This year’s best Broward County high school athletes ruled the gridiron, the swimming pool, the basketball court and the track.
And all figure to have bright futures at the college level.
South Plantation’s Alex Collins, Boyd Anderson’s Kali Davis-White, University School’s Maquedius Bain and Westminster Academy’s Caroline Israels each won The Miami Herald’s prestigious Athlete of the Year awards Friday morning at the annual All-Broward awards banquet at the Signature Grand in Davie.
A crowd estimated around 1,000 attended the event sponsored by Doctors Hospital Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and The Orange Bowl.
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Collins won the Class 8A-6A Male Athlete of the Year award, becoming South Plantation’s sixth recipient of the award and first since former defensive tackle and wrestler Colin Cole won it in 1999. Collins, who won the Broward County rushing title as a junior, ran for over 1,200 yards this season and was a state champion in the 400-meter relay in track.
“I take this as a great accomplishment,” said Collins, who is headed to the University of Arkansas. “It feels good to be a part of my school’s tradition and I’m happy we could bring some of that back this season.”
Bain, who won the same award in the Class 5A-1A category, made history for his school as well by becoming the first Athlete of the Year winner for University School. During his career, Bain was part of the Suns’ rise to powerhouse status in football, going undefeated this season and winning the school’s first state title. He was also Broward’s Class 4A-2A Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and this season led the team to the regional finals.
“I’m honored to have this, but even more honored to be the first for my school,” said Bain, who has signed with LSU.
Israels won the Class 5A-1A Female Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. A four-sport standout during her career, Israels is only the third winner for her school — joining former Florida State University and NFL quarterback Dan Kanell (1991-92) and former basketball/softball/track star Dana Pounds (2001-02).
“All these years at Westminster Academy taught me a lot about who I can be in life,” said Israels, who will play water polo at San Diego State University. “I plan on taking all those lessons with me to college.”
Davis-White, the Class 8A-6A Female Athlete of the Year, gave Boyd Anderson consecutive seasons of having track stars win the award. Davis-White, an FSU signee, led her 400-meter relay team to the nation’s fastest time and posted the second-fastest national time in the 100 meters at the time, and ultimately a nation-leading 23.05 seconds in the 200 to shatter the state record.
Davis-White could not attend the event since she was on her way to New York to compete in the Adidas Grand Prix Dream 100.
Archbishop McCarthy’s baseball team made history Thursday night when it became the first Florida team in the sport to win four consecutive state championships. Mavericks coach Rich Bielski was honored as the Overall Boys’ Sports Coach of the Year.
Bielski has won six state titles in his career, having won two at Hialeah before becoming the coach at Archbishop McCarthy. Bielski won the same award in Miami-Dade County after his first championship at Hialeah in 2001.
Longtime St. Thomas Aquinas softball coach Bryan Baucom won the Overall Girls’ Sports Coach of the Year award. Baucom’s Raiders scored a pair of thrilling victories at the Class 7A state tournament to bring home the school’s first state title in a decade. Two of the key figures responsible — pitcher Meghan King and catcher Gwen Svekis — were named the Softball Class 8A-6A Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively.
St. Thomas Aquinas extended its streak of winning The Miami Herald’s All-Sports Trophy to 33 consecutive years. The award, which honors the top overall program in the county, went to the Raiders for Classes 8A-6A as did the Boys’ and Girls’ Major Sports Trophies. St. Thomas won five state championships this season including a seventh all-time title in football.
American Heritage notched a sweep of all three All-Sports awards for Classes 5A-1A. The Patriots won three state championships including a fourth in a row in girls’ track and field.