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2003 Athlete of the Year
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Boys Basketball -- LeBron James
St. Vincent - St. Mary High School - Akron, Ohio

LeBron James of St. Vincent - St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio has been selected the National High School Senior Boys Basketball Athlete of the Year for 2003, the National High School Coaches Association announced today.  "With so many outstanding young athletes in the United States it is truly an achievement when one player can be such a clear choice as the best in his or her sport - Lebron James is that player," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor him as its National High School Senior Boys Basketball Athlete of the Year."  In a senior season that brought about a new era in press coverage for high school athletics, James never failed to impress anyone that saw him play. Under the most difficult, pressure-filled expectations perhaps ever seen by a high school student-athlete, the nation's best young basketball player averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and five assists a game. During a high school career in which his team won four state titles, James set a new standard with regard to excellence on a prep basketball court. And in the June the Cleveland Cavaliers made the obvious move official, when they passed over dozens of outstanding collegiate and international talents and made James the first pick in the NBA draft.    

Boys Cross Country -- Chris Solinsky
Stevens Point Area High School - Stevens Point, Wisconsin
"Not many athletes are able to win three state titles in a grueling sport like cross country," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "Chris Solinsky has demonstrated that an ongoing work ethic and continued passion can bring about the greatest of results. We are proud to honor Chris as the NHSCA Senior Cross Country Athlete of the Year." Solinsky was the class of Wisconsin distance racing for the past three years, winning multiple state championships in distance events on the track, and the Division I cross country title in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Then, after a third-place finish at the 2001 Foot Locker National Championships, where he was just 2.5 seconds from winning the coveted crown, Solinsky returned to the Foot Lockers and won the national title by a record-tying 20 seconds. After being courted by many of the nation's top Division I men's running programs Solinsky decided to stay at home and run in the Big Ten for the University of Wisconsin.  

Football -- Austin Scott
Parkland High School - Orefield, Pennsylvania
"Austin Scott demonstrated what an athlete's desire and commitment can lead to, when he recovered from a devastating injury in his junior season to set the Pennsylvania rushing record as a senior," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Austin Scott as the National High School Senior Athlete of the Year." After missing his entire junior season to a knee injury, Scott set the all-time single-season rushing record in the greatly respected football state of Pennsylvania this year when he carried for 3, 853 yards. During the amazing stretch Scott also tallied record totals of 53 touchdowns and 318 points scored. The 6-foot, 1-inch Scott, who has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard at 200 pounds, now holds the fourth greatest single-season rushing total in nation's history. He will continue his academic and football careers at Penn State University.  

Boys Golf -- Brendon Todd
Green Hope High School - Cary, North Carolina
"Brendon Todd capped an outstanding individual career with the ultimate team effort in his senior season by leading Green Hope to the state title," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to name Bendon Todd as the National High School Senior Boys Golf Athlete of the Year." Todd recently concluded a high school career in which he captured three individual state championships and led his team, Green Hope High School, to an overall title as a senior. Todd also garnered numerous awards in independent golf ventures away from the high school season, including winning the 2003 AJGA Rolex Junior's event and finishing third at the AJGA Chrysler Classic. The two-time AJGA Junior All-American will attend the University of Georgia to further his academic and athletic careers.  

Boys Soccer -- Greg Dalby
Poway High School - Poway, California
"While it is often easier to notice the offensive accomplishments of the best soccer players in the nation, Greg Dalby made a name for himself playing some of the best defense in the country this year," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to recognize Greg Dalby as the National High School Senior Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year." Dalby earned a soccer scholarship to Notre Dame after closing out his senior season being named the California Player of the Year for the second time and being chosen for several national player of the year honors. A defensive specialist, Dalby still managed to score 15 goals and tally 16 assists in his career at Poway High. During his three years with Poway, the team compiled a record of 50-16-9, and his teammates and the program honored his efforts by making him co-captain as a senior and retiring his jersey after the his final game. Dalby, who already has made his presence known on the U.S. National Team, is expected to make and immediate contribution at Notre Dame despite being one of the nation's youngest players due to graduating from Poway a year early.  

Boys Swimming -- Garrett Weber-Gale,
Nicolet High School - Glendale, Wisconsin
"Garrett Weber-Gale is an example of what hard work and perseverance lead to high school athletics ," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Garrett Weber-Gale as the National High School Senior Boys Swim Athlete of the Year." Weber-Gale has chosen to swim collegiately at the University of Texas, after finishing a high school career that included two state championships and a national record in the 100-yard freestyle (43.49). The future Longhorn also captured three 100-yard backstroke titles in the sate of Wisconsin, including a state record swim of 49.73 in both his junior and senior seasons. Also during his prep years, Weber-Gale was recognized as a five-time All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.  

