Hartley, Hardison win Watkins Awards|Marks seventh year of honoring former Pam Pack star

Published 2:13 pm Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sports Editor

The memory of Trent Watkins lives on, thankfully.
Watkins, a former star baseball and football player with the Washington Pam Pack, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on April 7, 2004.
His parents, Kim and Wayne Watkins, and family members remember Watkins by presenting an annual award in his honor.
On Friday night, Washington seniors Cole Hartley (football) and Jimmy Hardison (baseball) received those awards.
“Anybody that has lost a child, a son or a daughter, always knows how hard it is,” Kim Watkins said. “This is a way for us to honor him and remember him. Sports is something he loved.
“This is a nice way to recognize these boys that work hard and play hard. We look forward to this every year.”
Watkins seemed to leave every baseball game with dirt covering his uniform, and each football game with grass stains all over his jersey and pants.
He was a hard-nosed catcher with a solid stick in baseball, and an all-out warrior on the gridiron.
He wasn’t afraid of hard work. Off the field, Watkins was as nice as they’d come, always greeting friends and strangers with a smile.
It’s that type of character that personifies the “Watkins Athletic Award in Memory of Trent Emery Watkins.” The award is given each year on the home baseball game that falls closest to his birthday.
Watkins would have turned 26 today.
Kim Watkins obviously still misses her son dearly.
“You don’t get over the death, but you learn to cope with it,” she said. “You learn to bring up the memories and all the good things and the happy times and, hopefully, those will overshadow the grief that you experience.”
The award winners, who each received a $750 scholarship, are selected by the coaching staff of their respective teams. In order to receive the award, the athletes must demonstrate strength of character and integrity; a positive attitude with the determination and drive to win; and an unquestionable dedication to the team.
Kim Watkins said that Hartley and Hardison were good choices for the award.
“I’m excited about the recipients,” she said. “I think they were great choices. We’re glad to be a part of them and to give back.”
Pam Pack baseball coach Travis Rogerson said Hardison fits the Watkins mold perfectly.
“Jimmy is a great kid,” said Rogerson, who was fortunate to play alongside Watkins. “He does whatever I tell him, jumping on it 100 percent. He won’t stop until it’s done, and it’s been like that since day one. I’ve enjoyed being his coach. He’s a great guy and very deserving of it.
“This is awesome that (the Watkins family) does this. It’s very generous. I played ball with Trent. He kind of showed me the ropes a little bit and he was a really good guy. It’s awesome we can remember him through something like this.”
Hardison was excited to receive the award.
“It was an honor to receive it,” Hardison said. “I’m really glad that I won the award. It’s an honor to win it because it expressed all the values that are important in youth.”
Pam Pack football coach Sport Sawyer is happy to keep Watkins’ memory alive, and felt Hartley was deserving of the award.
“Cole has been a hard worker the last four years in football and baseball,” Sawyer said. “That’s what Trent did. He worked hard and did anything that was asked of him. That’s what Cole is all about.
“Teaching and coaching Trent, he was a very good young man. To keep his memory alive, especially with as good as he was to Washington High School and the community, it’s good to keep that alive.”
Hartley was honored that Sawyer picked him for the award.
“It was an honor to receive the award,” Hartley said. “It means a lot to me, especially character-wise. It really means a lot to me.”
Trent Watkins Athletic Award Winners:
Baseball – Jimmy Hardison
Football – Cole Hartley
Baseball – Austin Thompson
Football – Justin Meekins
Baseball – Josh Woolard
Football – Cody Cunningham
Baseball – Trent Whitehead
Football – Lee Watkins
Baseball – Jonathan “Peanut” Chandler
Football – Mat Tanner
Baseball – Josh Fulcher
Football – Nigel Rodgers
Baseball – John Brown
Football – Jonathan Davenport