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Panthers reign at spring sports awards

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Wed. May 23, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Panthers reign at spring sports awards

TAMPA  — A two-word phrase that evolved into a local refrain over the past nine months applied directly to Hillsborough County's spring sports awards ceremony Wednesday morning.

Plant dominated.

The South Tampa school, winner of three state team titles during the 2011-12 school year, was named recipient of the Vernon Korhn Award for its overall athletic performance.

The Panthers were among a host of honorees who shoehorned into the Hillsborough County School Board meeting room Wednesday in downtown Tampa to be formally recognized.

The Panthers also collected the comprehensive GPA award (3.396) for their entire sports program -- a criterion for the Korhn Award -- and had no player ejections reported during the school year. Their team titles came in football, girls tennis and girls cross country.

Seven individual award winners also were honored.

LSU-bound Chamberlain senior Bianka Bell, a .600 hitter who struck out once all season and led the Chiefs to the Class 7A state title, was presented the Jack and Barbara Thompson Softball Player of the Year Award.

Plant seniors Tristan Kaye and Natalie Franklin, both of whom own weighted GPAs above 5.0, were the male and female recipients, respectively, of the Andres Garcia Memorial tennis awards.

Kaye, a Class 4A district singles and doubles champion, was a state semifinalist at No. 1 singles. Franklin, a Mercer University signee, helped lead the Panthers to the 4A team title with championships at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles.

Hillsborough junior Jeremiah Green, who won the 3A state triple jump title and medaled in two other events, won the Bill Shields Outstanding Track Athlete Award.

Jesuit senior Ike Edwards and Chamberlain multi-sport star Andrea Aaron won the Dr. Doug Price male and female throwers awards, respectively. Edwards' 57-feet, 2.75-inch effort in the shot put was the best in the state for the season. Aaron, a state finalist in the discus and shot put, placed sixth in the 3A meet in the latter.

East Bay senior Stephanie Williams, an honor student who threw for 11,619 yards and 153 touchdowns in her four-year career, was named the Larmon Furniture Outstanding Flag Football Player of the Year award winner.

Others recognized included individual state track champions Green, Riverview junior Faith Woodard (4A high jump), Chamberlain senior Max del Monte (3A 3,200 meters) and Gaither senior Paul Barrett (3A 300 hurdles).

The Chamberlain (7A) and Durant (8A) state softball championship teams also were recognized.

The ceremony commenced with the announcement of the team GPA winners for every spring sport: Plant baseball (3.373), Plant softball (3.543), King boys track (3.294), Plant girls track (3.611), Newsome boys tennis (3.6426), Freedom girls tennis (3.897) and Newsome girls flag football (3.442).

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