Watonga Republican Sports Scholarhip Recipients

The Watonga Republican is pleased to announce the recipients of the second-annual Watonga Republican Sports Scholarships, which are dedicated to helping youths achieve a stronger foundation for future learning and career selection.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Garrett Parker—Oklahoma State and Claire Gauer—Oklahoma City University. Each recipient will be receiving an $1,000 scholarship thanks to our sports sponsorships from local businesses throughout the 2016-17 school year.

“These two Watonga graduates were model students not only in the classroom but also on the field,” Watonga Editor-in-Chief Eric Warsinskey said. “Garrett and Claire have been a pleasure to cover over these past four years, and I have no doubt in my mind they will do great things in college. I wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors and am so happy to help contribute to their goals with this scholarship.”

At the Watonga Republican, we know that many worthy students face financial difficulties when it comes to college tuition and we created these scholarships in order to contribute to the success of ambitious and dedicated students who might be hindered by the incredible financial burden that comes with attending college.

With many recent college graduates employed here at our local newsroom, we know firsthand how important it is to have a base of support when faced with the challenge of attending college. This is one of the many reasons why we created these scholarships with the help of our local businesses who enabled us to cover local student athletes’ success on the field over the past year.

We would like to thank the following local businesses for their yearly sports sponsorship contribution throughout the 2016-17 school year: Wheeler Bros., McCrary, Cornerstone, Sinclair, Apple Market, Cimarron Electric, Earnheart, Jordan Air, Triple Crown/BCF, Dobrinski of Okeene, Swanns Pharmacy, City Pharmacy, B&W Ready Mix, Mark’s Service Center, First State Bank, Eagle Auto, Stewart Real Estate, Bill Gauer CPA, Steven’s Carpet, Eagle Freeze and Abstract Guarantee.

This scholarship program is something that we hope to continue well into the future in order to help many other local student athletes achieve their dreams. The application period for next year’s scholarships will be announced in June of 2018. To become a sports sponsor for the 2017-2018 school year and help to support this program, please contact our advertising team at Ads@WatongaRepublican.com or at 580-623-4922.

Garrett Parker

Parker played basketball, football and ran track all four years at Watonga.

Parker led the Eagles secondary throughout the football season, which finished third in the district and completed a 9-4 season including their first playoff victory since 2009.

Parker was also selected as the District A- 2 Cornerback of the Year in the district. When the Eagles season came to a close in the second round of the playoffs, Parker was third in the state of Oklahoma in interceptions on the season, with 7, across all classes. Parker led all of Class A in interceptions this season. Parker finished the season with seven interceptions and 11 pass breakups. Parker also finished with 23 receptions for 389 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 100 yard plus receiving games in two of the Eagles three final games of the season.

“I’m going to miss football the most,” Parker said. “Just being with my teammates and coaches every day and hanging out with them…This scholarship will help a lot with the cost. My mom works two jobs right now, and she’s going to be helping me because I couldn’t do it by myself. Every penny helps, and I’m just thankful for it.”

Claire Gauer

Gauer played basketball, slow and fast-pitch softball and ran track throughout her tenure for the Eagles.

The last time Gauer played basketball for the Watonga High School team, she scored 10 points and hauled in 10 rebounds during the Lady Eagles Regional Playoff against the Merritt Lady Oilers.

Gauer, the Lady Eagles leading rebounder and second leading scorer, finished her senior season with 14 double-doubles, catching the eye of many college basketball recruiters.

Gauer’s abilities on the boards certainly helped her fulfill her role with the Lady Eagles. Gauer finished the 2016-2017 season averaging 10.1 PPG and 9.0 RPG. In 2015-2016 Gauer finished with 7.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG. Gauer was the Lady Eagles leading rebounder during all four of her seasons in Watonga. She was named to the 2016-2017 Great Plains 7 All-Conference Team. Gauer played a key role for the Lady Eagles in their run to this year’s Regional Semifinal and Watonga’s back-to-back runs to the Area Tournament.

“I've been a part of the Lady Eagles basketball team for a very long time,” said Gauer on leaving Watonga. “I remember falling in love with the sport when I was just a 5th grader playing for Mrs. Ross. At Watonga, I have had a very unique opportunity to play with a number of different people. Watonga has been known for its diversity, and I think that the diversity helps an athlete in all aspects. The diversity here taught me how to be a team leader as well as good teammate. My coaches have also worked really hard to make out program great. We won three district championships in a row and I have to thank my coaches for their hard work and dedication to making us better. Here at Watonga, we are more than just teammates, we are a family.”

Gauer will return to the hardwood this fall to play college basketball at Oklahoma City University after signing her letter of intent with the Oklahoma City University Stars just outside of her now former home gym at Watonga High School.

“I had three other offers to play at different colleges and they were all really great,” said Gauer on her options and why she chose OCU. “Although, the reason I did not choose [the other schools] was because of the far travel from home, and because OCU just really felt like a home to me. They have great programs in more than just the sports category. I've been in Oklahoma for the majority of my life and going to live in the city was just the perfect fit.”

The Oklahoma City Lady Stars finished last season with a 34-2 record, winners of 20 straight games, 17-1 record in the Sooner Athletic Conference and oh yeah, they won a national championship. Oklahoma City University secured its ninth NAIA Division I women's basketball championship by prevailing 73-66 over Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) back in late March of this year. Fifth-ranked Oklahoma City (34-2) earned its fourth national crown in six years in women's basketball and now graduated senior Daniela Wallen took tournament most valuable player. The ladies’ basketball title gave Oklahoma City its 64th national championship in all sports. The Stars captured the NAIA competitive cheerleading crown March 11 in Oklahoma City to extend their string of winning a national title each year since 1993-94. OCU ended the season on a 20-game winning string in becoming the fifth team in program history to win as many as 34 games. OCU reached 34 victories each season from 2000-04.

“The best memories were always made during the long trips on the basketball bus,” said Gauer on the memories she will take with her from Watonga. “When I say, we were a family, I really mean it. We helped each other with homework, and sometimes issues in life. We would sing and dance together and just have a great time. Another place that we always made good memories was our locker room. I will never forget when we won the Christian Heritage Tournament and we ran into the locker screaming in celebration. My teammates and I always have a good time together and I will carry these memories with me forever.”

Gauer says she will major in Biomedical Sciences at Oklahoma City University, also [like any college student] reserved the right to change her major, “All I really know is that I'm going to be a doctor someday, and I want to take the best path to help me achieve that.”

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