The Times’ Athletes of Year named

Posted on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

The Times is pleased to announce Taylor Boyett and B.J. Thompson as the 2013 Athletes of the Year at Lincoln County High School.

“It’s never been easy to narrow it down to one female and male student-athlete since the EVT started the award seven years ago,” said Paul Henry, sports writer and photographer for the paper. “That was the case again with this class. We are fortunate to have schools in Lincoln County where the coaches promote athletes who meet the criteria. Baylee Hammons, Holley Gray and Shy Buchanan were all outstanding student-athletes. Tradarius Christian, Riley McCown, Caleb Smith, Dylan Hudgins, Riley Malone and Matthew Beddingfield were all dedicated to their teams.

“I’m proud to live in a community that supports our athletic programs beyond compare,” Henry added, “and so they should – with a family commitment, our kids work hard developing their talents year round and deserve the best facilities and opportunities possible. We are able to offer that thanks to the hard work of the parents and support throughout the community. 

“We’re proud to add Taylor Boyett and B.J. Thompson to the class of 2013,” Henry said. “Both have displayed competitive qualities while maintaining the spirit of team play.”

Taylor Boyett

Taylor Boyett

Taylor transferred to LCHS from Sparkman High School out of Huntsville, Ala., for her senior year. That move was fortunate for Coach Troy Smith’s Lady Falcon softball program.

“Taylor’s transfer was a great surprise and blessing,” said Smith. “It’s a tough situation for a senior to make a move into a new school and athletic program her final year, and Taylor has done it with class.

“She has the personality to make that type of transition,”  the coach added. “She is a good fit – she earned the starting pitcher role and led the team batting and did it as a ‘team’ player.”

Taylor is the daughter of Andrea and Jacky Boyett.

She started playing softball at the age of 4 and began pitching at 7. At 8, she began playing travel ball. Taylor has accepted a scholarship to play softball at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., where she will study nursing.

Following the first round of District 8-AAA tournament, Taylor’s record as the starting pitcher is 23-7 with an ERA of 1.42. She was named the district’s “Most Valuable Pitcher” for the 2013 season.

She started working as a switch hitter her sophomore year and is now strong from both sides of the plate. So far in 2013, she leads the team in batting with a .446 with 62 hits, 23 RBIs, 9 doubles and 3 triples.

“I want to thank coaches Smith, Hambrick, Ferguson and my teammates for the opportunity they gave me this year,” Taylor said. “They allowed me to become a part of a successful, established program, and I’m very appreciative and thankful for that.

“I also want to thank my parents,” she added. “My dad had coached me since I was 4 – because of his work, for the first time he hasn’t been able to come to all the games, but I’ve always felt he was with me. My mom has been supportive of me through the years, and I appreciate what they have both done.”

B.J. Thompson

B.J. Thompson

Basketball standout B.J. Thompson is the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year at LCHS.

B.J. is the son of Bennie and Dorthea Thompson and comes from a large family with five siblings.

He starting playing basketball at the age of 6 in middle school and then joined Upward Bound out of Huntsville. He received All District 8-AAA honors for the 2012-13 season.

B.J. plans to further his education attending Tennessee State University with studies in business and nursing.

“B.J. is the most unassuming ‘star’ I’ve ever been around,” said Coach Chad Tipps. “He had many highlights on the court. He scored a lot of points and got a lot of rebounds, blocked shots and had quite a few exciting dunks and did it with the thing that sets B.J. apart from most successful athletes – he always kept the same good attitude his entire career.

“He practiced hard every day no matter how great he played the night before,” Tipps added. “In other words, B.J. never became ‘too good’ to keep working hard. B.J. earned the utmost respect from his teammates. I believe our seniors and team took on that attitude elevating the program.

“It was truly a joy to coach this team, and B.J. is one of those players coaches dream about,” he added. “I’ll certainly always appreciate the things he did for this basketball program.”

Falcon basketball won its first District 8-AAA tournament title since 1996 in 2013. B.J. led the scoring for LCHS, averaging just under 19 points per game, shooting 63% from the floor. He averaged 8 rebounds per game and had 74 steals. In 8 of 10 regular season district games, B.J. had double/doubles.

