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2000 Athlete of the Year
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Boy's Baseball -- Brian Hall
Carlsbad High School - Carlsbad, New Mexico

The 5-foot-11 Hall was an All-District player four years and an All-State player three years. The starting center fielder on Carlsbad High's 1998 Class 4A state championship team, Hall moved to shortstop the next season and continued his outstanding play. He won the state's Triple Crown, setting state records with a .676 batting average and 11 home runs, and his 43 RBIs were one shy of the state record. He was named the Gatorade New Mexico High School Player of the Year and was a USA Today Pre-Season Super 25 selection. He also was named to the First Team by Collegiate America, and to the Second Team by Baseball America. "Athletes like Brian Hall are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best baseball players not only in the state of New Mexico, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him." Hall also played on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Phoenix Scout Team in 1998 and was the Most Valuable Player at the Arizona Pro Baseball Camp the same year. Also an outstanding student, Hall graduated 17th in his class of 475 with a 4.46 grade-point average, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has accepted a scholarship to Stanford University, one of the nation's elite baseball programs.    

Boy's Basketball -- Zach Spivey
Coronado High School - Lubbock, Texas
The 6-feet-10, 225-pound Spivey was voted his district's Class 5A Most Valuable Player as a senior after averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds, and nearly 4 blocked shots per game. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has accepted a scholarship to Sacred Heart University. "Athletes like Zach Spivey are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best athletes not only in the state of Texas, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."  

Boy's Cross Country -- Donald Sage
York High School, Elmhurst, Illinois
A product of one of the nation's top high school cross country programs led by National High School Cross Country Coach of the Year Joe Newton, Sage won the Illinois Class AA individual title, running the 3-mile course in a time of 14:03, the fourth fastest time in state history. He was the state runner-up as a sophomore and junior and 24th in the state as a freshman. As the leader of York's track team, Sage won Class AA titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters as a junior and senior. As a senior, Sage ran the fastest double in state history, setting a Class AA record in the 3,200 in 8:42.89 and running the 1,600 in 4:07.58, missing the state record by less than one-half second. "Athletes like Donald Sage are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best runners not only in the state of Illinois, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."  Also a standout in the 800-meter run, Sage ran the anchor legs that helped York establish national indoor and outdoor records in the 4X800-meter relay. He was the runner-up in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships last December, and in June ran a mile in 4:00.29 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., the fastest time for the mile run by a high school athlete since the great Marty Liquori in 1967. Also an outstanding student, Sage accepted an athletic scholarship to Stanford University.  

Football -- David Beck
Lockport High School - Lockport, New York
The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Beck, an offensive lineman, was a first team All-State selection. In addition, he was selected All-Western New York and Lineman of the Year. His performance on the offensive and defensive lines this year was critical to Lockport High's success in 1999, as the team advanced to the Section 6 finals played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. "Athletes like David Beck are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best football players not only in the state of New York, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."  A three-sport athlete, Beck also was the Section 6 Class A wrestling champion at 275 pounds as a senior and threw the shot put and discus for the Lockport track team. His volunteer work includes two missionary trips to Mexico, two years as a volunteer for the United Way and Helping Hands programs. He will attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania this fall on a football scholarship.  

Boy's Golf -- Jason Furlow
DuQuoin High School - DuQuoin, Illinois
Furlow twice placed high in the Class A Illinois boys state golf tournament, finishing third in the state as a junior in 1998 and 11th in the state last fall as a senior. In the National Open High School Golf Championships held June 23-25 in Winter Garden, Fla., Hentzner was the highest-placing senior in the boys competition, finishing in fourth place. The tournament was part of the 3rd annual National High School Sports Festival, which attracted nearly 1,000 athletes to the Orlando, Fla. area for competition in golf, tennis, and soccer June 23-26. "Athletes like Jason Furlow are one of the reasons these Championships are so gratifying," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills, and we are extremely proud to be honoring him."  Furlow's consistent play at the Orange County National Golf Center kept him within striking distance of the lead throughout the 54-hole event. An opening-round 71 left him 11th after the first day, but he improved seven spots the second day with an even-par 70 and finished the tournament with a 72 for a final score of 3-over-par 213. The performance also helped Furlow improve 35 spots over last year's performance, when he finished 38th with a 308 total. John Bradley Holmes of Campbellsville, Ky., a junior at Taylor County High School, won the event for the second consecutive year with a 208 total.  

