Casto and Hall are recognized as Ripley High's top athletes

Mark Martin

Jaydn and Kadin.

Not only do their names rhyme, but they will forever have something in common with the Ripley High School Class of 2021.

Jaydn Casto and Kadin Hall are the latest recipients of the prestigious Female Athlete of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year awards, respectively.

The two were recognized at the Ripley High School Class of 2021 Formal Awards Ceremony.

Casto was an outstanding runner at Ripley High, competing in both cross country and track and field.

Jaydn Casto was honored as Ripley High School's Female Athlete of the Year for the Class of 2021.

“It was a big surprise,” she said of earning the honor. “Running track and cross country, those two sports don’t always get a lot of attention. But it’s a great honor.”

During her career, Casto qualified for both the West Virginia High School State Track and Field Meet and the State Cross Country Meet.

She comes from a family of athletes.

Her father, Shane, was a standout football and baseball player at Ripley High School. He earned Class AAA First Team All-State as a senior in 1997 while helping lead Ripley to the Class AAA baseball title — the first state championship in school history.

He is a member of both the Ripley High School Viking Football Hall of Fame and Ripley High School Baseball Hall of Fame.

Shane Casto is presently Ripley High’s head baseball coach and an assistant football coach.

He’s guided one team to the Class AAA State Tournament as head coach and was an assistant when the 2004 team brought home another championship.

Jaydn Casto’s grandfather, Kevin, and her great uncle, Kerry, were also outstanding athletes at Ripley High.

Her great-grandfather, Dick Casto, also excelled in athletics while attending Ripley High. He is a 1953 RHS grad.

“My parents (mother Rachel) have been so supportive,” Jaydn said. “And so has my entire family.”

She plans to attend the Laurel Business Institute in Morgantown, specializing in cosmetology.

During high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Through the years she has also been very active in 4-H raising lambs.

She plans to stay on the run.

“Running has been a big part of my life,” she said. “I’ll keep doing it and one day maybe run marathons."

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Like Casto, Hall said he was also surprised to be named the school's top male athlete but is truly honored.

Hall excelled in football, basketball and baseball while competing for the Vikings.

Kadin Hall was named the Ripley High School Male Athlete of the Year for the Class of 2021.

On the football field, he started both ways at fullback and linebacker. He was Ripley's leading rusher this past season with 787 yards on 145 carriers. He scored eight rushing touchdowns.

Hall caught four passes for 45 yards. One of his receptions went for a touchdown.

On defense, Hall collected 58 tackles.

He, too, comes from a family of athletes.

His father, Kevin, was an outstanding back and linebacker at Ripley, where he graduated in 1989. His older brother, Luke, played football for the Vikings. Luke Hall is a 2015 Ripley graduate.

Hall praised his entire family for their support through the years. His dad and mom (Missy) never missed an event.

While football was his favorite, Hall said he enjoyed each season.

"It was just great being around my friends."

A year ago, he realized just how special it was to play sports at Ripley as COVID-19 wiped out the entire baseball season.

Hall will report Aug. 4 to West Virginia State University in Institute to begin his first season of college football. He's expected to play H-back for the Yellow Jackets.

He spent a week on the state campus back in June as a participant in the annual WCHS-TV/FOX 11 North-South All-Star Football Classic. Hall joined high school teammates Quinton Joyner and Matt Moore on the South squad.

"That really helped a lot because now I pretty much know where everything is," he said. "I'm a little nervous because this is a big step (playing college football), but Coach (head coach John) Pennington is really organized."

The first sport he ever played was basketball. He started playing football at age seven.

Hall said the Athlete of the Year honor is icing on the cake to his sports career at Ripley.

"I don't know what I would have done without sports," he said. "Playing sports kept me focused. It helped me stay focused as a student."

His coaches at Ripley are individuals he will never forget.

"They were very inspirational. I always wanted to do my best for them," he said.

Ripley High Athletes of the Year

1969 — Terry Landis; 1970 — Jay Chambers; 1971 — Gerald Matheny; 1972 — Joey Crum; 1973 — Jim Abshire; 1974 — Bobby Casto; 1975 — Mike Ludwig; 1976 — Rod Winters and Sherry Hunt; 1977 — Ron Arthur; 1978 — Mitch Carmichael; 1979 — Tommy Hayes; 1980 — Butch Barnette; 1981 — Phyllis Chancey; 1982 — Steve Jordan; 1983 — Brad Hunt; 1984 — Dave Chancey; 1985 — Matt Carver; 1986 — Cindy Lanham; 1987—Mike Duke; 1988 — Paul Blankenship; 1989 — Ashli White; 1990 — Benjie Hunt; 1991 — Lisa Thompson; 1992 — Cheryl Crawford;

Also, 1993 — Clifton Landis; 1994 — Brett Hunt; 1995 — Matt Parsons; 1996 — Will Hosaflook; 1997 — Amaris Easter; 1998 — Jimmy Knight and Kelli Rose; 1999 — Kevin Thompson and Miranda Spangler; 2000 — Derek Snyder and Bobbi Boggess; 2001 — Jon Spencer and Erica Shaffer; 2002 — Brock Stotts and Jessica Motes; 2003 — Jeff McCoy and Christina Gossett; 2004 — Jonathan Melhorn and Alison Spiker; 2005 — Mitch Smith and Cara Waybright; 2006 — Parker Deem and Ashton Canter; 2007 — Brett Barnette and Jaimie Casto; 2008 — Dewey Young and Tanya Melhorn;

Also, 2009 — Seth Parsons and Michelle Sayre; 2010 — David Heis and Alannah Sheets; 2011 — Derek Mullins and Savana Whiting; 2012 — David Hicks and Ryne Hill; 2013 — Daryl Hicks and Ali Cunningham; 2014 — Kade Harrison and Chelsey Hager; 2015 — Jake Martin and Holly Farkosh; 2016 — Luke Layhew and Audra Thomas; 2017 — Anthony Jarvis and Laurel Miller; 2018 — Sam Pierson and Presley Fisher; 2019 — Caydan Keeler and Taylor Kennedy; 2020 — Broedy Boyce and Tori Starcher; 2021 — Kadin Hall and Jaydn Casto.