It was time for an encore. Make that an encore times two.
Kara Gremillion of St. Amant High and Jazz Ferguson of West Feliciana High won the Athlete of the Year awards for the second straight year, highlighting The Advocate’s 30th Star of Stars/Athlete of the Year banquet Wednesday night at the LHSAA office.
“I put it across Twitter that I was nervous about it (awards ceremony),” Ferguson said. “I wouldn’t say this year was tougher for me as an athlete. It was about competing. It was important for me to have better stats … do everything better than I did last year.
“I know I’ll remember the big (football) games … U-High and Livonia. This means a lot. I looked down the list and didn’t see repeat winners. I think there are only three and (Gremillion) is one of the others.”
Ferguson, an LSU football signee, and Gremillion, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette softball signee, are only the second and third repeat winners of the annual award that dates back 1986.
Parkview Baptist’s Kate Ripple Cramer, who won the girls award in 2000 and 2001, is the only other repeat winner.
Gremillion offered a contrasting point of view.
“I wasn’t really nervous about tonight,” Gremillion said. “It was an honor to just be picked again. I wasn’t expecting to win it again.
“It’s really hard to put all this into words. It’s very humbling being around all these great athletes, and then to win it is amazing. This is my senior year, and it’s the last high school honor I’ll go out with. It’s special.”
University High’s Destiny Ephrom and and Zachary High’s Janie O’Connor were the other girls finalists. Colin Bone of Catholic High and University’s Nick Brossette were the other finalists.
The Advocate sports staff also honored the Star of Stars in 15 high school sports as part of its annual event. A guest speaker, 1990 Athlete of the Year winner Danielle Scott-Arruda, offered an added attraction.
The former Woodlawn High standout, a five-time volleyball Olympian and two-time silver medalist, told the athletes on hand to strive to be better not just as athletes, but also in all facets of their lives.
Gremillion and Ferguson certainly followed the lead of Scott-Arruda, a multi-sport standout at WHS.
Ferguson found ways to excel in four sports. He earned LSWA Class 3A All-State honors in football as a wide receiver but also played linebacker and running back to help the Saints advance to the Class 3A semifinals.
Ferguson was an All-District 7-3A choice in basketball and placed second in the long jump during the Class 3A portion of the LHSAA Outdoor Track Championships. He also hit .318 in baseball.
Gremillion completed an almost unheard of triple play. She was voted the district MVP in all three sports she competed in — volleyball, basketball and softball. A defensive specialist is rarely voted MVP in volleyball but Gremillion was as she helped the Gators advance to the Division I semifinals. She also led the SAHS softball team to a 27-1 record and berth in the 5A semifinals.
There were other milestones to note. Catholic’s Bone become the first swimmer to be voted a finalist since Shelly Ripple Johnson won the award in 1998. Tennis player Cameron Andry of St. Michael the Archangel was a four-time Star of Stars winner who compiled a perfect 66-0 record during his high school career.