What qualities make an athlete great?
It’s a debate that has raged for decades among fans and sportswriters. Everyone has their idea.
As The Advocate prepares to honor many of the area’s top athletes, including its 2014-15 Boys Athlete of the Year and Girls Athlete of the Year, the debate will no doubt continue.
There will be familiar faces on hand for the The Advocate’s 30th Athlete of the Year/Star of Stars banquet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the LHSAA office.
Kara Gremillion of St. Amant and Jazz Ferguson of West Feliciana, the 2013-14 winners, help lead this year’s group of finalists.
Catholic High’s Colin Bone and Nick Brossette of University High are the other boys finalists. U-High’s Destiny Ephrom and Janie O’Connor of Zachary complete the list of girls finalists.
“It’s always one of the highlights of our year,” The Advocate’s Executive Sports Editor Joseph Schiefelbein said of the annual banquet. “We celebrate the best of best, not only with our Athletes of the Year but also with the Star of Stars winners.
“These athletes reflect just how good high school sports in the Baton Rouge area are. I’ve been involved in this for more than 20 years, and it’s always very difficult to select who the Athlete of the Year winners will be.
“When you’re at the banquet it’s amazing to listen to the accomplishments of all the athletes when they’re introduced. They not only excel in athletics, but they’re dealing with school and just being teenagers. That’s not easy, and it’s also a credit to their coaches and their families.”
Ferguson, an LSU football signee, was once again a four-sport athlete. He earned all-state honors in football as a wide receiver and was an All-District 7-3A selection in basketball. Ferguson also was a Class 3A runner-up in the long jump at last weekend’s LHSAA State Track meet and was fourth in the triple jump. He batted over .300 in baseball.
Brossette and Bone represent the other portion of the athlete debate. Both are standouts in one sport. Bone, a junior at Catholic, has never lost a race at the LHSAA’s Division I State Swim meet. He has set multiple state records, breaking the record in one event four times in the past two years and has earned automatic All-America honors to help Catholic win multiple team titles.
Records have become a specialty for Brossette, another LSU football signee. He’s been the LSWA’s Class 3A All-State MVP and The Advocate’s All-Metro MVP multiple times. Last fall he rushed for 1,833 yards and scored 31 TDs as UHS won the Division II select state title. His career rushing total of 8,704 yards is Louisiana’s best ever and so is his five-year total of 163 TDs. Brossette’s four-year rushing TDs total of 137 ranks sixth nationally.
Gremillion is best known for her softball prowess and is a Louisiana-Lafayette softball signee. Like Ferguson, she excelled in multiple sports. Gremillion was voted the district MVP for volleyball, basketball and softball. She batted .584 in softball and led the Gators to the 5A semifinals and also led the volleyball team to the Division I semifinals with 644 digs.
Ephrom was a two-sport standout for the Cubs. She was voted the District 7-3A MVP in basketball and helped the Cubs win their second straight Class 3A state title.
Ephrom was an all-district choice in volleyball for a UHS team that advanced to the Division IV semifinals.
It was titles times two for O’Connor, who led Zachary to Division I indoor and Class 5A outdoor track titles. She won two individual events at the LHSAA indoor and outdoor and posted personal bests and Louisiana’s top outdoor state meet times in two events last week. In another, she placed second but broke a composite/all classes record.