HP announces Athlete of the Year finalists

The Herald-Palladium has announced its finalists for its Senior Athlete of the Year awards. The four female and male finalists are chosen from nominations from area schools and by HP sports staff.

This is the 70th year the boys award has been given and the 36th for the girls. Award winners receive a plaque and have their names inscribed on the respective trophies.

Awards were limited to Berrien County athletes until 1995, when eligibility was extended to all schools in The HP’s circulation area.

Winners will be announced later this week.

The four male finalists, in alphabetical order:

Timmy Eising, Berrien Springs

Eising earned eight varsity letters — four in track, three in football and one in wrestling.

Eising was all-conference teams three times in football and once in wrestling.

Eising also earned all-state honors twice and all-conference honors seven times in track as a sprinter.

Eising had a 3.7 GPA and plans to become a journeyman pipefitter, plumber and welder.

Zach Goodline, Coloma

Goodline earned seven varsity letters — four in basketball and three in football.

Goodline scored 2,204 points in his basketball career and was a four-time first-team all-conference selection. He earned first-team all-state honors as a senior and honorable mention all-state as a sophomore and junior. He won the MHSAA’s free-throw contest as a junior.

Goodline was Coloma’s starting quarterback for three years. As a senior, he passed for 1,022 yards and rushed for 1,002, helping the Comets to a playoff berth.

Goodline had a 3.74 GPA. He will continue his basketball career at Oakland University.

Garrett Matthews, Watervliet

Matthews played football and baseball for four years and basketball for three years. He missed his senior basketball season due to an injury suffered in football.

Matthews earned all-division honors in football as a junior wide receiver. He took over as the Panthers’ quarterback as a senior and earned all-division honorable mention.

Matthews was a standout pitcher in baseball and earned all-division and all-region honors as a junior.

Matthews had a 3.20 unweighted GPA and will attend Grand Valley State University.

Joey Schmidt, River Valley

Schmidt earned 11 varsity letters — four in football and track and three in basketball.

Schmidt was a two-time all-conference running back and graduated as the Mustangs’ fourth all-time leading rusher. As a senior captain, he helped lead River Valley to its first playoff berth since 2001. 

Schmidt also earned multiple all-conference and all-region honors in track and helped the Mustangs win a BCS White Division championship.

Schmidt had a 3.5 GPA. His career goal is to work for an electrical trade union.


The four female finalists, in alphabetical order:

Kaitlin Essig, Bridgman

Essig earned 11 varsity letters — four in cross country and track and three in basketball.

Essig was a four-time all-conference selection in cross country and a two-time state qualifier.

Essig earned all-state track honors in the high jump in 2017 and 2019, and also qualified for state in the 400 in 2018 and the 300 hurdles and 3200 relay in 2019.

Essig earned special mention all-conference in basketball as a senior.

Essig had a 3.79 GPA and plans to attend Cornerstone University to pursue a career in physical health education.

Courtney Farrish, St. Joseph

Farrish earned four varsity letters in softball.

Farrish was selected first-team all-district and all-conference all four years of her varsity career, first team all-region for her first three years and first-team all-state in 2019.

Farrish led the Bears to a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division championship as a senior, hitting 18 home runs, and is a Miss Softball nominee.

Farrish had a 3.99 GPA and will continue her softball career at Western Michigan University.

Lauren Kilgore, Buchanan

Kilgore earned four varsity letters as a member of the Bridgman co-op swimming team.

Kilgore earned Division 1 all-state honors as a junior and senior. She finished second at the Division 1 state meet in the 200 individual medley as a senior, and sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Kilgore set 13 pool records and nine school records for Bridgman.

Kilgore had a 4.35 weighted GPA. She will continue her swimming career at the University of Toledo and plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy.

Jessie Rieth, River Valley

Rieth earned 11 varsity letters, four each in cross country and track and three in basketball.

Rieth was the BCS Conference White Division MVP in cross country and earned all-region honors.

She was a track state qualifier in the 800 and earned all-conference honors in the 1600 and 3200.

Rieth had a 3.996 GPA and will attend Calvin College in the fall.