Star Texas High School quarterback Cade Klubnik repeated as national Offensive Football Player of the Year during the 2022 USA TODAY High School Sports Awards show, which debuted July 31.
Klubnik wrapped up his career at Westlake High School with three Texas 6A state championships and zero losses. The 6-foot-3 quarterback more than lived up to the hype in his senior year, proving once again why he’s currently enrolled at Clemson and was ranked as the No. 1 QB recruit for the Class of 2022. He accounted for 3,722 scrimmage yards and 55 total touchdowns, while completing 71% of his passes.
Klubnik graduated as Westlake’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, topping a list that includes Super Bowl MVPs Nick Foles and Drew Brees. He was one of three finalists for the Offensive Football Player of the Year award. The others were offensive tackle Zach Rice, a senior from Liberty Christian Academy in Virginia; and running back Nicholas Singleton, a senior from Governor Mifflin High School in Pennsylvania.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Offensive Football Player of the Year!
The USA Today High School Sports Awards is the largest high school sports recognition program in the country. Over 800 athletes were honored and winners for 29 sports and other special awards were announced during the show, which was hosted by former NFL tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis.
Here is a full rundown of the event’s other award winners and finalists:
DEFENSIVE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Walter Nolen III, Powell High School (Tennessee), senior
Why he won: USA TODAY’s No. 1 overall recruit for the Class of 2022, Nolen doubled down this fall when he joined the nation’s top recruiting class at Texas A&M. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle racked up 14 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. The transfer from St. Benedict in Memphis helped Powell High School cap a special season with a 13-2 overall record and Class 5A state championship.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Defensive Football Player of the Year!
Finalists: Travis Hunter, Collins Hill High School (Georgia), senior; Shawn Murphy, Unity Reed High School (Virginia), senior
GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Kiki Rice, Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.), senior
Why she won: UCLA’s highest-ranked basketball recruit ever, Rice’s resume includes prestigious honors such as MaxPreps National Athlete of the Year, McDonald’s All-America Game MVP and Naismith High School Player of the Year. The do-it-all point guard led national No. 1 Sidwell Friends to the District of Columbia Class 2A state championship and a national title at the inaugural State Champions Invitational. To top it off, Rice owns a pair of gold medals playing internationally for USA Basketball.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Basketball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Lauren Betts, Grandview High School (Colorado), senior; Gabriela Jaquez, Adolfo Camarillo High School (California), senior
BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Nick Smith, North Little Rock High School (Arkansas), senior
Why he won: Smith masterfully used his 6-foot-5 frame to create scoring angles and size mismatches, averaging 26.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. He was at his best in the state final, dropping 25 points to lead North Little Rock to the Arkansas Class 6A state championship. The centerpiece of the University of Arkansas’s No. 1 rated recruiting class, Smith’s NBA Draft prospects have been on the rise since he started in the McDonald’s All-America Game and was named Co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Basketball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Dereck Lively II, Westtown School (Pennsylvania), senior; Brandon Miller, Cane Ridge High School (Tennessee), senior
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Audrey Rothman, Spain Park High School (Alabama), senior
Why she won: Rothman closed her highly decorated high school career in fitting fashion — hammering down the final kill in Alabama’s Class 7A state championship match. The dominant 6-foot-4 outside hitter was named 7A MVP and recorded 24 kills and 12 digs in the state match. She helped lead Spain Park to a 47-4 overall record and is primed for big things at Florida State this fall.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Volleyball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Averi Carlson, Lovejoy High School (Texas), senior; Jordan Middleton, Hamilton High School (Arizona), senior
BOYS VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Ryan Peluso, Winter Park High School (Florida), senior
Why he won: Known for his all-around play on the court, Ryan Peluso did a little bit of everything to cap Winter Park’s 8-0 run through the postseason. The Long Beach State signee had 30 kills, 24 assists, 12 digs and two aces in a five-set win over Freedom High in Florida’s state match. For the season, Peluso racked up a kill percentage of 60.4 to go with 445 assists, 68 aces and 85 blocks. The Wildcats finished the year 28-2 and ranked No. 18 in USA Today’s final Super 25 poll.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Volleyball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Dillon Klein, Loyola High School (California), senior; Zach Rama, Sandra Day O’Connor High School (Arizona), senior
FIELD HOCKEY PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Ryleigh Heck, Eastern Regional High School (New Jersey), senior
Why she won: Heck took her goal-scoring prowess to new heights, her 125 goals setting a new single-season national record. The best part? Goal No. 125 capped her team’s comeback win in New Jersey’s Tournament of Champions. Eastern High School prospered during Heck’s four-year tenure, piling up a combined 89-4 record, two undefeated seasons and two state championships. She finished her career with 323 total goals and is taking her talents to the University of North Carolina.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Field Hockey Player of the Year!
