10 Celts up for Beacon Awards

This year’s Salem-Keizer Beacon Awards will have a fair amount of McNary blue representation as 10 Celtic athletes earned 11 nominations for next Saturday’s awards — nearly doubling last year’s six nominations. 

McNary’s nominees include four state champions, two Central Valley Conference players of the year, four first team all-CVC honorees and seven who traveled to compete in OSAA State Championship tournaments this season. 

The 11 nominations are third among schools — Sprague and West Salem each have 16 — but junior Ali Martinez is the only nominee for two sports. 

Martinez is nominated for girls wrestling, where she won a state title in her first season of high school wrestling, and softball where she was voted CVC Player of the Year. Martinez hit eight home runs during the regular season and one in the playoffs. 

She is joined by fellow state wrestling champions Max Blanco, a junior, and Josh Friesen, a senior. Appropriately enough, this year’s Beacon honoree from McNary is Jerry Lane, the original wrestling coach at the school and namesake of the season-opening meet held at McNary. 

Boys wrestling is one of two categories with two McNary nominees, boys golf being the other. 

Colby Sullivan will have the chance to repeat as the Beacon Award winner for boys golf after finishing his senior year as state champion. Sullivan is joined in the category by teammate junior Elijah Clendening. Clendening finished second at the CVC districts behind Sullivan, and 12th at the OSAA State Championship. 

Senior Bekah Forrette is nominated for girls golf, where she placed first in the CVC district finals and 52nd at the state championship. 

Also competing at a state championship tournament was junior Caleb Skipper in boys tennis. Skipper was eliminated in the first round, but was the only McNary representative for either boys or girls tennis at the state tournament. 

The remaining three nominees are all seniors, and all earned first-team honors. 

From boys basketball, Jando Gonzalez was voted Defensive Player of the Year for the conference. 

In volleyball, Maddie Corpe had more than 80% of the Lady Celts’ assists and 90 of 94 sets. 

Hudson Brunk led 6A boys soccer in goals as he set a McNary record with 28, and was voted CVC Player of the Year. 

The Beacon Awards, hosted June 17 at the Elsinore Theater in downtown Salem, celebrate student athletes, coaches and community members in the Keizer-Salem area. 

The awards feature three nominees for each sport, as well as a school beacon from each of the six schools, and community beacons. 

This year’s community beacons are John Black, Wes Ediger and Terry Williams. 

This year, the Salem-Keizer Beacons have announced they will donate $2,500 to each of the six Salem-Keizer School District high schools to increase and ensure athletic participation. 

The awards ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 each, and can be purchased through the link at