were just a part of how the Tracy High senior proved to be a team leader.
Russell’s dedication got his Bulldog teammates out to summer skills camps and into the weight room for strength training while also setting an example on campus as a standout student and citizen.
Those qualities make Russell this year’s Peter B. Kyne Award winner. The 6-foot, 212-pound fullback and linebacker received the award, now in its 85th year, during a luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Tracy Community Center.
Bulldog football coach Matt Shrout said Russell was the obvious choice.
“As a coach, you have to have players you could lean on, and he’s that guy, and I would lean on him often,” Shrout said.
When Shrout became the Bulldogs head coach in 2010, he brought Russell up to the varsity team as a sophomore.
“I knew that if I was going to start building something, I would need somebody to build with, and he was the guy to build it with.” Shrout said. “He’s our leader, there’s no doubt.”
Russell is also the San Joaquin Athletic Association co-MVP.
“Everyone that knows me knows that football is a big deal to me,” he said. “I just do what I can to be the best I can. I’m just proud that our team could be successful this year.”
Russell said that he and his teammates got better each year after a losing season as freshmen. They finished this year with a 7-3 regular season, including a 4-1, second-place showing in the San Joaquin Athletic Association. The team lost in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.
“Our season was a big team effort, so I was glad we could come out and turn what we were … into a 7-3 team,” he said.
Also recognized at Tuesday’s luncheon was senior lineman Karandeep Gill, recipient of the Weeks Cup Award, given each year to the team’s top scholar-athlete. He was not at the event.
According to Shrout, Gill carries a 4.17 GPA, which includes three college-level courses.
Shrout said the Bulldogs have a team average GPA of 3.2 and noted that 32 of the 41 players have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Tuesday’s event was a chance for the Tracy Breakfast Lions, who co-host the luncheon along with Tracy Rotary Club, to make their annual donation to Tracy High athletics.
Lions President Jack Wood gave Gary Henderson, the Tracy High athletic director, a check for $4,750, which the Lions raised through the snack bar during Tracy’s four home football games.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.