And the nominees are … |

And the nominees are …

Five finalists vie

for The Union’s Athlete of the Year

Last week, The Union unveiled its five finalists for its Female Athlete of the Year honors and along with that offered readers the opportunity to vote for their choice at

And you didn’t disappoint. More than 600 folks took the time to give their take (actual results will appear in print along with announcement of winners on June 11, although results are available online) and we’re hopeful that this week draws similar interest and interaction.

And now onto this year’s nominees for The Union’s Male Athlete of the Year …

Chase Dixon, senior, Nevada Union track and field – There aren’t many athletes who reach the state finals in their respective sport. But Dixon, a hurdler, didn’t just reach the CIF Track & Field Championships. He medaled – in both events in which he qualified – and was the only athlete in the state championships this year to accomplish that in a double dip.

Dixon took sixth place in the state’s 110-meter hurdles, clocking a time of 14.3 seconds, and followed that with a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in 38.18. Both times were slower than his personal bests (14.1 in the 110 and 37.7 in the 300).

Leading up the state championships, Dixon set new meet records in the 300-meter hurdles at the Nevada Union Invitational, the Sierra Foothill League meet and the Division II championships.

Matt Manuel, senior, Nevada Union wrestling – After wrestling in the shadow of his big brother, Luke Manuel, during his days as an underclassman at Nevada Union, Matt Manuel solidified himself as one of top wrestlers to come out of Nevada Union’s program.

For second time in his high school career, Manuel qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Championships.

He was the only Miner among the three who qualified for the state finals to reach the second day of wrestling. He posted a 4-2 record before bowing out in the consolation bracket at the state championships in the 130-pound weight class.

Patrick Scott, junior, Bear River basketball – Scott is the only athlete nominated for The Union’s award who is not a senior, which speaks to the caliber of play he put on the floor for the Bruins this season.

Scott scored 20.3 points per game in leading Bear River to an 18-9 record overall and an 8-4 finish for second place in the Pioneer Valley League.

In addition to his scoring prowess, Scott grabbed 6.9 rebounds per game and averaged 1.7 steals per contest.

Bear River advanced to Division IV section playoffs, where the Bruins fell to Christian Brothers 59-50 in the first round.

Ben Sparling, senior, Forest Lake Christian soccer/basketball – Sparling starred for FLC both on the soccer pitch and the basketball floor, helping his team to championship seasons in both sports.

In soccer, Sparling led the team with 33 goals and added 12 assists, as the Falcons claimed the Central Valley Christian League championship with a 7-0-2 record. FLC fell in the section semifinals.

In basketball, he averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3.8 assists for a Falcons team that won not only the CVCL crown but also the first boys basketball section championship in school history.

Vince Viola, senior, Bear River baseball – Following up on a junior campaign in which he helped Bear River advance to the section championship for the first time in school history, Viola dominated opposing batters in his senior season.

Posting a 9-1 record on the mound, Viola compiled a 0.88 earned run average with 81 strikeouts and 23 walks.

Viola, who was named the Pioneer Valley League Most Valuable Player, also carried a big stick for the Bruins with a .375 batting average and four home runs.

The Bruins won the Pioneer Valley League championship and advanced to the second round of the section playoffs.

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