CHEWELAH ATHLETICS: Kirry, Jeanneret win top athlete awards

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

Lilly Kirry won the Stephen Blake and Perry Akers award while Jake Jeanneret won the Dr. Merle Snyder Sportsmanship Award. (Brandon Hansen photo)

TOP ATHLETES: Record-setting athletes in 2020 senior class win well-deserved awards for Chewelah Cougars…

You’ve no doubt seen these two names before in the Chewelah Independent, but that’s part of the reason they earned their accolades.

Seniors Lily Kirry and Jake Jeanneret won the female and male athlete of the year awards from Jenkins/Junior Senior High School and both are worthy recipents, putting in some of the best careers ever for a Cougar athlete.

For Jake Jeanneret, he overcome a brachial plexus injury giving him nerve damage in his left arm. Jeanneret would become the most accomplished passing quarterback in the history of the school and a state champion in wrestling.

“I am honored to have received this award,” Jeanneret said. “Just knowing that I have been recognized for the hard work I put in while playing sports is awesome. And especially given that there are multiple guys in my class that are also very deserving of this award.”

Jeanneret was a key cog in the Chewelah Cougars football team that twice reached the State 2B Quarterfinals. While he may not have looked like a massive, world-crushing quarterback when he stepped on the field, opposing teams quickly found it was difficult to contain him.

His running game was a dangerous weapon as his wrestling background made him one of the toughest runners to bring down. If you go back and watch the game film, Jeanneret was regularly brought down by a group now banned in gathering size by the state.

Jeanneret passed for 2,324 yards and 23 touchdowns during the 12 games of his senior year while also running for 449 yards. Last year as a junior, Jeanneret completed 152 passes for 2,160 yards and 21 touchdowns and carried the ball 95 times for 467 yards.

Those are impressive numbers, but football may have not even been his best sport. Jeanneret won a state championship his junior year in wrestling and placed his sophomore year.

He seemed primed for a return to the podium his senior year but suffered a knee injury. Baseball was also a standout sport for Jeanneret as he could pitch, play multiple positions and was dangerous on the base paths. His senior season, however was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wouldn’t trade my time playing with my friends and my coaches for anything,” Jeanneret said. “They made me who I am and gave me a chance to succeed. Sports are a very huge part of this community and I would like to thank every person that was out there supporting us through the way. My last four years of high school sports have been amazing.”

Jeanneret said some of his favorite memories include making it to the state quarterfinals in football and he hopes the program can continue the football tradition and make it deeper into the State 2B playoffs.

“One memory that I will never forget is watching Kaden win his second state wrestling title and then going out there and winning my state title, what an amazing feeling,” Jeanneret said.

Lily Kirry will go down as the best track and field athlete Chewelah has seen. The four-time state champion in the hurdles and running events is a school record, along with her own school record times in the hurdles events. Kirry was also robbed of her senior track and field season because of COVID-19 and still has won the most state titles out of any Cougar athlete in an individual sport.

“I felt really honored to win that award. I had worked so hard to achieve my goals,” Kirry said. “Although winning isnt really new for me, I really enjoyed holding the trophy and realizing that my name would be added to a list of truly amazing women.”

Kirry won the 100-meter hurdles championship as a freshman and a 300-meter hurdles championship as a sophomore. Her junior year saw her win the 100-meter hurdles, place second in the 300-meter hurdles and place first in the 200-meter run.

In other words, her dad Clint Kirry is going to need to use that industrial metal press at Hewescraft Marine to make a new trophy case for the family.

Now Kirry will be heading to college to do track and field. Kirry has signed with UMASS and will travel to the East Coast to be an NCAA Division I athlete. She’s had plenty of time this spring to work on the move and get ready for collegiate athletics.

“A large part of my college prep is setting up my academic schedule and keeping in shape,” Kirry said. “I workout pretty much every day and you can usually find me on the track four-to-five times a week. I am also getting to know my teammates. We often all video chat to get to know each other, and recently we had a team Zoom meeting discussing the racial tension in our nation and what we as a team can do to make people feel safe, respected and valued. I am so excited for college and I am doing everything I can to be prepared.”

Kirry was also one of the top students of her class and a standout volleyball player her senior year, getting all-league honors while being a spark plug player in a loaded NE 2B North league.

“I really enjoyed having a large team of athletes to the state track meet last year,” Kirry said. “One of my favorite things that I have experienced is that over my years in high school, I saw a real change in the support of the community for school sports and activities. Not only did our community allow for a new track and football field to be built, but over the years I really saw a difference in the number of people supporting us and attending sporting events. I really enjoyed seeing the community come together and the evolution of support that has caused so much positive change in Chewelah in the last few years.”