Jesuit's Connar Lufkin, Holy Names' Julia Lester honored as soccer's best
YBOR CITY — For the fourth time in six years a Jesuit player won the Jose Alvarez Award for best male soccer player in Hillsborough County, but Connar Lufkin might stand out among the bunch.
Jesuit coach Eric Sims called Lufkin the best Tigers player of the past 10 years.
"That's kinda crazy," Lufkin said after receiving the award Thursday night at a ceremony held at Spaghetti Warehouse. "It's humbling, really, because of all the players who've been here."
Sims pointed at Lufkin's unreal prowess in the playoffs, including nine goals this year, 17 overall. Jesuit reached the state semifinals and Lufkin had two goals in the first 20 minutes as the Tigers led nationally-ranked Ponte Vedra before falling 3-2.
The female award went to Academy of the Holy Names' Julia Lester, a University of Florida commit who was hoodwinked in order to get to the dinner Thursday.
"I was told that one member of each of the different sports was going to be here, a unity thing," she said.
Though Lester was the standout, she was recognized for never considering herself as a "star" on a Jaguars team that also reached the state semis.
Steven Alvarez is the son of the award's namesake, who passed away last year from the extremely rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Pedro Alvarez created the award in 1985 to honor soccer players who don't just exhibit great ability, but also show leadership traits as well as community service. Pedro's widow, Janet, was on hand to help honor the winners and Steven promised to carry on the tradition.
Steinbrenner's Michael Connell and Robinson's Megan Bohan were the runners-up.