BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Raymond Calais, Cecilia
Everybody knew what Cecilia was going to do offensively; the trick was figuring out how to stop it. Turns out, nobody could figure out exactly what to do with star running back Raymond Calais. Though the Bulldogs didn’t have the best season, finishing 4-7, it wasn’t any fault of Calais’. The junior finished with 2,228 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns on 254 carries. He saved what may have been his best performance for last, posting 300 yards and three touchdowns in Cecilia’s playoff loss to Landry-Walker. Calais was also a stud on the track, where he ran a 10.57-second 100-meter dash to finish third in the Class 4A state track meet. He also ran the second leg in Cecilia’s state champion 4x400 relay team.
Cole Kelley, Teurlings Catholic
There aren’t many athletes who can provide a two-sport punch quite like Kelley. The 6-foot-7 junior scored nearly 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds per game while protecting the rim at the back end of the Rebels defense. He was the unquestioned leader on a squad that made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Oh, by the way, he also is a highly sought-after quarterback who recently pledged to play at Arkansas. He led a high-flying Rebels offense to a District 5-4A championship and to the quarterfinals of the Division I playoffs. He engineered a stunning comeback against rival St. Thomas More, when the Rebels erased a 43-17 deficit midway through the third quarter with 36 unanswered points in a 56-46 win.
Jason Pellerin, Catholic-New Iberia
Pellerin was the engine that drove the Panthers’ nearly unstoppable offense. The Catholic-New Iberia quarterback accounted for 41 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards as he and the Panthers ran roughshod through the 2A ranks. With Pellerin leading a lethal option attack, Catholic-New Iberia went undefeated on its way to the Superdome before a 27-24 championship-game loss to Calvary Baptist. A twist of irony in that game? The quarterback opposite Pellerin was Shea Patterson, and they’ll both play at Ole Miss. Pellerin was a three-sport athlete at one point, but he opted not to play basketball and baseball his senior year so he could focus on football.
GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Bailey Hemphill, St. Thomas More
The Cougars have known they’ve had a good one in Hemphill for a long time. The junior is already a two-time state MVP softball player, and she committed to play softball at national powerhouse Alabama as a freshman. She hit .630 with 17 homers as a sophomore, and put up similar numbers this year as a junior. She also stepped up to be a vocal leader and a tough inside presence on a young Cougars basketball team that wound up finishing with an 8-2 record in District 5-4A play. And just for good measure, her high school basketball coach Steven Strojny said earlier this year that Hemphill is a 4.0 student who is active in her community outside of the classroom and the athletic arena.
Jasmine LeBlanc, Breaux Bridge
If the Tigers ever got down, or felt backed into a corner, they knew they had an ace up their sleeve in Jasmine LeBlanc. The 5-foot-11 senior physically dominated her opponents this season, attacking the basket seemingly at will sometimes. She averaged 21 points per game this season while leading Breaux Bridge to a perfect 11-0 district 5-4A record. The higher the stakes, the better LeBlanc played. In intense district matchups against St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic, LeBlanc shined, scoring 28 and 33 points respectively. She led her 11th seeded Breaux Bridge team to the state quarterfinals, and will play collegiately at Louisiana Tech.
Kierra Anthony, New Iberia
This season was full of lessons for New Iberia’s jitterbug senior guard. She missed 10 games to various injuries, and her team nearly sank while she couldn’t play. But as soon as her more than 20 points per game were plugged back into the lineup, the Yellow Jackets took off. They won 11 of their final 13 games, including a memorable run to the state semifinals where they lost to Walker. In addition to standing out on the court, Anthony also made use of her speed on the track, where she ran on NISH’s 4x100, 200 and 400 relay teams. Anthony has made the 5A all-state team in each of the last three years, and will join LeBlanc at Louisiana Tech.
BOYS STAR OF STARS
Jason Pellerin, Catholic-New Iberia
There was simply no stopping Pellerin during his senior season, and thus there was no stopping Catholic-New Iberia. The Panthers won every game but the championship game as Pellerin scored 41 touchdowns.
Dylan Dunford, Comeaux
The Spartans senior ran a blistering 16:35.9 three-mile race at the 5A state championship meet to finish 15th and lead Comeaux to an 11th-place team finish.
Sal Colin, Acadiana
Colin was the creative genius behind the Wreckin’ Rams offensive attack, leading the team to a state semifinal appearance.
Brennan Breaux, St. Thomas More
Breaux was a one-man wrecking crew for the Cougars’ state championship team. Not only was the LSU signee a feared hitter, but he also pitched in STM’s decisive state quarterfinal and final games, winning both.
Corey Davis, Lafayette High
Davis did it all in his senior season, whether that meant scoring, facilitating or playing lock down defense. The Louisiana-Lafayette signee led the Lions to an undefeated record in 3-5A play.
Jack Tolson, Westminster Christian
Tolson ran away from the field at this year’s Division IV state championship with a two-day total of 11-under-par 133, 12 strokes better than the runner-up. Tolson has now won the individual championship two years in a row.
Armand Duplantis, Lafayette High
Hailing from a family of pole vaulters, Duplantis may wind up the best of them all. He cleared 16-9 at this year’s 5A state championship, more than a foot higher than the runner-up.
GIRLS STAR OF STARS
Caroline Adams, St. Thomas More
Adams was the heart and soul of St. Thomas More volleyball in her career, the last three years of which ended in a state title. She’ll play college volleyball at Ole Miss.
Hannah Bourque, St. Thomas More
The Cougars senior turned in a third-place finish at the 4A state meet with a time of 19:37.8. Her rapid race vaulted STM to its first-ever state championship.
Monique Hundley, Acadiana
Hundley, a Georgia State signee, led the Wreckin’ Rams to the second round of the Division I state soccer playoffs and recently returned from a soccer trip to Holland with the Region III Olympic Development Team.
Ashailee Brailey, Vermilion Catholic
Brailey averaged 24 points per game to lead the Eagles to a runner-up finish in Class 1A. She earned first-team all-state honors for the third consecutive year.
Abby Trahan, Kaplan
The junior pitcher did it all for Kaplan during its run to the 3A title game. She combined a two-run homer with throwing a complete-game two-hitter in the quarterfinals, and she nearly accomplished the exact same feat in the championship game loss to John Curtis.
Emily Lucas, Notre Dame
The Lady Pios took home the Division II girls golf state title this season thanks to a strong effort from Lucas, who had the best score of any area player in the tournament, finishing seventh overall.
Samantha Withers, Episcopal of Acadiana
Withers, just an eighth-grader, dominated her competition at the class B state track meet. She was named the girls most outstanding performer after winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs and also running the third leg on ESA’s 4x400 state champion relay team.