Top state baseball award given to WCHS player Chris Hacopian


Photo courtesy of @churchillbaseball on Instagram

Gatorade spotlighted each winner with an official press release.

By Ryan Weiner, Editor-in-chief

Although his dominant season came to an unfortunate end when WCHS lost in the state semifinals to Sherwood High School, junior Chris Hacopian still wasn’t finished. Hacopian, who put up a ridiculous stat line of a .539 batting average, 12 home runs, 31 runs batted in and 39 runs scored, was in contention for Gatorade Player of the Year. 

The high honor is given to the best player at each sport in the state, and takes into consideration the impact a player has on the field for their team as well as off the field for their community and inside the classroom. Seniors generally receive this award due to their higher experience at the varsity level. Thus, when Gatorade revealed the winners on June 3 and Hacopian was given the award, the WCHS baseball community was ecstatic. 

“I was super excited for my teammate, but honestly not surprised as Chris has been a key part in our success this whole season,” junior outfielder Eric Chen said. 

With former winners including top major league players such as Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kris Bryant of the Colorado Rockies, one can truly see why this honor is so incredible. However, Hacopian doesn’t let winning the award get to his head and thinks of it as a way to honor the WCHS program. 

“It feels good to be rewarded with such a prestigious award,” Hacopian said. “But honestly I’m more happy to bring notice to Churchill baseball with the award and be able to represent Coach Pat and the team.”

Throughout the past few seasons, WCHS baseball has had the goal of putting themselves on the map the right way by playing hard, being humble and succeeding both on and off the field. Hacopian’s success this year and recognition of the award are a great example of how this mentality has pushed the Bulldogs to the next level. 

“I worked hard in the offseason, kept quiet and played hard on the field just like all the guys on our team did,” Hacopian said. “Our mentality was just about controlling what we could control, playing hard, and having a good time with each other while we did it.”

As part of winning the award, Hacopian will have the chance to donate a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization that helps young athletes have the equipment and/or skills they need to play sports. Hacopian has chosen to give this grant to Angels Baseball, an organization run by Jason Aqulante that helps kids get better at baseball.

“I’m going to give my grant to Angels Baseball because it has been a big part in my development in baseball as a person,” Hacopian said. “It only makes sense to give back to someone like Jason that has supported me my whole life.”

Although one might expect Hacopian to try to win the award again next year, that is not where his mind is currently. Instead, he has set his focus towards helping the Bulldogs get back to the state playoffs so that they can hopefully win their second ever baseball state title. 

“My goal for next year? Two words: state title,” Hacopian said. “We got so close this year with a great team, and I know we can make it all the way in 2023 if our guys work hard and stay hungry.”