Boys Tennis -- Shane Tyree
Lake Howell High School - Winter Park, Florida
"Shane Tyree, who never even played tennis before he was 12 years old, has shown that discipline and effort can make up for a late start," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Shane Tyree as the National High School Senior Boys Tennis Athlete of the Year." Tyree climbed the Florida tennis ladder of success year-by-year and made his way to stand upon the podium as champion in his senior season. Starting to play tennis at a rather late age for the sport, 12, Tyree quickly caught on and earned a spot as the No. 3 player on the Lake Howell High team as a freshman. A year later as a sophomore Tyree became the school's No. 1 player and one year later found himself at the state meet. Then as a senior, Tyree took the final step in a lesson in learning, by claiming the Florida Class 3A singles title. He is yet undecided on college choice, but Tyree does plan to play tennis collegiately.  

Boys Track and Field -- Earvin Parker
Lewisville High School - Lewisville, Texas
"Earvin Parker's performance in the 100 and 200-meters this past year made the selection of him as the National High School Senior Track Athlete of the Year an obvious one ," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. Parker will begin a career at Texas Tech University after posting the nation's fastest time in the 100-meter dash as a senior at Lewisville High. Parker's time of 10.29 was over a tenth of a second faster than the next best time run by a high school athlete in 2003. Parker also turned in the nation's second-fastest time in the 200-meters, a 20.7, which was just one-hundredth of a second behind junior Xavier Carter (20.69) of Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, Florida.  

Wrestling -- Mark Perry
Blair Academy - Blairstown, New Jersey
"In one of the stronger recruiting classes that we have seen in some time in the sport of wrestling, Mark Perry distinguished himself as the head of the class at the NHSCA Senior Nationals," said NHSCA Executive Director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to recognize Mark Perry as the National High School Senior Wrestling Athlete of the Year." Perry, who won two national prep school titles and a junior national freestyle title after moving to Blair Academy from Stillwater, Oklahoma where he was a freshman state runner-up, won outstanding wrestler awards of three of the nation's largest tournaments this past season. Those awards came at the Beast of the East tournament in Newark, New Jersey; the National Prep Championships at Lehigh University; and the NHSCA National High School Senior Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Though a native of tradition-rich Oklahoma, Perry has opted to attend rival Iowa University to further his academic and athlete careers.  

Girls Basketball -- Brittany Hunter
Brookhaven High School - Columbus, Ohio
"Brittany Hunter's achievements in the classroom and on the basketball floor define the term student-athlete," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor her with this award." Hunter, a 6'3" center, was named Ohio's Miss Basketball after leading Brookhaven to the state's Division I Final Four in a season where she averaged 23.4 points and 17.6 rebounds a game. A 4.2-GPA student, Hunter first made a name for herself after following up an outstanding junior season with an appearance at the 2002 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival. On one of the largest stages for a prep girl's basketball player Hunter shined as the best of 48 players in attendance. After averaging over 11 points and eight rebounds, and shooting nearly 60-percent from the field, on just 18 minutes a game the recruiters were beginning to stand in line.  When Hunter followed up her efforts at the Development Festival with an even stronger senior season at Brookhaven, she found herself with choosing between the likes of Connecticut, Tennessee, Duke, Texas and Harvard. In the end, the 4.2-GPA student selected Duke University as the next step in a remarkable academic and basketball career.  

Girls Cross Country -- Amber Harper
Orem High School - Orem, Utah
"Amber Harper's consistency in winning three state titles demonstrates for young athletes that winning never gets old, and that with a consistent work ethic an athlete can reach the top and remain there," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Amber Harper as the Senior Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year." Harper won her third Utah state individual cross country championship in the fall of 2002, and led Orem High to the team title in a close 48-51 race with Mountain View High. Upon winning both the individual title and the team title, Harper's selflessness and true leadership shined in her post-race comments that focused entirely upon the team effort. "This is the happiest day of my life as a runner," Harper said to the Deseret News. "We're a lot closer as a group this year, and I knew we could do it today." Harper ended her senior cross country season with a second straight qualifying berth and another top 15 finish at the prestigious Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships. The Utah native will keep her career in state by attending Brigham Young University in the fall of 2003.  

Girls Field Hockey -- Laree Beans
Emmaus High School - Emmaus, Pennsylvania
"Laree Beans' impressive offensive numbers and leadership contributed to an ongoing tradition at one of the strongest field hockey programs in the nation," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Laree Beans as the National High School Senior Field Hockey Athlete of the Year." A three-time all-state selection, Beans led Emmaus High to state finals appearances in both her junior and senior seasons, including a state championship in 2001. As a junior and senior Beans was selected as a All-American, as she finished her prep career with a school record 105 goals and 97 assists. Named the offensive player of the year at traditionally-strong Emmaus in her sophomore and senior seasons, Beans was also the Emmaus MVP in her junior and senior seasons. She will follow in the footsteps of several other Emmaus High greats who have gone on to play collegiately at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Girls Golf -- Mandi McConnell
Grand Blanc High School -Grand Blanc, Michigan
"Mandi McConnell has put together the type of high school career that makes it clear that she has been and will continue to be a force on the women's golf scene," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to name Mandi McConnell it's National High School Senior Girls Golf Athlete of the Year." The 2003 Michigan Miss Golf selection, McConnell averaged 73.2 strokes per round her senior season in winning the state championship. McConnell's title came after two runner-up finishes and one third-place award at the state championships. McConnell broke several records throughout her career, including a 38-year mark at Flint Junior Golf, and LPGA star Kelly Robbins' record for lowest round ever at the Davison Invitational. McConnell also played on the Power-Bilt Tour and posted 27 wins, while receiving the Player of the Year Award in three consecutive years.  