Finalists: Maci Bradford, Delmar High School (Delaware), junior; Alaina McVeigh Gwynedd Mercy Academy (Pennsylvania), senior
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Colin Sahlman, Newbury Park High School (California), senior
Why he won: Sahlman seized his senior season in the spotlight for the top high school cross country team in the nation. Behind his trademark finishing kick, he claimed California’s state Division I individual title before making history at the Garmin RunningLane national championship meet in Alabama — where he smashed a U.S. high school 5K record that had stood for 20 years. Next, Sahlman will join the reigning national champion men’s team at Northern Arizona University.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year!
Finalists: Riley Hough, Hartland High School (Michigan), senior; Leo Young, Newbury Park High School (California), junior
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Natalie Cook, Flower Mound High School (Texas), senior
Why she won: At the Texas Class 6A state championships, Cook was untouchable. At nationals, she was undisputed. The first-ever girl to win at both the Garmin RunningLane and Eastbay Cross Country Championships, Cook etched her name in the history books with a dreamlike senior season. She won the 6A state race by 56 seconds, and her dominant performance at RunningLane included MileSplit’s fastest recorded time in the nation. She’ll be a runner to watch for years to come at Oklahoma State.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year!
Finalists: Angelina Perez, Lakeland Regional High School (New Jersey), senior; Riley Stewart, Cherry Creek High School (Colorado), senior
BOYS BOWLER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Kieryn Knox, West Orange High School (New Jersey), senior
Why he won: Knox rolled a perfect game at New Jersey’s team state bowling championships and that was only the beginning to a postseason run for the history books. Knox’s 300-point game was the seventh of his career and the 17th in state history. Days later, as the No. 4 seed, he defeated seeds 5, 3, 2 and 1 en route to winning the state individual crown. Knox will continue his bowling career at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Bowler of the Year!
Finalists: Ethan Caruso, Minooka Community High School (Illinois), sophomore; Keaton Ostrowski, Rush-Henrietta Senior High School (New York), sophomore
GIRLS BOWLER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jenna Hedgepath, Lipscomb Academy (Tennessee), senior
Why she won: Hedgepath closed her high school bowling career with a bang. The Vanderbilt-bound senior claimed her second TSSAA individual state title in three years, and did so in dominant fashion, rolling nine strikes in the final game to leave no doubt. She then joined the boys, helping Lipscomb’s co-ed bowling team win the program’s first team championship in school history. Hedgepath rewrote the state history books during the team competition, setting state records for individual tournament average and high series.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Bowler of the Year!
Finalists: Victoria Varano, North Rockland High School (New York), senior; Emma Yoder, Triway High School (Ohio), sophomore
HOCKEY PLAYER OF THE YEAR, SPONSORED BY LOGISTICS PLUS
Winner: Alex Bump, Prior Lake High School (Minnesota), senior
Why he won: Bump’s natural scoring ability was on full display in his final year of high school as he racked up 83 points in 31 games and was named The Associated Press Player of the Year for Minnesota. In the fall, Bump tallied six goals in 14 games skating with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Eligible for the NHL Draft, the University of Vermont signee is ranked as the No. 69 overall skater in North America.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for USA TODAY HSSA Hockey Player of the Year!
