This wasn’t what Halle Caviness expected when she opened the front door.
Outside the recent Ferris High School graduate’s house Tuesday evening stood her former cross country teammates, coaches, grandparents and family friends, a ceremonious gathering that took Caviness aback.
Caviness, who lost her father and Ferris High boys cross country coach Chris Caviness to cancer in April, was handed a plaque that read “Coach Caviness ‘You Gave It Your All’ Scholarship.”
A group of Chris’s former Ferris teammates from the Saxons’ 1981 cross country teams recently started the annual scholarship in the name of Chris and his father, former longtime Ferris coach Herm Caviness.
The award is to be given each year to a Ferris male and female cross country or track athlete who best exemplifies hard work, high character and a positive attitude.
“I had no idea that this was going to be a thing, so to be the first is pretty cool,” Halle said.
“For people who may not be the fastest, or get the most recognition, this can be an award for them if they gave it their all. My dad and grandfather were really big on that.”
Halle, who will attend BYU this fall and run for the school’s club track team, checked all the boxes, as did Ferris boys runner Jonah Bloom, who also had his name engraved on the plaque alongside a photo of Chris and Herm Caviness.
Herm, who coached Ferris cross country for 19 years, and his wife Jeraldine were present Tuesday as their granddaughter was honored.
A week earlier, the Caviness family saw Halle in her graduation cap and gown, an ensemble that included one of her late father’s neck ties hanging from her shoulder.
Halle, who helped Ferris’ girls cross country team qualify for state in 2018 for the first time in over 20 years, was a unanimous selection by the scholarship’s committee, which included the current Ferris coaches.
“She exemplified everything about this award,” said Christina Balkenbush, a friend of Chris and former Ferris teammate who helped create the scholarship. “And it’s pretty amazing for a child who lost their father to persevere the way she has.”
Bloom was a leader on the Ferris boys cross country team last fall and hoped to qualify for state in the 800 meters this spring (his personal is best is 1 minute, 56.87 seconds) before the track season was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
“It’s a real honor to receive this award because I had a lot of respect for him as I got to know him over the years,” said Bloom, who is planning to run track next year at Western Washington University. “This will help carry his legacy down the road.”
Bloom will receive the honor after he returns from an Alaskan fishing trip.
The scholarship is worth $500, money Halle will use for extra college expenses this fall. The plaque will sit in the Ferris trophy case with names added each year.
Twenty years down the road, Halle said she hopes that her father’s message carries on to Saxons who receive the honor.
“When I was little, he’d tell me to do my best, and you can get the results,” Halle said. “When I got to high school I saw how much he cared for every person on the team and how he inspired them to give their best.”
Nearly $7,000 has been raised for the annual Coach Caviness ”You Gave It Your All” scholarship. If you’re interested in donating, visit GoFundMe.com/f/coach-caviness-athletic-memorial-scholarship.
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