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Cowley athletes recognized at Greater Wichita Sports Banquet

Cowley athletes recognized at Greater Wichita Sports Banquet

Cowley College tennis standout Takeshi Taco and volleyball All-American Iva Halacheva were among the athletes honored at the 24th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet Wednesday in Wichita, KS.

The annual sports banquet recognizes the achievements and dedication of local youth, high school, college, and professional athletes and coaches.

Taco was one of three finalists for the 2022 Junior College Male Athlete of the Year Award, while Halacheva was one of three finalists for the Junior College Female Athlete of the Year Award. Former Cowley College basketball player Dalen Ridgnal was the recipient of the 2021 Junior College Male Athlete of the Year award.

After capturing national championships in doubles and singles as a freshman, Taco continued to be one of the most feared tennis players in all of the NJCAA, as evidenced by his capturing his second straight singles title as a sophomore.

He was named a two-time NJCAA First Team Singles All-American, NJCAA First Team Doubles All-American, ITA Singles and Doubles All- American, and to the ITA All-Star Team.

After advancing to the singles finals at the ITA Cup in Rome, GA, during the fall season, he helped the Tigers finish as the national runner-up for a second straight season.

Recording the second-most kills in a single season, Halacheva helped Cowley end this past season with a record of 41-1 and finish as the national runner-up.

She ranks first in Cowley history on the career kills list, first on the career kills per set list, fifth on the career hitting percentage list, fourth on the career service aces list, third on the single-season list for kills, third on the single-season list for hitting percentage, 11th on the single-season list for service aces, and first on the single-match list for kills.

She is a three-time First Team NJCAA All-American, two-time AVCA All-American, and garnered six All-American honors during her three years at Cowley. She has signed to play volleyball at NCAA Division I Missouri State University.

Mike Kennedy, the voice of the Wichita State Shockers, served as emcee for the event, while Buster Posey was the night's featured speaker.

Previously known as the Johnny Bench Award, the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award was given to the nation's top division one collegiate catcher as voted on by head coaches and sports information directors.

The event also handed out awards for the Lynette Woodard High School Female Athlete of the Year, Barry Sanders High School Male Athlete of the Year, College Female and Male Athletes of the Year, Professional Athlete of the Year, Gene Stephenson Coach of the Year, and the Girls and Boys High School Coach of the Year.