Finalists: Rylee Bartz, Fargo North High School (North Dakota), junior; Max Giblin, Hudson High School (Wisconsin), senior
GYMNAST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Madelynn Crow, Pike County High School (Georgia), senior
Why she won: History was made at Georgia’s gymnastics state championship meet when Crow posted an amazing all-around score of 39.7 out of 40. She posted a perfect 10 in three events — the vault, beam and floor — and added a 9.7 on bars to win the Class A-5A state individual title in a runaway. The only female to win state for gymnastics at her high school, Crow will continue turning heads at the University of Georgia.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Gymnast of the Year!
Finalists: Ella Margheim, Olathe North High School (Kansas), senior; Karina Muñoz, East Brunswick High School (New Jersey), senior
BOYS WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Nick Feldman, Malvern Prep (Pennsylvania), senior
Why he won: The most dominant pound-for-pound wrestler in the country, Nick Feldman racked up league, state and national titles on his way to an undefeated senior season. Known best for his chiseled, 285-pound frame on the mat, peers and scouts alike know Feldman for his warm and likable personality. He’s the nation’s No. 1-ranked overall wrestler by both MatScouts and FloSports, and he’s destined for big things on the mat and beyond at The Ohio State University.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Wrestler of the Year!
Finalists: Nic Bouzakis, Wyoming Seminary (Pennsylvania), senior; Casey Swiderski, Dundee High School (Michigan), senior
GIRLS WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Shelby Moore, White River High School (Washington), junior
Why she won: It’s one thing to go undefeated on the wrestling mat — it’s another to pin each and every opponent you face. Moore accomplished that incredible feat during an undefeated season that ended with a state championship at 130 pounds. It was an awesome year overall for the White River High star, who also racked up five national championships in a four-month span. Viewed as the best girls wrestler in the country regardless of weight class, Moore’s next goal is to start competing for world championships.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Wrestler of the Year!
Finalists: Audrey Jimenez, Sunnyside High School (Arizona), sophomore; Haley Ward, Fort Osage High School (Missouri), junior
BOYS GOLFER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Aaron Pounds, The Woodlands Christian Academy (Texas), junior
Why he won: A rising star, on the National High School Golf Association’s No. 1-ranked team in the country, Pounds posted a head-turning score of 13-under-par 138 to win the Texas 5A Private state individual title. It was the culmination of an epic run that included district and regional championships, and a first-place finish at the Texas Junior Amateur in July. The Texas A&M commit will be a name to watch on the high school and junior circuit in 2023.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Golfer of the Year!
Finalists: Luke Clanton, American Heritage School (Florida), senior; Evan Woosley-Reed, Cascade High School (Tennessee), senior
GIRLS GOLFER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Yana Wilson, Coronado High School (Nevada), sophomore
Why she won: Four shots back after the first round of the Nevada Class 5A state tournament, Wilson surged with a 6-under 65 in Round 2 to claim the individual title as a sophomore. Her finish helped Coronado capture the team championship with a state-record score of 2-under par. Becoming one of the top names to follow on the Junior circuit, the sky’s the limit for Wilson, who GolfWeek ranks as the No. 3 overall girls golfer in the country.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Golfer of the Year!
Finalists: Sara Im, Lambert High School (Georgia), junior; Sophie Linder, Gordonsville High School (Tennessee), junior
BOYS LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Joey Spallina, Mount Sinai High School (New York), senior
Why he won: With 507 career points, Spallina graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Long Island history. The Syracuse signee finished the 2022 season as the country’s No. 1 ranked recruit with 73 goals and 83 assists. Spallina’s prowess on the field earned him a four-year partnership with Gait Lacrosse — making him the first high school lacrosse player in the country to sign an NIL deal.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year!
