Eli Manning greets area's top athletes (with video)

Eli Manning greets area's top athletes (with video)

June 8th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in News

Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning talks to more than 2,000 attendees at the 2012 Best of Preps banquet Thursday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Best of Preps: Watch videos from the banquet.

Watch videos from from six of the major award winners.

Read more about the Best of Preps.

The largest-ever Best of Preps crowd heard New York Giants quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning share his experiences growing up as the youngest son of the famous quarterback family.

"This is such a cool event," Manning told the capacity crowd Thursday night at the Chattanooga Convention Center. "I want to thank you all for letting me be a part of it."

Manning's message was well-received from the gathering that honored the area's top high school stars from the 2011-12 school year.

Baylor graduate Zach Watson received a record-setting three awards -- the Scrappy Moore Male Athlete of the Year, the Franklin Academic Award and the Farr-Worsham Award for achievements in wrestling -- and said he'll always remember this event.

"It's definitely a surprise," Watson said of the three wins. "It's just like what Eli was saying that you have to be passionate about things and you can't be satisfied. I want to work harder than anybody else."

GPS three-sport star Tory Kemp earned the Phillips Award for achievement in track and was named the Female Athlete of the Year. After leading Calhoun to a perfect football season and a state-championship win over nationally ranked Buford, Hal Lamb was named Coach of the Year.