Boy's Soccer -- Dan Walsh
U.S. Air Academy - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Walsh, a forward, was named to the All-Colorado Team by the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News as a senior after scoring 25 goals and adding 7 assists in 15 games, ranking second in the state's Class 5A scoring race. The 25 goals gave him 69 in his career, both school records. He also starred for the Chargers Premier Gold under-18 traveling team. A three-sport athlete, Walsh was a captain of the basketball team and was voted the team's Most Inspirational Player as a senior, and also was a member of the track team. "Athletes like Dan Walsh are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best athletes not only in the state of Colorado, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him." Walsh also was outstanding in the classroom. The National Honor Society member earned a 3.98 grade-point average, graduated in the top 7 per cent of his class, and scored 25 on the ACT and 1150 on the SAT. His accomplishments earned him a spot on the Colorado State Academic First Team. He earned an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

Boy's Swimming -- Alex Lim
The Bolles School - Jacksonville, Florida
Lim set or helped set three national records as a senior and won four events to lead The Bolles School, coached by National High School Boys Swimming Coach of the Year Larry Shofe, to the Class 4A state team title. Lim set a national record in the 100-meter backstroke in 46.82 seconds, and was a member of two relay teams, the 200-meter medley relay (1:31.62) and the 400-meter freestyle relay (3:01.80) that also set national records. Lim's fourth victory came in the 100-meter butterfly, which he swam in 47.64 seconds to set a state record. "Athletes like Alex Lim are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best swimmers not only in the state of Florida, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him." Lim also competed in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, for his native Malaysia. He accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of California-Berkeley.  

Boy's Tennis -- Geoff Russell
Mountain Pointe High School - Phoenix, Arizona
"Athletes like Geoff Russell are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best tennis players in the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."  Russell won Class 5A state singles titles as a freshman, junior, and senior. He was undefeated his final two years, and didn't lose a single set as a junior. As a senior, he won 56 of 58 sets. He accepted a scholarship to the College of William & Mary.  

Wrestling Jesse Jantzen
Shoreham-Wading River High School - Shoreham, New York
It is the first year the NHSCA has presented this award. Jantzen's dominating performance at the 11th annual Senior National High School Wrestling Championships, held March 24-26 at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., resulted in his unanimous selection as this year's award winner. This year's Senior Nationals attracted a record 797 competitors from 48 states, including a total of 53 entries in the weight class at which Jantzen competed, 140 pounds (competitors received a three-pound weight allowance).   "Athletes like Jesse Jantzen are one of the reasons these Championships are so gratifying," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best wrestlers ever in New York State. We are extremely proud to be honoring him."  No individual stood out from the rest nationally as the 1999-2000 wrestling season began, but Jantzen put himself in front of the pack by completing, at least statistically, the most dominating career in the history of New York State wrestling. By winning the 145-pound state title the first weekend of March in Syracuse, Jantzen won his fourth state championship after placing third in the state as a seventh- and eighth-grader. No wrestler had ever won four state titles or placed six times in the 37-year history of the New York state tournament, but Jantzen accomplished both. Also selected the state tournament's Outstanding Wrestler as a junior and senior, Jantzen finished his senior season with a 41-0 record and a career record of 215-3. Jantzen was just as dominating in the Senior Nationals, allowing only two points in six matches as he piled up three pins, a major decision, and two technical falls, including a title-match technical fall in just 3 minutes, 17 seconds over Ohio state champion Nate Yetzer of Mansfield. Jantzen was voted the winner of the Jeff Reese Memorial Award as the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler. Also an outstanding student, Jantzen earned a 3.2 grade-point average and scored 1110 on the SAT, and will attend Harvard University in the fall.  

