There are two typical sides to the debate about which athletes are the best.
Is it the competitor who focuses on just one sport and performs at a very high level?
Or is it the athlete who excels in multiple sports?
The Advocate’s Athlete of the Year finalists for 2016 add another layer to the debate.
Catholic High swimmer Colin Bone and a pair of two-sport athletes, Episcopal’s Christopher Beckman Jr. and Briggs Bourgeois, are the boys finalists.
Multisport athletes Nicky Dawson of Parkview Baptist and Kourtney Gremillion of St. Amant are girls finalists, along with Zachary track competitor Janie O’Connor.
“If you want to know how big a night this is for us, go back and look at the names of our past winners,” said Perryn Keys, The Advocate’s assistant sports editor. “You’ll see the names of athletes who went on to become famous — not just nationwide, but worldwide. “That’s the beauty of this event. You don’t just get to appreciate all our athletes for what they’ve done already. One day, when the rest of the world gets to know their names, you get to say you saw them way back when.”
The winners of the Athlete of the Year awards will be announced during a banquet set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the LHSAA office.
The Advocate also will honor its Star of Stars selections in 15 high school sports during the festivities.
Bone was a finalist last year and is an Auburn signee. He finished his career with a 16-0 in LHSAA Division I/Class 5A state swim meets and holds five composite/all classes state meet records. Bone also has qualified for this summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles.
Beckman was a baseball and basketball standout. He is a Nicholls State baseball signee. As a senior, Beckman led the Knights to the Class 2A quarterfinals in both sports. He has already earned All-Metro and all-state honors in basketball. Baseball honors are pending.
Bourgeois in the lone junior among the boys finalists. He earned All-Metro honors in football and soccer. In addition to being one of the nation’s top kicker prospects for 2017, Bourgeois also ranked among the area leaders as a wide receiver.
O’Connor was a girls finalist as a sophomore and added to her list of credentials by leading the Broncos to Division I indoor and Class 5A outdoor state titles again this year. She ran the nation’s seventh fastest time indoors and outdoors in the 400 meters.
Dawson is an LSU softball signee and a finalist for the MaxPreps National Player of the Year award. She led the Eagles to a No. 1 playoff seeding and the semifinals in Class 3A.
In her first track season, Dawson placed first in Division II in the indoor 60-meter dash and then won the District 6-3A title in the 100 meters before a season-ending injury.
Gremillion is a Louisiana-Lafayette softball signee and is the sister of UL-Louisiana softball player Kara Gremillion, who won The Advocate’s Girls Athlete of the Year the past two years.
Kourtney Gremillion was voted the East MVP in Saturday’s LHSCA All-Star softball game and led the Gators to the 5A quarterfinals. Gremillion also helped SAHS advance to the Division I/Class 5A quarterfinals in volleyball.