High School Sports

Multi-sport star wins state title soon after earning top honors at All-Dade awards

Priscilla Hernandez won the Athlete of the Year trophy on Wednesday morning because Westminster Christian’s senior three-sport star was busy in Vero Beach helping the Warriors win the Class 4A state softball championship.
Priscilla Hernandez won the Athlete of the Year trophy on Wednesday morning because Westminster Christian’s senior three-sport star was busy in Vero Beach helping the Warriors win the Class 4A state softball championship. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Priscilla Hernandez wasn’t there to accept her Athlete of the Year trophy on Wednesday morning.

Westminster Christian’s senior three-sport star had a good excuse for her absence.

Hernandez was busy in Vero Beach helping the Warriors win the Class 4A state softball championship.

It was ok, though.

Her sister, Saskia, a fellow All-Dade volleyball player had it covered.

“I’ll take it to her,” Saskia said as she walked on stage holding a cardboard cut-out of a picture of her sister’s face.

Hernandez, who is headed to the University of Miami to play volleyball, was one of the four Athletes of the Year crowned by the Miami Herald on Wednesday morning at the annual All-Dade awards banquet held at Jungle Island.

The event, sponsored by Miami Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute Baptist Health South Florida, The Orange Bowl, and the Miami Marlins, drew an audience of 1,299 and named Players and Coaches of the Year across 18 high school sports.

Hernandez was joined in the Athlete of the Year winners group by Coral Reef’s Rayquel Berry (Classes 9A-6A), Belen Jesuit’s Don Chaney, Jr. (Classes 9A-6A) and Miami Christian’s Neftali Alvarez (Classes 5A-1A).

Berry, the top scorer in the county in girls’ soccer and one of the best track sprinters and triple jumpers, became the first Athlete of the Year in Coral Reef’s school history.

For Chaney, it was back-to-back years on stage as he also won the award as a freshman. A star running back and state champion high jumper at Belen, Chaney is being recruited by several top college football programs.

Alvarez, a two-time state champion and Player of the Year in Class 5A-2A boys’ basketball, announced at the banquet he had committed to Division-I Fairfield University in New York.

Hernandez also took home Co-Player of the Year honors in girls’ volleyball sharing the distinction with Riviera Prep’s Aryanah Diaz.

Roughly an hour after the ceremony ended, Hernandez was celebrating as Westminster Christian won its second consecutive state softball title, which secured the school the Class 5A-1A Girls’ Major Sports Trophy (awarded to the school with the top performances in five major sports – volleyball, softball, soccer, basketball and track).

The 9A-6A and 5A-1A Boys’ Major Sports Trophies, awarding excellence in football, basketball, baseball, track, wrestling and soccer, will not be announced until after the baseball season has concluded.

For the first time in school history, Doral Academy won the 9A-6A All-Sports Trophy, which acknowledges overall excellence across all 18 sports. The Firebirds, whose baseball team will compete at the state baseball finals next week in Fort Myers, won a state basketball title this year and has winning records in double-digit sports including football.

Gulliver Prep, highlighted by a state title in swimming and multiple winning seasons, secured the 5A-1A All-Sports Trophy.

The Herald also honored two student-athletes with its Leo Suarez/Walter Krietsch Courage Award, awarded annually to individuals who exhibited extraordinary courage in overcoming adversity.

These year’s recipients were Homestead’s Isaac Lipscomb and Braddock’s Carydad Bolivar.

Lipscomb, a former football player for the Broncos, survived a car accident two years ago that claimed the lives of two of his friends and left him paralyzed from the waist down. Lipscomb has since taken on adaptive track and field and earlier this month won three state championships in wheelchair events after becoming the first Dade athlete to compete in the sport.

Bolivar, a three-time All-Dade first team softball standout and Broward College signee, persevered despite being afflicted with Auto Immune Atrophic Gastritis as a child. The rare disease typically afflicts adults over 50, but Bolivar was diagnosed when she was six years old and underwent intensive treatment that helped her survive. She has since gone on to become one of the best softball and volleyball players in the county.

The Herald also honored Ferguson High athletic director Kelvin Justice with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Justice is retiring after 36 years in education in Dade, which included 16 years as a coach in multiple sports.

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