Boy's Track and Field -- David Fraser
Westfield High School - Houston, Texas
Fraser has excelled at Westfield High despite running cross country and track for only three years. He first attracted attention by qualifying for the state cross country tournament in the rugged Houston Class 5A district and region qualifying series, one of the nation's outstanding distance running regions. He went on to qualify for the state meet three years, finishing 14th in the state championships as a senior. "Athletes like David Fraser are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "He has worked extremely hard to develop his skills and has become one of the best runners not only in the state of Texas, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring him."  Fraser was a standout youth baseball player prior to beginning his cross country and track career. In addition to his success in the outstanding Houston area, Fraser, who also ran the 1,600 and 3,200 meters for the Westfield High track team, competed in the prestigious Foot Locker North Carolina Juniors Race in Charlotte, N.C. and finished ninth out of 250 contestants. Also an outstanding student, Fraser ranks in the top 10 per cent of his class academically and is a member of the National Honor Society. He also owns and operates his own lawn care service company. Fraser has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he will continue his track career.  

Girl's Basketball -- Alison Thomason
Pickens County High School - Jasper, Georgia
The 5-feet-11 Thomason led Pickens County to the Women's Final Four in Georgia. She was the winner of the Naismith Award as the state's top female athlete as a junior and senior. As a junior, she averaged 25.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, added 59 blocks and 66 steals, ans shot 59.2 per cent from the field and 71.1 per cent from the free-throw line. She was the subject of a cover story in Sports Illustrated for Women magazine as a senior. She also maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and graduated in the top 15 per cent of her class. "Athletes like Alison Thomason are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best athletes not only in the state of Georgia, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  

Girl's Cross Country -- Victoria Chang
Punahou High School - Honolulu, Hawaii
Chang was the state cross country champion as a senior, then ascended to national recognition by winning the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships in December. Chang ran the 3.1-mile course in a record time of 3:05.8, 17 seconds faster than the previous record set by Erin Sullivan in 1997. Chang won the race by nine seconds. "Athletes like Victoria Chang are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best cross country runners not only in the state of Hawaii, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her." Chang also was a four-time state champion in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs, leading Punahou High to the state track and field team title all four years. She set state records in both events as a junior in 1999, running the 1,500 in 4:38.83 and the 3,000 in 9:38.03. Chang accepted an athletic scholarship to Stanford University.  

Girl's Field Hockey -- Jacque LaFleur
Bel Air High School - Bel Air, Maryland
The 5-foot-9 LaFleur excelled in three sports - field hockey, basketball, and softball - at Bel Air High. She was Bel Air's leading scorer for three years, ending her career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 53 goals and 22 assists. She was a three-time Baltimore All-Metro Second Team selection and was selected Second-team All-State by the Maryland Coaches Association as a senior. She was voted the winner of the Al Cesky Memorial Scholarship as Bel Air High's top senior athlete this year. "Athletes like Jacque LaFleur are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best lacrosse players not only in the state of Maryland, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  As a three-year starter in basketball, LaFleur finished her career with 1,198 points - the first female player at Bel Air High to score more than 1,000 point in a career - and also led her team in rebounds and steals her final two years. She also was a four-year starter at shortstop on the softball team and was a four-time All-Harford County Team selection. Also an outstanding student, LaFleur graduated seventh in her class of 365 with a 4.08 grade-point average, and scored 1410 on the SAT exam.  

Girl's Golf -- Christine Hentzner
Bishop Gorman High School - Las Vegas, Nevada
Hentzner helped lead Bishop Gorman to a second-place finish in the Class 4A Nevada girls golf state tournament last fall, finishing among the top 10 players individually. In the National Open High School Golf Championships held June 23-25 in Winter Garden, Fla., Hentzner was the highest-placing senior in the girls competition, finishing in ninth place. The tournament was part of the 3rd annual National High School Sports Festival, which attracted nearly 1,000 athletes to the Orlando, Fla. area for competition in golf, tennis, and soccer June 23-26. "Athletes like Christine Hentzner are one of the reasons these Championships are so gratifying," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills, and we are extremely proud to be honoring her." Hentzner put together three consistent rounds of golf at the Orange County National Golf Center, shooting 77-76-77 for a 54-hole score of 230. Christine Kim, a sophomore at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, Calif., won the event with a 215 total.  