Girls Soccer -- Heather O'Reilly
East Brunswick High School - East Brunswick, New Jersey
"Very few athletes are so dominant on the high school level that they can make an immediate impact collegiately or even internationally, but Heather O'Reilly is clearly one of those athletes," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to recognize Heather O'Reilly as the National High School Senior Girls Athlete of the Year." O'Reilly has completed a virtual clean sweep by winning at least four national player of the year awards following her senior season at East Brunswick High. During her career at East Brunswick, O'Reilly scored 136 goals in four prep seasons. Already a member of the United States National Team at age 18, O'Reilly she scored 21 goals and had 13 assists while leading the U.S. under-19 squad to a world championship in summer of 2002. The 5-foot 4-inch forward will play collegiate sooccer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Softball -- Lisa Dodd
University City High School - San Diego, California
"Lisa Dodd has concluded what can only be termed a remarkable high school career," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to be honoring her as its senior softball athlete of the year." Dodd, who played for Mira Mesa High School until her senior season, capped a tremendous prep career by leading University City to the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section Division III title. Previously Dodd had led Mira Mesa to a pair of Division II titles. The championships are the greatest team reward possible for softball in California, a state that does not yet sponsor an overall state championship tournament. In her entire prep career, Dodd pitched in nine playoff games and never allowed a single run. During her senior season she was 16-2 as a pitcher with a .16 ERA, striking out 204 batters and walking just 18. Additionally, Dodd set several hitting records during her career, including 224 career hits, 62 single-season hits as a senior, and 17 home runs, also as a senior. Dodd will take a 3.2 GPA and 1,210 SAT to UCLA next season to continue her academic and athletic careers.  

Girls Swimming -- Kara Lynn Joyce
Pioneer High School - Ann Arbor, Michigan
"Kara Lynn Joyce has put together the type of high school career that makes it clear that she has been and will continue to be a force on the women's swimming scene," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to name Kara Lynn Joyce its National High School Senior Girls Golf Athlete of the Year." Joyce capped a remarkable prep career by setting national records and winning Michigan state championships in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races. She set national standards by swimming 22.04 for the 50-yard sprint and 48.59 in the 100-yard event. A member of the 2002 U.S. National Junior Team, Joyce will also represent the United States at the 2003 Pan-American Games. She will attend the University of Georgia to further her academic and swimming careers.     

Girls Tennis -- Anne Yelsey
Corona del Mar High School - Newport Beach, California
"Anne Yelsey has continually enjoyed enormous success on both the singles and doubles tennis scene," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Anne Yelsey as the National High School Senior Girls Tennis Athlete of the Year." Yelsey will continue here academic and athletic endeavors at Stanford University after closing out a high school career that seems to have put her directly in the center of the national tennis scene. A two-time doubles champion at the USTA Supernational Clay Court Championships, Yelsey also won the doubles title at the USTA Girls' 18 National Hard Court Championship with Riza Zalameda. Yelsey also holds the singles and doubles titles at the Easter Bowl Girls' 18 Championship.  

Girls Track and Field -- Allyson Felix
Los Angeles Baptist High School - Los Angeles, California
"There are very few athletes that come along in any sport with the talent and drive that Allyson Felix demonstrates on the track," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Allyson Felix as the National High School Senior Girls Track Athlete of the Year." The California state champion in the 100-meter dash the past three years, and the champion in the 200-meters as a junior and senior, Felix has achieved well beyond even her outstanding prep accomplishments. With at time of 22.11 at the Grand Prix banamex in Mexico City this spring, Felix has announced that she is ready to compete with anyone in the world. Running times that are besting marks set by legendary runners like Marion Jones, it appears only a matter of time before the entire world, track fans or not, will know Allyson Felix as a household name.  

Girls Volleyball -- Kristin Richards
Timpanogos High School - Orem, Utah
"Kristin Richards has been setting the standard for youth volleyball players across the nation for several years now," said NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro. "For this reason, the NHSCA is proud to honor Kristin as the National High School Senior Volleyball Athlete of the Year." A four-time all-state player in her home state of Utah, Richards also received numerous national awards throughout her prep career. A two-time All-American, the recipient of several player of the year honors nationally, this team captain led her squad to a state championship as a senior. Richards has also represented the U.S. for the past three summers on national teams, ever since being selected captain of the 2000 U.S. National Youth Team. She will continue her academic and athletic careers at Stanford University.

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