Alexa Pavon, Jesslyn Kuhnel, RJ Gerlach [ Ken Paulk | The Star ]
Alexa Pavon, Jesslyn Kuhnel, RJ Gerlach [ Ken Paulk | The Star ]
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Athletes recognized at Port St. Joe soccer banquet

Players, coaches, parents, grandparents, and friends gathered at the Port St. Joe Jr/Sr High School commons room on Wednesday, April 19, to recognize the 2022-23 high school soccer teams. 

After introducing the girls JV team, which head coach Justin Gerlach called “the blood of our program,” he recognized the girls varsity players. 

“It was a fun year for us,” Gerlach said. “We started off slow, but began to gel as a team as the season progressed.” The youthful Tiger Sharks finished the season with a 9-9-2 record. 

With only one senior on this season’s squad (Jesslyn Kuhnel), Gerlach said “I’m looking forward to next year.” 

Gerlach said that he had nominated Kuhnel for the FHSAA All-State team, and then began handing out special awards. The first four were voted on by the players, the next two were based on game statistics, and the final six were decided by Gerlach and assistant coaches Celeste Chiles and Lindsey Alston. 

Best Offensive Award: Alexa Pavon 

Best Midfielder Award: RJ Gerlach 

Best Defender Award: Lyriq Larry 

Shark Pride Award: Jessica Dunn 

Most Goals Scored: Pavon 

Most Assists: Gerlach 

The “Glue” Award: Molly Partin 

Rookie of the Year Award: Katie Trochessett 

“CYA” Award: Ruby Williams (Gerlach explained this as showing tenacity and not backing down) Swiss Army Knife Award: Jessica Dunn 

12th Woman Award: Anderson Hodges 

Co-Most Valuable Players: Pavon and Gerlach 

Coach Gerlach also recognized the team’s ball girl, Eleanor Shoaf, for her loyal efforts to be at games regardless of the weather conditions, giving her a team warm-up jacket.

Although this was Brian Burkett’s first year as boys high school head coach, he was no stranger to most of the players, having coached most of them from an early age at recreational soccer. 

Burkett noted that the team, which finished the year 11-6-3, “had a record of 8-2-1 before Christmas, and went 3-4-2 afterwards. So next year, I’m canceling Christmas holidays!” 

In handing out special awards, Burkett noted that the first four were based on game statistics, while the others were by player vote. 

Christian Peacock, Jaydon Gant, Kaiden Pitts (senior boys) [ Ken Paulk | The Star ]

Golden Boot Award: Jaydon Gant 

Most Assists (Playmaker of the Year Award): Gant and Christian Peacock 

Most Points: Gant 

Most Steals: Lance Larry 

Best Defender Award: Estevan Angel 

Best Midfielder Award: Larry 

Swiss Army Knife Award: Taylor Burkett 

Maximum Effort Award: Burkett 

Most Valuable Player Award: Gant 

12th Man Award: Asher Peacock 

Most Improved Player Award: Grant Bartley 

When the final awards were given and the senior players had an opportunity to speak, both coaches had closing remarks, thanking their assistant coaches, players, parents, and volunteers. 

Burkett also noted that he would be forming travel ball teams for the summer so that players can hone their skills before the start of the next season.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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