Loya Receives Palmer Award
Roberto Loya – otherwise known as Speedy – received the Nick Palmer Award at the Lake County High School Fall Sports Banquet held on Oct.30. This award is presented annually to an outstanding athlete that has demonstrated excellence in academics, shown leadership in their sport, classroom and community; sportsmanship on and off their respective field of play as well as devotion surrounding their sport. The award is named after Nick Palmer (see below), a LCHS graduate and football player.
Loya was nominated by Megan Coffin, LCHS Boys Varsity Soccer Coach because of “his continuous hard work, dedication and most of all upbeat personality on and off the soccer field.” Loya was one of four captains of the boys’ varsity soccer team and a great leader for the varsity soccer team.
“He’s able to rally them together at practices and at games,” wrote Coffin in Loya’s nomination letter. “He represents our team well. He is very persistent and never gives up. He gives 110% in everything he does. He is an athlete everyone on the team admires.”
Loya was one of five fall sports athletes nominated for the Nick Palmer Award. “We were given some time to meet with the athlete from each of the five fall sports as nominated by their coach,” stated Rachele Palmer who presented the award along with husband Brad in honor of their son Nick. “Each one had demonstrated qualities of academics, leadership, sportsmanship and devotion, which made our decision difficult, with each of them very deserving of this award.” But in the end it was Loya who rose to the top.
What is the Nick Palmer Award?
Nick Palmer graduated from LCHS in 2005 where he played football, exemplifying strong leadership qualities both on and off the field. After graduation, Nick joined the United States Marine Corps. He was killed in action December 16, 2006 while on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq. He was just 19 years old.
It was a former LCHS football coach who thought it would be honorable to begin a tradition to dedicate an athletic achievement award to an outstanding athlete that maintains the same dedication to their sport in which Nick exemplified within his sport. So in 2007 the Nick Palmer Award was created and Nick’s #53 jersey was retired during the homecoming halftime ceremony and remains on display in the LCHS foyer.
“As time goes on, those who knew Nick have left the halls of Lake County High School,” explains Rachele Palmer, Nick’s mother, “and new classmates will have the opportunity to know of Nick and his qualities through this award. So as each year passes and new nominations are made, there will be the need to pass on to those up and coming athletes what it is that has inspired the conception of this award.”