The night didn’t end up going as originally planned, but it was still special for those recognized with Kentucky Super Preps awards.

Instead of an in-person event at SKyPAC on May 12 as originally scheduled, the third annual Kentucky Super Preps awards banquet, sponsored by the Daily News and presented by Med Center Health, was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday on WDNZ TV11 and on the Bowling Green Daily News, Kentucky Super Preps and Med Center Health Facebook pages to honor the area’s top student-athletes.

“With all the uncertainty associated to the pandemic and social issues that we’ve experienced in 2020, there’s never been a time when coming together has been more important than it is now,” event organizer and host Larry Jobe said to open the program. “It is vital that we do not lose sight of our blessings and that we engage in celebrations of what is good.”

Encore presentations of the video, produced by Vid Monster Productions, will be shown at 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

One student-athlete from every KHSAA-sanctioned sport at each of the 13 schools in the Barren River Area Development District could be nominated by their coach to be the Kentucky Super Preps Athlete of the Year in their respective sport. Each student-athlete nominated must have a 3.0 GPA or better and have a minimum of 10 hours of community service or volunteer work in order to be nominated by the coach.

“All of our nominees met those qualifications and, in our eyes, they’re all truly Kentucky Super Preps,” Jobe said. “There were over 300 nominations that our selection committee had to consider and evaluate. We’d like to thank the group of volunteer committee members that took the time to consider each nomination.

“While there can only be one winner in each classification, we’re sincerely honored to say if you’re nominated, you’re a Kentucky Super Prep. You’re part of an elite group of the best student-athletes in the BRADD district and in our state.”

Following the national anthem, the first guest speaker – Cameron Mills – addressed the audience. Mills is a former Kentucky basketball player known for “The Shot Heart Round the Bluegrass.” It was followed by “Music City Miracle” hero Kevin Dyson delivering the keynote speech from Nissan Stadium about taking advantage of the time you have.

“Here you are as Kentucky Super Preps – a young audience, young kids going off to do bigger and better things – and yet, there’s going to be a moment where you have an opportunity to inspire, you have an opportunity to engage in something far bigger than yourself,” Dyson said. “Are you going to take that opportunity? Or are you going to let time pass you by?”

The award presentations began following Dyson’s speech, with Zac Lechler, D.G. Sherrill, Kelsey Sparks and Jay Hardison taking home top honors.

Lecher was named the Coach of the Year, after leading Greenwood to a 23-2-3 record and the program’s first-ever girls’ soccer state championship.

Sherrill was named the Athletic Director of the Year for his work at Bowling Green. The Purples saw success in several sports in the 2019-20 academic year, highlighted by a return to the state semifinals from the school’s historically strong football team. The Purples also saw successful seasons in other sports, like girls’ basketball, which won the Region 4 title before the season was canceled, boys’ basketball, which advanced to the region final, swimming, which won its 15 consecutive region title and cross country, where Lexie Paszkiewicz won an individual region title. Bowling Green has also undergone several upgrades to its athletic venues, leading the to Mid-South Conference basketball tournaments being played at Bowling Green Arena.

Sparks and Hardison claimed the Overall Girls’ Student-Athlete of the Year award and the Overall Boys’ Student-Athlete of the Year award, which both come with a $500 scholarship.

Sparks, a senior at Warren East this season, was a member of the basketball and softball teams, had a 4.0 GPA, over 27 hours of community service and was a member of leadership team. She had over 700 hours of volunteer services in four years while also excelling in athletics. Sparks averaged 6.2 points this winter in the Lady Raiders’ 18-11 season, which saw a return to the Region 4 Tournament for the first time since 2008. Sparks’ softball season never got started because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but expectations were in place for the Lady Raiders to compete for a third straight region title.

Hardison was a key piece in Logan County’s successful 2019-20 basketball season, which ended at 28-4 in the Region 4 semifinals. The senior averaged 13.3 points for the Cougars while shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range. He is an active member of his church and youth group, completes numerous volunteer activities and maintains a high GPA.

Numerous other specialty awards were given out, as listed below:

  • Heart and Desire Award: Hannah Doyle, Barren County
  • Extra Mile Award: Caelan Rajan, Glasgow
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Jaden Franklin, Glasgow
  • Sportsmanship Award: Taylor Burden, Butler County
  • Community Excellence Award: Carly Bush, Franklin-Simpson
  • Academic Excellence Award: Evan Spader, Bowling Green

One Student-Athlete in each sport was chosen as that sports Kentucky Super Preps Athlete of the Year, with those winners listed below:

  • Volleyball: Nevaeh DeArmond, Logan County
  • Boy’s Bowling: Brandon Howard, South Warren
  • Girls’ Bowling: Alexia Barnes, Warren Central
  • Girls’ Archery: Morgan Meyer, South Warren
  • Boys’ Archery: Ryan Brown, South Warren
  • Girls’ Soccer: Haley McGee, South Warren
  • Boys’ Soccer: Jackson McDaniel, Warren East
  • Boys’ Tennis: Dalton Ground, Warren East
  • Girls’ Tennis: Ella Burch, Allen County-Scottsville
  • Baseball: Gram Humphrey, Russellville
  • Softball: Reagan Fletcher, Greenwood
  • Boys’ Cross Country: Bosco Tuyisenge, Warren Central
  • Girls’ Cross Country: Chesney McPherson, Barren County
  • Girls’ Track and Field: Emma Steff, Warren East
  • Boys’ Track and Field: Cade Johnson, Logan County
  • Cheerleading: Chloe Milliken, Bowling Green
  • Dance: Emma McLeod, South Warren
  • Boys’ Golf: Drew Richardson, Glasgow
  • Girls’ Golf: Maddie Hall, Franklin-Simpson
  • Bass Fishing: Brooke Powell, Logan County
  • Girls’ Swimming: Lauren Witt, Glasgow
  • Boys’ Swimming: Dawson Deel, Butler County
  • Boys’ Basketball: Parker Williams, Greenwood
  • Girls’ Basketball: Lauren Ballance, Edmonson County
  • Football: Tristan Blake, Logan County

“Kentucky Super Preps is not about wining or losing. All of our nominees have earned the title of Kentucky Super Prep for their sport at their respective school,” Jobe said. “They’re all winners. They’re all individuals we are proud to have an association with.”{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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