, and Jake Billingsley; Drew Chalker earned honorable mention.

Pictured below is the “fog” game against Hayesville. See full article HERE

Girls Varsity Soccer

Players on the girls varsity soccer team were proud to make it to the second round of the 2019 NCHSAA Girls Championship, losing to first-place Union Academy on Friday. All-conference honors went to Betty Garcia, Kedra McCall, and Hayley Borino. Honorable mentions went to Reese Schmitt and Julia May Schmitt.

Pictured below are photos from highlands versus Swain and Highlands versus Smoky Mountain. To read the full Swain article click HERE. To read the full Smoky Mountain article click HERE.

Varsity Track

The varsity track team traveled did a lot of traveling for away meets throughout the season and several athletes play both track and soccer. Madi Drummonds and Bailey Schmitt earned a spot in Regionals.

Pictured below are photos from a track meet in Hayesville. To read the full Hayesville article click HERE.


Highlands golf team is headed to state at Pinehurst next week after taking first place in conference this year, third place in the regional tournament . This is the first time in school history that a team has advanced to the state championship for golf. Head Coach Keven Gabbard was named LSMC Coach of the Year. All-conference honors went to Drew Chalker and Mattson Gates.

Pictured below is Highlands golf team at Sky Valley Country Club, Wildcat Cliffs Country Club, and Old Union Golf Course. To see full Sky Valley and Old Union article click HERE, to see the Wildcat Cliffs article click HERE.

Varsity Volleyball

All-conference honors were awarded to Kedra McCall, and Jordan Carrier; honorable mention went to Ava Schmitt and Hannah Holt. McCall was awarded Player of the Year in conference.

Pictured below are Highlands girls varsity volleyball team against Hiwassee Dam. Click HERE to read the full article.


Highlands High School cheerleading team won two out of three competitions this year and Head Coach Kristin Huneycutt said despite losing a terrific leader in senior Betty Garcia, her and the team are excited to get the next season started.

Pictured below is Highlands High School cheerleading team winning Spirit Xpress Regional cheer competition. To see the full article on the Spirit competition click HERE.

Senior athletes were honored for their athletic careers at Highlands School.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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Pictured below are photos from Highlands High School’s annual Athletic Banquet.

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