Finalists: Riley Figueiras, St. John’s College High School (Washington, D.C.), senior; Bo Lockwood, Hartland High School (Michigan), senior
GIRLS LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Fran Frieri, Lockport High School (Illinois), senior
Why she won: Frieri rewrote the U.S. high school lacrosse record books by posting 200 goals this season — a feat no other scholastic player in the sport, male or female, has ever accomplished. She also chipped in 40 assists and 137 ground balls. Her four-year total of 545 career goals now stands as another national high school No. 1, according to NFHS records. The academic and athletic standout at Lockport will continue her career at Notre Dame.
More: Meet the nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year!
Finalists: Kori Edmondson, McDonogh School (Maryland), senior; Peep Williams, Seton Catholic Central School (New York), senior
BOYS SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Aidan Payne, New Hanover High School (North Carolina), senior
Why he won: Payne powered New Hanover to a 27-0-1 season and the first state championship in program history. The All-American forward scored 54 goals, including a pair in his team’s 3-0 triumph over Hough High School in North Carolina’s 4A state final. He finished with three or more goals on nine occasions this season and also tallied 11 assists. Payne will continue at North Carolina State University.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Soccer Player of the Year!
Finalists: Elyes Ellouz, Olathe West High School (Kansas), senior; Jacob Murrell, McDonogh School (Maryland), senior
GIRLS SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Natalie Bain, Notre Dame Academy (Kentucky), senior
Why she won: The star of Notre Dame Academy’s back-line, Bain was named MVP of the district, regional and state tournaments, leading a squad that finished 28-0-1 and allowed four goals — total — on the season. A goal-scoring specialist off corner kicks, Bain netted the game-winner against Frederick Douglass in the KHSAA state championship game. Bain is taking her extraordinary talents to Xavier University.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Soccer Player of the Year!
Finalists: Elise Evans, Woodside High School (California), senior; Eliza Rich, Lake Norman Charter (North Carolina), senior
BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Baylor Nelson, Community School of Davidson (North Carolina), senior
Why he won: Nelson capped off his high school swimming career with seven total individual titles at North Carolina state meets. At this year’s championship, he shattered his own state record in the 200 Individual Medley and now ranks fourth-best in the event all-time according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Bound for Texas A&M, Nelson added a second state record swim in the 100 fly.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year!
Finalists: Liam Custer, Riverview High School (Florida), senior; Josh Zuchowski, King’s Academy (Florida), senior
GIRLS SWIMMING & DIVING ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Claire Curzan, Cardinal Gibbons High School (North Carolina), senior
Why she won: It was a record-smashing year in the pool for Curzan, the Stanford-bound phenom who set a national high school record in the 100 backstroke — and an American overall record in the 100 butterfly — at her final high school state championship meet. At 17, she was the youngest swimmer on the roster for the U.S. World National Team and will soon be looking to add to the silver medal she won at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year!
Finalists: Leah Hayes, Kaneland Maple Park High School (Illinois), sophomore; Lucy Thomas, Brookfield East High School (Wisconsin), junior
BOYS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR, SPONSORED BY WILSON SPORTING GOODS
Winner: Noey Do, Kempner High School (Texas), freshman
Why he won: Do was dominant playing in his first UIL tournament, sweeping the Texas state, Region 3 and District 24 singles championships. He outscored his opponents 36-11 in total games and did not drop a set in his three state tournament matches to become the first state singles champion in Kempner’s history. A blue-chip prospect as a rising sophomore, Do concluded his debut season with a 20-0 record.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for Boys Tennis Player of the Year sponsored by Wilson
Finalists: Nicholas Patrick, Alleman Catholic High School (Illinois), freshman; Masato Perera, San Marcos High School (California), senior
GIRLS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR , SPONSORED BY WILSON SPORTING GOODS
Winner: Valeria Ray, Doral Academy (Florida), junior
Why she won: Ray added another chapter to her near flawless high school resume, completing an undefeated season with her second straight singles state title. The star junior was named Class 4A Player of the Year and 2022 Miss Florida Tennis. Bound for Vanderbilt after high school, Ray has now accumulated eight combined team and individual state tennis championships in her three seasons at Doral Academy.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for Girls Tennis Player of the Year sponsored by Wilson
Finalists: Alyssa Ahn, Torrey Pines High School (California), freshman; Stephanie Yakoff, Fort Lee High School (New Jersey), junior
BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Druw Jones, Wesleyan School (Georgia), senior
Why he won: Jones’s elite, all-around talents on the baseball diamond made him the No. 2 overall selection in this summer’s MLB Draft. Showcasing impressive defense and speed, complemented by a steady bat at the plate, he led Wesleyan to a GHSA state title this past season. Jones batted .570 with 13 home runs and 39 runs batted in, while swiping 32 steals on the base paths. The son of former MLB great Andruw Jones, Druw also posted a 10-1 record on the mound this season with 53 strikeouts.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Baseball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Jackson Holliday, Stillwater High School (Oklahoma), senior; Termarr Johnson, Walton High School (Georgia), senior
SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Keagan Rothrock, Roncalli High School (Indiana), junior
Why she won: A future Florida Gator, Rothrock showed why she’s currently ranked as Softball America’s No. 1 overall recruit. She led the Royals to an undefeated 33-0 record and an IHSAA state title, sporting a 0.70 ERA in the pitcher’s circle with an incredible 382 strikeouts. The junior also hit .523 at the plate with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Softball Player of the Year!
