The Miami Herald All-Dade Scholar-Athlete Awards

Paul Hunter Clark, Norland teammates earn All-County honors

 

Paul Hunter Clark was among the many members of Norland High School recognized with All-Dade honors from The Miami Herald.

Special to The Miami Herald

Paul Hunter Clark’s mother instilled the importance of schoolwork early on in her son’s life.

Working in academics at the University of Miami, she spent time helping at-risk student-athletes who were on probation find their way.

Her son, a senior offensive lineman this year at Miami Norland High School, earned a 5.0 weighted GPA, 2060 SAT and 31 ACT score.

In the fall, he will head to the University of South Florida where he will study engineering and play for the football team.

“I definitely didn’t want to be one of those athletes,” Clark said. “It’s just one of those things I had to be successful in school and it would transfer over to the field. It’s just a lot of hard work.”

Clark, who was named 2011-2012 All-Dade Boys’ Scholar-Athlete, was just one of Norland’s big winners Friday morning as Doctors Hospital Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine brought The Miami Herald All-Dade Athletic Awards presented by the Orange Bowl.

Ransom Everglades’ Jamie Halula earned the All-Dade Girls’ Scholar-Athlete award, after receiving a pair of All-County honors in softball. She ranks in the top 10 of her class with a 4.25 GPA and a 34 on the ACT.

Boys’ major trophy

Norland collected the Class 8A-5A Boys’ Major Trophy thanks to its state championships in both football and boys’ basketball, the latter of which captured its third state title in the past seven seasons.

It marked the first time in South Florida that a school won state championships in boys’ basketball and football in the same school year, and only the fourth in state history since 1963.

On the gridiron, the Vikings finished as the nation’s seventh-ranked team by ESPN.com en route to its first undefeated season and the Class 5A title.

Daryle Heidelburg, the Coach of the Year for Male Sports, led his alma mater in its historic season during his third year.

Athlete of the Year

The Class 8A-6A Athlete of the Year went to the team’s offensive playmaker, Randy “Duke” Johnson, who rushed for 2,087 yards and a county-high 29 touchdowns.

Johnson scored five touchdowns in the state final, meriting Most Valuable Player. He rushed for 375 yards in the state semifinal against Bradenton Palmetto.

His record-breaking stats helped make him an easy choice for Mr. Florida Football, which is given annually by the Florida Diary Farmers Association to the state’s top overall football player.

Currently enrolled at the University of Miami where he will play for the football team, Johnson is one of 15 student-athletes from the team to sign college scholarships.

“We definitely had a historic season this year,” Heidelburg said. “I guess coming off of last season when we lost the state championship game the kids just knew exactly what it took to get back and what it takes to win.”

Local effort

Last month, Norland and the surrounding Miami Gardens neighborhood held a parade to celebrate the school’s achievements in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Norland also went from an F to C school in the FCAT.

“Local businesses want to help out and support,” Heidelburg said. “We didn’t have these things before. It’s bringing everyone closer to together.”

The Vikings have now won seven state championships combined in football and boys’ and girls’ basketball over the past decade, which is more than any other Miami-Dade County school during that span. There have also been five runner-up finishes.

“We need to continue to get better academically and athletically,” 10-year athletic director Ira Fluitt said. “The championships on the wall right now are history. There’s no need to talk about those now. We need to find a way to continue to add to those championships.

“We are striving to go beyond. We’re pleased with what we have, but now this is in the past. We have to continue to get better.”

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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