The approximately two months between the announcement and the presentation didn't make the latter any less impactful for Avery Goelz.
Goelz, who graduated from Lakewood Ranch High last week, was named the 2020 Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year on May 28. The school honored their star athlete Tuesday with a banner and a plaque commemorating the achievement.
At the small outdoor ceremony, which featured Goelz'sfamily and a few Lakewood Ranch teachers, Mustangs athletic director Kent Ringquist shared stories of watching Goelz hit home runs as a freshman and coming away impressed. Ringquist said it was fun watching Goelz grow each season.
Goelz, who will play for Florida alongside her sister, Kinsey Goelz, and former Mustangs teammate Kali Reis, said the time since the announcement has let her achievement sink in a bit more.
"It's still pretty cool to me," Goelz said. "I never thought I would end up getting this. There's so many good players out there. But seeing this banner and plaque, it's becoming more real to me. Before it was just something I read online.
"I'm going to miss playing here. I'm going to miss my teammates, the fight our team had. I'm excited to get to [Florida], but it's also sad. A lot of my friends are slowly starting to head out to college and it is starting to hit me more that I'm done here. I'm excite but I'm going to miss everyone for sure."
Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.