Cameras were snapping pictures at rapid speeds Wednesday morning at Jungle Island.
The families of Miami-Dade County’s best feverishly tried to capture their relative’s special moment on stage during the Miami Herald’s annual All-Dade Awards breakfast presented by The Orange Bowl.
The event, attended by roughly 1,200 people, honored athletes and coaches in 18 sports with Player and Coach of the Year Awards.
One of the best girls’ basketball players in Miami-Dade County history, a state-record-setting pole vaulter and two Football Bowl Subdivision-level players comprised the top honorees who highlighted the prestigious group — this year’s Athletes of the Year.
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Miami High’s Beatrice Mompremier, a Baylor University signee, racked up numerous honors during her senior season, including McDonald’s All-American and Miss Florida Basketball. The Stingarees’ 6-4 senior center led Miami High to its second consecutive state championship this past season averaging 27 points per game and 16 rebounds per game, and was part of its three consecutive trips to state.
Mompremier, who also won Class 8A-6A Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year honors, is the first female Athlete of the Year ever for Miami High and third overall. It’s the Stingarees’ first since Sedrick Irvin won in 1996.
“I’m defeinitely honored to win this,” Mompremier said. “It was a great ride in Miami High and with coach [Sam Baumgarten] helping me become a better athlete.”
Ransom Everglades track and field and swimming star Nati Sheppard secured the Girls’ Class 5A-1A Athlete of the Year honors. Sheppard, a Duke University signee, was a first-team All-Dade swimmer and set the state meet record this month in the pole vault — an event she has excelled in her entire prep career. She also was a state qualifier in the high jump and helped her team finish third at state.
“I was a little surprised I won because there were so many great nominees,” Sheppard said. “I started crying when I set that state record. I was so happy.”
Miami Northwestern cornerback and track sprinter Deandre Baker earned the Athlete of the Year honors for Class 8A-6A. Baker, a U.S. Army All-American who is headed to Georgia, was part of a state championship track relay team. Baker became the second honoree in the category for Northwestern in the past three seasons, joining Artie Burns, who is now at the University of Miami.
“I want to thank God first off because not many people get this award,” Baker said. “To live up to this is a huge accomplishment for me.”
Gulliver Prep junior Joseph Jackson was one of the top defensive ends in the county this season and one of the top rebounders in basketball. This earned Jackson the Class 5A-1A Athlete of the Year award. Jackson is the first boys’ winner of the award at Gulliver since Anthony Leon in 2006.
“Next year, I hope I can come back and do this again, but the goal is to lead my team to a championship,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have a great chance in football.”
After leading his team to its second state girls’ basketball championship in a row and a No. 3 national ranking by USA Today, Miami Country Day coach Ochiel Swaby won Girls’ Sports Overall Coach of the Year honors. Swaby, who also won the Class 4A-2A Coach of the Year award, is still the Dade single-season scoring record holder.
Miami Country Day had another first Wednesday as it won the Girls’ Class 5A-1A Major Sports Award after that stellar basketball season and a state semifinals appearance in soccer.
The Boys’ Sports Overall Coach of the Year award went to Gulliver Prep soccer coach Matias Asorey, who led the Raiders to back-to-back state championships. Asorey is only the fourth coach in Dade history to win multiple state titles and only the second coach to win state titles at two schools, joining former Sunset and Killian coach Jay Flipse.
Coral Reef’s successful overall season, which included appearances at the state final four in girls’ volleyball and softball, took home both the Class 8A-6A All-Sports trophy and Girls’ Major Sports trophy.
Ransom Everglades won the Class 5A-1A All-Sports trophy also for the second consecutive season after a state-title season in water polo and winning records in several sports.
Booker T. Washington took home the Boys’ Class 5A-1A Major Sports trophy anchored mainly by its state-champion football team that extended its winning streak to 41 games. Columbus, which reached the state championship game in football and the final four in baseball, won the Class 8A-6A Boys’ Major Sports trophy.