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Statewide talent gives nod to OSA event

by: COURTESY OF JOHN LARIVIERE - Liz Brenner (right), multisport Oregon Ducks star, is honored as the 2013 Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year. Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson, also from UO, presents her with the trophy at the Oregon Sports Awards.After receiving the Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of the Year award Sunday night at Nike, Liz Brenner was asked how many Oregon Sports Awards trophies she has won.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Five or six?”

The correct answer is five, and maybe counting.

Brenner, who has competed in volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field at the University of Oregon, won three Prep Athlete of the Year awards while at Jesuit High. She also won the Hayward last year.

She keeps all five awards on the windowsill of her parents’ living room.

“This is a great event, and a lot of talented people get nominated every year,” she said. “I’ve won these awards before, but this is just as exciting as the first time.”

Brenner laughed at the notion of someday having a Sports Award named for her. But, at the rate she is going, it is not too out of the question.

“I don’t expect it,” she said. “But it would be a huge honor.”

by: COURTESY OF JOHN LARIVIERE - DeAnthony Thomas, one of the presenters at Sundays Oregon Sports Awards, says he is looking forward to his transition from the Oregon Ducks to the NFL.• College football players who decide to leave early for the NFL draft often talk about how hard the decision was for them. Not former Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas.

“It wasn’t hard at all,” Thomas said, of deciding to forgo his senior season for the NFL. “My mind was made up after the Alamo Bowl. Now it’s time to take my game to the next level.”

Thomas, who presented some of the awards at the 62nd annual OSA show, said he is having fun preparing for the draft.

“I’m training at Nike, and it’s been a great experience,” he said. “I’m training hard to be the best.

“Wherever I land, I know I’ll contribute to that team and be a playmaker and a team leader.”

• Former Trail Blazers great Brian Grant was wowed by the Oregon Sports Awards.

“It’s really awesome,” said the first-time presenter. “It’s very important to highlight and show what our statewide talent is doing.”

Grant has kept busy with the Brian Grant Foundation, which he established in 2010 to benefit people like him with Parkinson’s disease.

“We’re very close to going national,” he said.

• Even in retirement, Mouse Davis is one of the biggest characters on the Oregon sports scene. The longtime football coach and offensive mastermind has been enjoying his break from the game, but not quite as much as he enjoyed being on the gridiron.

“Every day is Saturday,” Davis said. “I hope it’s a good day and I can get out and hit a little golf ball. It’s not what you would classify as overly active. But I do a few things here and there. It’s fine. It’s not like coaching. But it’s OK.”

Davis, 81, is most likely retired for good. But with him, you never know.

“You never say never,” Davis said. “But very few guys who are 100 years old are coaching. We’ll see how it works out.”

• Lincoln High’s Goutham Sundaram won the boys tennis Class 6A championship last season for the second year in a row. Sundaram, now a senior, knows that prep tennis players usually do not get a lot of notoriety, so he was thrilled to be on a stage before hundreds of people receiving the OSA for boys tennis player of the year.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s fun to be up on stage and be recognized by someone who is on national television every day (OSA host and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett). It was awesome.”

• After being named the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year, Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter was very nostalgic about his Pacific Northwest roots.

“A lot of people don’t realize I was born on the other side of the border in Tacoma, not too far up the road,” he said. “Believe it or not, my dad was a lumberjack, and I lived there until I was 5.

“I’m honored to receive this award, but I’m more honored to lead my club, and I’m really proud to live in this community and raise my family here.”

• When someone pointed out that Portland Thorns midfielder and OSA presenter Meleana Shim looked a lot taller in her high heels, she rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Everyone thinks I’m so short.” Shim, generously listed at 5-4, says. “I’m a lot taller than I look.”

Shim said the OSA show is “very professional compared to what we do in Hawaii. It’s really good that the high school students get recognized. This is such a good introduction to what’s to come in college.”

• Central Catholic running back Ryan Nall received the prep football player of the year award.

“To go out your senior year 14-0 with a state championship, it’s probably the best thing I could ask for,” he said. “I was so happy to share it with my teammates and my friends.”

• Oregon State football coach Mike Riley loves coming to the Oregon Sports Awards and said it gives him a lot of state pride.

“It’s awesome,” Riley said. “It’s first-class. It’s big-time. It’s got the great feel to it. The venue is awesome, and it makes me proud of Oregon.”