“I want to thank my family and brothers and sisters for their support,” B.J. said. “Also Coach Tipps, Hardin and the community for their support as well. We became tight as a team, and I couldn’t have asked for better teammates. It was an exciting year – I was especially proud the way the community came together during the tournament to support Falcon basketball.”

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Skylar McDonald

Skylar McDonald

The Elk Valley Times is honored to announce Skylar McDonald and Isaiah Thompson as the 2013 Athletes of the Year at Fayetteville High School.

“The city system continues to develop its programs in a competitive District 9-A classification,” said Paul Henry, photographer and sports writer with The Times. “In their second year with juniors as their highest class offered, some sports are required to compete against schools classified in AA. But, don’t let their youth be deceiving. Their athletes compete at a high level.

“We’re pleased to have Skylar and Isaiah as Fayetteville High School’s Athletes of the Year in 2013,” added Henry. “Both have excelled in sports, raising the bar for expectations for athletics on Tiger Hill.”

Skylar, now a freshman at FHS, is the returning TSSAA A/AA girls’ State Tennis Champion from 2012, a title she captured as an eighth grader.

“We’re proud of Skylar’s accomplishments,” said Tennis Coach Jonathan Brown. “She works hard traveling and playing in 17 tournaments last year all across the Southeast.

“She finished ranked third in the 14 and under age group in the Southern Close and is now ranked in the top 50 in the 16 and under in the Southeast.

“Sometimes tennis is too easy for her,” Coach Brown added. “It would be scary to really see what her true potential is – her strength is in match situations.

“She had battled some injuries since becoming State Champion last year and is just now getting into form for hopefully another state title run. Winning the state was something that no individual had ever accomplished in Lincoln County. She has the opportunity to win 5 singles titles which no one in Tennessee has ever done.

“She’s now the one all the girls in the state want to play,” he added. “She is the hunted instead of the hunter – she deserves this honor and hopes to be holding up another state championship trophy.”

Skylar’s parents are Steve and Cynthia McDonald.

She began working with Brown at the age of 8 and began competing at 10. Coming off her A/AA State title, she received a bye from the coaches in the District 11 A/AA regular season and has a 36-2 record for games in the district tournament, defeating Chandler Adams from Middle Tennessee Christian 6-0, 6-0 in the championship.

“I want to thank my parents for their support,” Skylar said. “They’ve given up a lot to see I have the opportunity to compete across the country. The have a lot of time and money invested.

“Coach Brown has worked with me for years, and I appreciate what he does for me. Winning the state and finishing third at the Southern Close were big for me – I don’t think that would have happened without him.

“I want to thank God for the talent he has given me,” she added. “I’m fortunate to be able to play and hope to continue my education playing tennis.”

Isaiah Thompson

Isaiah Thompson

Isaiah Thompson, a junior at FHS is the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year.

He is the son of Bennie and Dorthea Thompson and brother to B.J. Thompson, the 2013 Lincoln County High School Male Athlete of the Year.

Isaiah competed well in three sports – football, basketball and soccer.

“I’m looking for a great performance from Isaiah at the linebacker position this fall,” said Tiger Football Coach Alvin Palmer. “He has always given his very best, and I have no reason to doubt that won’t continue. He’s played other sports throughout the year and represented FHS well as a team player.

“We have missed him in the weight room,” Palmer added, “but I know he will continue to work hard and do his part this summer. He’s having a fantastic spring practice, and we are all excited about varsity football on the Hill.”

In the fall of 2012, Isaiah put up some good numbers at linebacker in the Tigers’ final year of a JV program, leading with 101 tackles, 17 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 4 touchdowns from the defensive side of the ball.

In soccer, he was a midfielder and played strong under the basket as a forward in basketball. Isaiah would like to continue his education playing football and eventually have a career in Homeland Security.

“I want to thank God, my parents and all the coaches for the ability, support and what they’ve done for me through the years,” Isaiah said. “I’ve been given many opportunities in my life, and playing sports is one of the greatest. My coaches have always pushed me to be a better athlete.

