East Ascension strength and conditioning coach Keragan McCready and Parkview Baptist softball player Nicky Dawson each claimed significant honors.

Dawson and St. Thomas More baseball standout O’Neal Lochridge received the inaugural Louisiana Softball and Baseball Player of the Year awards from Marucci Sports.

McCready and the Spartans were awarded the Strength of America Award from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. McCready was cited for improving EAHS in terms of supervision, education, program and facilities. The award will be presented next month in Orlando, Florida.

“This is a really big deal, not only for coach McCready but for our school,” said Paul Bourgeois EA’s athletic director and football coach. “He’s the only coach in Louisiana to get this award.”

Dawson and Lochridge were announced as Marucci’s winners Wednesday.

“We are proud to highlight two of our state’s top high school players who exemplified how to honor the game right in our backyard,” Marucci co-founder and CEO Kurt Ainsworth said in a news release. “O’Neal and Nicky have both had terrific seasons.”

Lochridge, an LSU signee, led the Cougars to their second-straight 4A state championship and was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A Outstanding Player.

A shortstop, Lochridge batted .454 with 12 home runs, 53 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.

Dawson, an LSU commitment, set school records in batting average (.602), hits (74), triples (14), on-base percentage (.660), runs (76) and stolen bases (59).

Mourning Keaton

James Keaton, who coached football at a number of local schools during a 39-year career, died last weekend.

Keaton helped coach Baton Rouge High to a state football title in 1964. In 1971, Keaton claimed Coach of the Year honors after leading Lee High to the district title. Later in his career, Keaton served as a coordinator at East Ascension.

NFHS convention

The 96th National Federation of State High School Associations Summer Meeting begins Sunday at the New Orleans Marriott. The five-day event ends Thursday.

Meetings and seminars are part of the event that will attract more than 900 representatives from high school associations from across the nation.

John Curtis football coach J.T. Curtis is part of a 12-person induction class for the NFHS Hall of Fame at 2 p.m. July 2.

Topics at the 60 workshops include emerging sports and activities, promoting positive academic impact of participation in activities, social media marketing and technology, components of successful spirit programs, challenges with transfer rules, promoting education-based athletics, branding, public/private classification issues and working with state governments and legal issues.