Finalists: Maci Bergeron, Notre Dame High School (Louisiana), senior; Ava Brown, Lake Creek High School (Texas), junior
BOYS TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Rodrick Pleasant, Junipero Serra High School (California), junior
Why he won: Pleasant’s blazing speed was on display at the CIF state championship meet, where he swept both sprint events to earn a pair of individual titles. His wind-legal time of 10.14 seconds set a new state record in the 100-meter dash. Pleasant also mastered the 200-meter distance this season, posting the nation’s No. 2 overall time at California’s Southern Section Meet.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year!
Finalists: Casey Helm, Madison High School (Kansas), senior; Colin Sahlman, Newbury Park High School (California), senior
GIRLS TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Juliette Whittaker, Mount De Sales Academy (Maryland), senior
Why she won: Whittaker’s 800-meter time of 1 minute, 59.80 seconds at the Trials of Miles Track Night in New York City ranked as this year’s U.S. No. 1 and the second-fastest time ever recorded. The future Stanford Cardinal added a U.S. No. 3 time in the mile run at the Brooks PR invitational, after taking gold in three events at IAA of Maryland state championship meet.
More: Meet all 24 nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year!
Finalists: Adaejah Hodge, Alexander High School (Georgia), sophomore; Gracelyn Leiseth, Hamlin High School (South Dakota), junior
GIRLS OVERALL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Claire Curzan, Cardinal Gibbons High School (North Carolina), senior
Why she won: Already making waves as one of Team USA’s most dominant swimmers, Curzan entered her final year at Cardinal Gibbons still fresh off her first Olympic Games in Tokyo, where at 17 she won a silver medal in the 4×100-meter-relay and placed 10th in the 100 butterfly. She was true to form at this year’s North Carolina High School state championships, lowering the nation’s high school standard in the 100 backstroke to 49.61 seconds and adding an overall American record in the 100 fly of 49.24 seconds. She’s only gotten stronger since the high school season ended — capturing five gold medals at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, over the summer.
Finalists: Kiki Rice, Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.), senior; Juliette Whittaker, Mount De Sales Academy (Maryland), senior
BOYS OVERALL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Druw Jones, Wesleyan School (Georgia), senior
Why he won: In July, shortly after graduating from Wesleyan School in Georgia, Jones was drafted No. 2 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Reminding many of his father, Atlanta Braves legend Andruw Jones, Druw’s elite speed and skills in center field earned him a 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove Award. And while his slugging stats were through the roof — he batted .570 with 65 hits and 13 home runs — it was his willingness to step in as a pitcher that helped propel Wesleyan to Georgia’s Class A Private state title. It was Druw’s first high school championship ring and Wesleyan’s first in seven years.
