By Tim Hipps, IMCOMFebruary 20, 2013
SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 15, 2013) -- Soldiers from the Pacific Region swept the 2012 Army Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.
All-Army softball players Sgt. Michael Dochwat Jr., of Fort Shafter, Hawaii, and Sgt. Ashley Walker of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, were selected as the athletes. All-Army men's volleyball coach Sgt. Angel Rivera of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea, was named coach of the year. They were selected by a panel at Army Installation Management Command headquarters on Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
As a team captain, Dochwat, 38, helped the All-Army men's softball team snap All-Air Force's four-year stranglehold on the U.S. Armed Forces Championship trophy by winning the annual tournament at Fort Sill, Okla. He batted .719 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI in eight games and was named to the All-Tournament Team and All-Armed Forces squad that competed in the Amateur Softball Association's National Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Dochwat helped an American Legion/Easton squad win the United States Specialty Sports Association's Military Worlds varsity A division in Panama City Beach, Fla., where he was an all-tournament selection. He also led an Armed Forces team to a runner-up finish in the Hawaii State Softball Championships C division. And he traveled to South Korea to help an American Legion international squad finish second in the Pacific Wide Open Softball Tournament.
As if he wasn't busy enough playing softball, Dochwat also managed the Halawa Park Little League baseball team and served as hitting instructor for the girls' fast-pitch softball team at Campbell High School that finished runner-up in the Hawaii State High School Championships.
Despite being surrounded by more experienced players, Walker, 23, served as a team captain and led the All-Army women's softball team to the Armed Forces Championship with an 8-1 record. On the diamond, she moved from first base to third base and continued to exhibit flawless defense. At the plate, she batted .565 en route to being unanimously selected to the All-Tournament Team and the All-Armed Forces Team that finished second at the ASA National Championships in Oklahoma City. At nationals, Walker batted .455 and was third on the team in RBI.
Shortly before reporting to All-Army Softball Camp, Walker lost her husband, Sgt. Brian Walker, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Both Walkers were military police in the same unit. Ashley stayed with her softball team at Fort Sill, Okla., while members of the Walkers' unit placed a brick in Brian's honor at the Military Police Memorial Grove at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
"I just needed to play All-Army Softball for my husband," Walker said of her biggest fan. "And we won the gold medal."
Rivera led the All-Army men's volleyball team to back-to-back Armed Forces Championships with a 12-0 record during the 2011 and 2012 tournaments. Four of his players were named to the All-Tournament Team.
As the U.S. Armed Forces head coach, Rivera took six All-Army players to the 2012 Counseil International du Sport Militaire Volleyball Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He also coached the U.S. military men's team at CISM's 2011 Military World Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rivera, 29, is a community-service stalwart at Yongsan, where he gets American Soldiers, KATUSA Soldiers, young athletes and Korean locals to come together for several clean-up and social events throughout the year.