Sullivan County's Mullen named top male athlete
It was a year to remember for Sullivan County sports.
The basketball team became continued their historic success with a second-straight trip to states, while the baseball team had the best season in program history.
At the center of all of Sullivan County's success was senior Kelby Mullen, and for his achievements he is this year's The Daily & Sunday Review All-Region Male Athlete of the Year.
"You kind of always wait for your senior year to start," he said. "It got off to a good start and I was really looking forward to basketball and baseball season."
The year started off with Mullen earning a state medal in cross country, and continued with him leading the Griffins basketball team as the point guard, and contributing as one of the key hitters, and pitchers, for the baseball team.
For Mullen getting the chance to play with such a good group of classmates helped make all the experiences better over the years.
"You always think about the future when you are younger," Mullen said. "You look up to the older kids and can't wait to play with them.
"We have played together since we were fifth graders and we always have had good aches who were there for us, to push us."
Throughout his high school career Mullen has had Glenn Vaughan and his staffs coach him in cross country and basketball, and Walt Tubach and his staff in baseball.
"The coaches have been great," Mullen said. "Both coaching staffs are great, I couldn't ask for anything better. They helped me a lot and pushed me a lot and it paid off."
This year was the last for Tubach as a coach and Mullen was happy to be able to help send him off with the best season the school has seen.
"He's a great guy, I know we have made him really proud all four years," Mullen said. "I am so happy to have been able to play a part in it."
For Mullen, getting an honor like this is something he knows he couldn't do on his own.
"I am really honored," he said. "I want to thank all the coaches, the players and the parents and the paper for all the love. It's a big honor, there are so many good athletes out there."
For Mullen it was more than just his teammates and coaches that helped make this year special, it was also the support from the Sullivan County community.
"All the fans are great, the student support is great," he said. "It doesn't matter the size, our student support can compete with anybody."
The success that Mullen, and the Griffins, had this year is something that he will look back on in the future.
"It will be really nice in the future years to go back and look at what we did," he said. "It started with the years leading up to us, and what they did, and I'm happy we continued that and I can't wait until I come back and see that they have continued it for a long time."
Mullen hopes that when some of the younger athletes see the postseason successes the Griffins have, when they see him earning an honor like this, they will realize they can accomplish anything.
"I hope they do see that," he said. "I hope that they realize now that Sullivan County can compete with anybody out there now."