Finalists: Gabe Escobedo, Miami High School (Arizona), senior; Colin Sahlman, Newbury Park High (California), senior
BOYS TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: Newbury Park High School (California) boys cross country
Why they won: Led by two pairs of brothers — the Sahlmans and the Youngs — Newbury Park blasted state and national records on their way to high school cross country lore. The Panthers swept the top four spots and scored a state-record 16 points at California’s large-school Division I championship meet, their team-time of 73 minutes, 23 seconds a runaway course record. They set their sights even higher entering the Garmin RunningLane Nationals in Huntsville, Alabama, hunting the national individual 5K record time of 14 minutes, 10 seconds. Three of Newbury Park’s runners wound up decimating that mark, which had stood for 20 years. Sahlman, a senior, was the pack leader, finishing in a national-record time of 14-minutes, 3.29 seconds. Close behind were twin brothers Leo and Lex Young, who both finished in 14 minutes, 5 seconds. Those times have high school cross country historians calling the 2021-22 Newbury Park High School cross country team the greatest of all time.
Finalists: Saint Mary’s Prep (Michigan) Baseball; Westlake High School (Texas) football
GIRLS TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: Lake Creek High School (Texas) softball
Why they won: Behind unflappable junior pitcher and slugger Ava Brown, Lake Creek was perfect in every sense of the word during the 2022 season — just the school’s third year of varsity competition. On their way to a 41-0 season and No. 1 national ranking in the USA TODAY Super 25, the Lions outscored their opponents 337-33. Their 19th shutout of the season, a 7-0 rout of Georgetown, clinched the Texas 5A state title and the first softball championship in school history. The catalyst was Brown, a Florida commit who fired a 1-hitter with no walks and eight strikeouts in the state game. Head coach Michell Rochinski deployed another star junior in leadoff hitter Maddie McKee, who hit .511 at the plate and tormented opposing pitchers with 77 stolen bases. But there were many standouts in the Lions’ relentless lineup that combined to club 29 home runs, 16 triples and 71 doubles. With only three total seniors on the 2022 roster, Lake Creek will look to build on its current stretch of 79 wins in 81 games.
Finalists: Marymount High School (California) girls volleyball; Hazel Green High School (Alabama) girls basketball
PLAY OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jaren Kanak, Hays High School (Kansas), senior
Why he won: Recruited by the University of Oklahoma to play linebacker, it was Kanak’s bulldozing highlight on a designed quarterback run that went viral during a game against Maize High School in November.
Hays High’s Jaren Kanak runs it in for another score! Hays High leads 16-14 5:16 left in the first. pic.twitter.com/2UNLtKhrb5
Known for his elite speed on the football field, Kanak ran the 41st best time in the nation in the 100 meter dash during the spring track and field season. He proved he packs plenty of power, too, during the high school football season in November. He trucked not one, but five different defenders and broke through one final tackle on his way to a jaw-dropping, 61-yard touchdown on a designed quarterback run.
Finalists: Diego Leon, Dowling Catholic High School (Iowa), senior; Maci Neely Cameron High School (West Virginia), freshman
Recipient: Tate Myre, Oxford High School (Michigan), junior
Why he won: Myre was one of four Oxford students who died after being shot in the school by a fellow student on Nov. 30. Several students said they saw Myre, a standout football player and wrestler, running in the direction of the shooter while others ran out of the school.
“Knowing Tate, knowing how he was raised, he’s the kind of kid that wouldn’t think about it twice,” said Ross Wingert, who coached Myre in football and wrestling. “And he’s gonna do it.”
Juniors are rarely made captain, but Myre was a rare athlete and teammate. He was an immediate standout and was brought up to the varsity as a freshman. Oxford coach Zach Line is determined to make sure Myre will never be forgotten, especially the courage he displayed in the final moments of his life.
“Next year is going to be interesting, but I think Tate will be with us,” Line said. “Eventually we’ll learn to walk with Tate and not have a cloud over our heads, which I think will give this team a lot strength.”
SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Recipient: Kamari Graham, Homestead Senior High School (Florida), sophomore
Why he won: Graham not only has an intellectual disability, but at a young age suffered injuries from a firework accident that left him without his left hand. A participant in Special Olympics since attending Homestead Middle School, Graham participates in multiple sports and was instrumental in the team winning an FHSAA state championship in Unified flag football. He then helped Homestead become a two-time national champion, catching a key touchdown pass in the semifinals of the 2022 USA National Games in Orlando. Homestead represented Florida at the Games and brought home a gold medal. Graham is also a leader in the classroom, serving as Vice President of his school’s Unified Club.
BOYS RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Dee Lockett, Stillwater High School (Oklahoma), freshman
Why he won: Months before his first high school wrestling match, Lockett delivered a pair of statement wins at the U15 National Championships. He outscored his opponents 51-8 in the Freestyle tournament and was named Outstanding Wrestler, leaving with a pair of national titles. Lockett rode that momentum into his first high school experience, winning the prestigious Ironman Tournament in Ohio. He capped his stellar debut season by claiming Oklahoma’s 6A state championship at 145 pounds, beating a junior and senior on his way to the final. He’ll enter an anticipated sophomore season with a top-10 national ranking at 152 pounds by FloSports.
More: Meet the nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Boys Rising Star of the Year!
Finalists: Cameron Boozer, Columbus High School (Florida), freshman; Bryce Underwood, Belleville High School (Michigan), freshman
GIRLS RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Joyce Edwards, Camden High School (South Carolina), sophomore
Why she won: The Camden High School girls basketball team has a new career points leader in Edwards, who surpassed the 2,000-point milestone as a sophomore while leading Camden to South Carolina’s 3A state game. The top-ranked basketball recruit in the Class of 2024, Edwards saw her first varsity games as a seventh grader and this year averaged 23.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. With Division 1 college basketball offers rolling in, including Oregon and Oregon State, Edwards will be a name to watch in 2023 and beyond.
More: Meet the nominees for All-USA Today HSSA Girls Rising Star of the Year!
Finalists: Jaloni Cambridge, Ensworth School (Tennessee), sophomore; ZaKiyah Johnson, Sacred Heart Academy (Kentucky), freshman
BOYS TEAM COACH OF THE YEAR, SPONSORED BY MUNICIPAL
Winner: Vito Campanile of Bergen Catholic High School (New Jersey) football
Why he won: Coaching at a school where football state championships are the expectation, not the goal, Campanile earned his first ring as head coach at Bergen Catholic behind a 12-0 season. It was the football team’s first perfect season in 24 years. The Crusaders finished the year with a resounding win over Don Bosco in New Jersey’s Non-Public A state game. They finished No. 3 in USA TODAY’s final Super 25 poll, behind only California prep power Mater Dei and Texas Class 6A powerhouse Westlake High. Few give their programs the kind of personal investment as Campanile, who was named a finalist for the All-American Bowl’s Coach of the Year honor and is always quick to deflect credit from himself to his players, especially his seniors.
Finalists: David Peavy of Duncanville High School (Texas) boys basketball; David Zimmerman of Conestoga High School (Pennsylvania) boys soccer
GIRLS TEAM COACH OF THE YEAR, SPONSORED BY MUNICIPAL
Winner: Tamika Dudley of Sidwell Friends School (Washington, D.C.) girls basketball
Why she won: Dudley’s basketball program scored a hat trick this postseason — winning three separate tournament championships on its way to a 30-0 season. The Quakers’ postseason haul included a national title at the inaugural State Champions Invitational in Tampa, Florida, and dominant performances in both the Independent School League and D.C. State Athletic Association championship games. With her program now firmly established as a national powerhouse, Dudley won the prestigious Naismith Coach of the Year Award, considered among the highest honors in prep and college basketball.
Finalists: Sue Butz-Stavin of the Emmaus High School (Pennsylvania) field hockey; Valorie McKenzie of Horizon High School (Arizona) girls volleyball
Star Texas High School quarterback Cade Klubnik repeated as national Offensive Football Player of the Year during the 2022 USA TODAY High School Sports Awards show, which debuted July 31.