Holcomb and Gust named Athletes of Year at Rochester Sports Banquet

Jan. 15—ROCHESTER — The Male Athlete of the Year at the Rochester Sports Banquet has become a bit of a Holcomb family award.

Two years ago Mayo High School football standout Cayden Holcomb won the award when he was a senior. On Monday, his younger brother, Carter, captured the award.

Carter Holcomb, now a senior at Mayo, was honored for his stellar performance in football and track and field during the 2023 sports season.

"It's pretty cool, it's quite an honor to follow the path of my brother and get the same award as him," Carter Holcomb said.

Holcomb received one of eight awards during the sold-out banquet, which was held at the Rochester Event Center. Former NBA player Spud Webb was the featured speaker.

St. Charles senior Makadyn Gust was named the Female Athlete of the Year.

Stewartville football coach Garrett Mueller was part of two major awards. He was named the Coach of the Year for leading the Tigers to a Class 3A football state championship. The Tigers were also selected as the Team of the Year.

Tyler Gunnarson of St. Charles was named the Adaptive Athlete of the Year, the second time he has won the award. Cade Sheehan, a Mayo grad, is the Post High School Male Athlete of the Year while Lake City's Taylor Heise was the Post High School Female Athlete of the Year.

Former Rochester official John Springer was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

There were five finalists for all the awards except Post High School and Lifetime Achievement.

"All my accomplishments, I couldn't have done it without my coaches, teammates and family," Holcomb said. "Everybody pitching in and helping me push myself to my limits and get better really helped me out."

Sports has really been a family affair for Holcomb. Not only did he grow up competing and training with his brother, Cayden, but his father, Donny, has also been his coach at Mayo during his five-year varsity career.

"Following the footsteps of my brother, he's helped me out since I was a little kid playing in the backyard with him," Carter Holcomb said. "My dad, being a coach of ours, and being able to help us out each day at home and on field, and my mom, she's the best supporter I've ever had. I couldn't do anything without her."

Holcomb not only won the Male Athlete of the Year award like his brother, but he will also follow in Cayden's footsteps and play college football at Winona State University.

"I'm looking forward to that, I'm super excited," Holcomb said.

Gust was honored just a few months after suffering a major knee injury.

"I'm so honored to be selected for this award," she said. "This year has been so full of ups and downs."

Gust played on St. Charles softball and soccer teams that reached the state championship games in 2023, the softball team in the spring of her junior year and the soccer team in the fall of her senior year. Both teams lost in the state title game and Gust suffered an ACL injury in the state soccer semifinals.

"I do have a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth," she said. "We lost, but I'm so thankful I got to go out with my best friends. And I'd do anything I could do to play with them again."

Instead, she will miss both her senior seasons in basketball and softball. She did get some token playing time in basketball as she scored the seven points needed to get her over the 1,000-career scoring total in basketball.

"Thank you to all the people who have helped me with my rehab process at Mayo Clinic," she said.