Girl's Soccer -- Ashley Sherbondy
Colorado Springs Christian School - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sherbondy was a defensive standout, marking her opponents' top forwards as a middle defender and also playing the outside back and center back positions. She was a First team All-League selection and a member of the Colorado Springs All-Metro All-Star Team, and also stars for the Pride Elite under-18 traveling team. She also was one of 34 elite players nationwide selected to help run camps that travel around the Women's World Cup schedule as part of the organization Uncharted Waters. A three-sport athlete, Sherbondy also was a member of the cross country and basketball teams. "Athletes like Ashley Sherbondy are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best athletes not only in the state of Colorado, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  Sherbondy also was outstanding in the classroom. The National Honor Society member graduated No. 1 in her class of 107 with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and scored 28 on the ACT and 1190 on the SAT. She was Student Government president as a senior, and was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Bibles for the World. She will attend Covenant College in the fall.  

Girl's Softball -- Kristin Schmidt
North Shore High School - Houston, Texas
Schmidt has enjoyed an outstanding career at North Shore. A right-handed pitcher, she was voted her team's Most Valuable Player three times. After giving up only one earned run as a freshman, she helped lead North Shore to the state's Class 5A title as a sophomore in 1998, a year she earned All-Tournament Team and First Team All-State honor. She pitched her team to the regional quarterfinals this year. Also an outstanding student with a 4.0 grade-point average, Schmidt has accepted a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, one of the nation's elite college softball programs. "Athletes like Kristin Schmidt are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best players not only in the state of Texas, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  

Girl's Swimming -- Sara McLarty
Deland High School - Deland, Florida
McLarty was the Florida Class 3A state champion in the 200-meter individual medley and finished second in the 500-meter freestyle last fall. A versatile athlete, she also qualified for the state championships every year in cross country and track in addition to swimming, earning All-State honors in cross country. A Junior National champion, McLarty has qualified for the Junior Nationals in five events and the Senior Nationals in three events. She also is a four-time National Iron Kids Triathlon champion. She was invited to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in August, and will try to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. "Athletes like Sara McLarty are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best swimmers not only in the state of Florida, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  Also an outstanding student, McLarty ranks in the top 5 per cent of her class with a 4.06 grade-point average, and is a member of the National Honor Society. She has accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida, selecting the Gators over Kentucky, Auburn, Nebraska, and North Carolina.  

Girl's Tennis -- Chrissie Nolan
Glenbrook North High School - Northbrook, Illinois
"Athletes like Chrissie Nolan are among the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best tennis players in the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her."  Nolan was unbeaten as a senior, winning her third consecutive state singles title with a perfect 30-0 season record. She became the third girl to win three state singles, and the first since 1978. Nolan, whose career singles record was 106-3, led Glenbrook North to a sixth-place state finish.  

Girl's Volleyball -- Laura Grote
Westwood High School - Round Rock, Texas
Grote, a 5-foot-10 setter, completed one of the outstanding careers in Texas girls volleyball history by leading Westwood High to the state Class 5A championship. She was voted the state tournament's Most Valuable Player. Grote had 926 assists and 33 aces as a senior. She was selected to the All-State Team as a junior and senior by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, was a two-time Central Texas Player of the Year, and was selected to the Texas Sportswriters Association All-State Team. Grote also was selected the Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year.  "Athletes like Laura Grote are the success stories produced in high school athletics today," NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro said. "She has worked extremely hard to develop her skills and has become one of the best players not only in the state of Texas, but the entire nation, and we are proud to be honoring her." "In 30 years of coaching, Laura Grote is the best setter that I have ever taught," said her high school coach, Zula Blann. Also an outstanding student, Grote ranks in the top 10 per cent of her class academically. She has accepted a scholarship to continue her volleyball career at Texas Tech University.

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