“It was exciting to go 10-1 in JV football last year and to compete as well as we did in basketball,” he added. “I’m excited about my senior year and playing up to varsity levels in all sports.”

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The Elk Valley Times is pleased to announce Riverside Christian Academy’s Jessica Osier and Reagan Eldridge are recipients of the 2013 Athlete of the Year awards.

The Knights’ program is in its sixth year of varsity athletics and competes in the Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference.

In November of 2012, RCA’s football team won the Eight Man Conference Division II championship, defeating Jesus High School out of Jackson, 48-15.

“Riverside is proving successful in building athletic programs from the ground up, which is no easy task,” said Paul Henry, sports writer and photographer at The Times. “They’re putting competitive teams on the field in a variety of sports in the MTAC.

“Jessica and Reagan are long-time students of Riverside graduating this year, and we’re proud to have them as the 2013 inductees.”

Jessica Osier

Jessica Osier

Jessica is the daughter of John and Shari Osier. She began attending RCA in the third grade. In the sixth grade, she began playing on the Lady Knights’ volleyball team where she earned a starting spot at setter. Jessica has also excelled in the classroom where she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and is the valedictorian of this year’s graduating class.

“Jessica has always been a delight to coach,” said Eddie Mincher, longtime RCA volleyball coach. “She is the second person to play volleyball from the sixth grade through her senior year. Her attitude has always been great – no matter what I ask her to do, she does it with her trademark grin.”

“Her teammates unanimously voted her ‘The Best Attitude’ award for the past two years. She is the type person you want on your team, no matter the sport. I know with her positive attitude, she will do well no matter what she does.”

Jessica plans to attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville to study biology and chemistry.

“I have enjoyed attending Riverside,” Jessica said. “I feel the spiritual aspects of the school have been important in my education. One of my favorite days is ‘Spiritual Emphasis Day’ which is devoted to singing and speakers.

“I want to thank my parents for their support,” she added. “They have given me opportunities I very much appreciate.

“Also thank you to Coach Mincher for always pushing me to do my best – he’s been my only coach for the past six years, and I thank him for that commitment.”

Reagan Eldridge

Reagan Eldridge

Reagan Eldridge is the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year at Riverside Christian Academy.

Reagan is the son of Daniel and Dana Eldgridge. He began attending RCA in the first grade and is part of the 2013 graduating class. He competed well in four sports for the Knights – football, basketball, baseball and soccer. He has been awarded a scholarship to play soccer for Freed-Hardeman University.

“Reagan was a game changer for our football team,” said Coach Travis Creasy. “He made plays with his throwing ability and his feet as he displayed his years of experience at a championship level, making plays on both sides of the ball.”

“He’s been a joy to watch over the past several years,” said Soccer Coach Gabe Clements. “He lives up to the highest standards of conduct on and off the field. He leads from the front. He has done some truly great things as far as individual accomplishments. I expect him to finish in the top five goal scorers in the state and have a successful future in college.”

Reagan has had some big moments for a student-athlete from winning the state title in football to scoring 36 points in RCA’s final game of the basketball season against Tullahoma Christian.

“I want to thank my parents for their support and all my coaches for pushing me to be my best both on and off the field,” Reagan said. “I appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given here at RCA.

“I also want to thank my grandparents,” added Reagan, “Dan and Pricilla Mills and Charles and Bobbie Eldridge. They have always been there throughout my career, and I appreciate what they’ve done for me.”

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EVT Athlete of Year criteria

The criteria established for The Elk Valley Times’ Athlete of the Year Award requires that the student-athlete recognizes that wearing the uniform of his or her high school is a privilege, carrying both responsibilities and rewards; the athlete excels in effort, sportsmanship, leadership, participation and character; and the athlete realizes he or she represents the school and community on and off the playing field.

The athlete must remain in good standing and eligible during the course of the school year, based on his or her school’s standards and/or standards set by the athletic department’s governing body.

The Athlete of the Year recipient may not necessarily be the best player on the team, but rather the player who best displays all these qualities.

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