The six finalists for the Scrappy Moore male athlete of the year award are Polk County’s Jared Allen, Dade County’s Travis Core, McCallie’s T.J. Duncan, Baylor’s Jacob Huesman, LaFayette’s Preston McCalmon and Bradley Central’s James Stovall.
The six finalists for the female athlete of the year award are Gordon Lee’s Holli Brooks, GPS’ Simone Busby and Chadarryl Clay, Howard’s LaQuisha Jackson, Baylor’s Hannah Jumper and Dalton’s Quaneisha McCurty. The winners will be announced at Tuesday’s annual Times Free Press Best of Preps banquet, which features New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as the guest speaker.
Allen is a University of Tennessee baseball signee who is batting .511 with 13 home runs, 61 RBIs and scored 48 runs and is 9-2 as a pitcher with a 2.46 earned-run average and 84 strikeouts. In football, he was the only four-year starter in Derrick Davis’ 11-years as head coach and was the heart and soul of the team on both sides of the ball, leading the team to back-to-back District 5-AA titles as quarterback and had 88 tackles including three for lost yardage, two interceptions, a fumble caused and one fumble recovery.
In the three seasons Core was a starter, the Wolverines went 77-13, earning three consecutive trips to the playoffs and exiting as the most successful group of seniors in school history. Core averaged 26 points per game as a senior, and he also dished out seven assists and secured nearly five rebounds per contest as well. In baseball, he compiled a 7-0 pitching record with a 1.56 earned-run average and 85 strikeouts. He also batted .420 with 31 RBIs, 45 runs scored and 27 stolen bases.
In becoming Tennessee’s first five-time wrestling champion, Duncan, a 160-pounder, posted a 53-1 record, which boosted his career mark to 206-20. The Maryland signee proclaimed his goal as an eighth-grader to win five state titles and followed through. Duncan was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” for his accomplishment.
As Baylor’s senior quarterback, Huesman carried the Red Raiders to the state championship game with his arm and legs. He accounted for 2,828 yards of offense as the Red Raiders put together their first 10-win season since 1991. A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga signee, he completed 74 percent of his passes for 1,078 yards and seven touchdowns while running for 1,750 yards and 25 scores. Huesman was Tennessee’s Division II-AA Mr. Football back of the year. Huesman was also one of the area’s top sprinters and long jumpers in track as well.
McCalmon is LaFayette’s first three-time state wrestling champion, posting a 47-1 record last season.
Stovall, a rare three-sport star in the state’s largest classification, caught 76 passes for 1,086 yards to help the Bears’ football team reach the 6A playoffs’ second round, earning all-state honors along the way. He also averaged 10 points per game in basketball and competed in the decathlon, triple jump, high jump and sprint relays in track.
Brooks is a two-sport star who batted a team-best .476 with 41 RBIs in leading the Lady Trojans to a perfect season and Class A title. In basketball, the senior guard averaged 17 points for the 24-7 Lady Trojans, plus 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and two steals. The Lady Trojan’s softball team became the first in state history to go undefeated.
Busby allowed 17 goals in 19 games for the GPS’ soccer team, led the Bruisers’ basketball team to its first state title since 2000, averaging double-digit scoring in the state tournament, including a game-high 17 in the title game, where she was named state tourney MVP. She is also a favorite in both the shot put and discus at this week’s state track meet.
Clay, a junior point guard, led GPS to a 23-1 season and became the Bruisers’ first state Miss Basketball award winner since that title year. Rated the nation’s ninth-best point guard by ESPN, she averaged 15.6 points and six assists this season and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career. She already has scholarship offers from Auburn, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, among others.
Jackson, who set state records in the 100 and 200 meters last season, has returned to that form after an early-season knee injury. Howard’s junior sprinter nearly broke both those records while qualifying for this week’s state meet and will also run in the 4x100, 4x200 and compete in the state pentathlon.
Jumper started the cross country season competing for the United States in the World Mountain Running Championships in Kamnik, Slovenia. The Baylor senior and Vanderbilt signee ended with that season by cruising to her second state championship and leading the Lady Red Raiders to their third consecutive state title. She has also dominated the distance events in track this spring with the fastest times in the 3200 and 1600 and was second-fastest in the 800 locally.
McCurty, a 6-foot-5 center, led the Lady Catamounts’ basketball taem to a 32-1 record and state-runner-up finish, averaging nearly 15 points to go with 13 rebounds and right at five blocked shots per game. She has signed to play collegiately at Indiana.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 20 years, starting at the News-Free Press as a 19-year-old reporter. He has been with the Times Free Press since its inception and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation ...