Multisport excellence is the common theme among the finalists for this year's Best of Preps Scrappy Moore Female Athlete of the Year award, with five of the six earning all-star recognition in more than one sport.
The winner will be announced during Wednesday's Best of Preps banquet, which returns to an in-person format at the Chattanooga Convention Center after two years as an online event due to the coronavirus pandemic. Doors will open at 6 p.m., dinner begins at 6:30 and the guest speaker will be University of Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who this past season guided the program to its first national championship since 1980.
All athletes and coaches who were named to a Best of Preps team during the past school year can claim their complimentary ticket to the event by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. All others can purchase tickets at bestofprepschatt.com.
The six finalists for this year's award are Northwest Whitfield's Emma Allen, Girls Preparatory School's Ansley Blevins, East Hamilton's McKenna Hayes, Dade County's Stella Henry, Sonoraville's Taylor Long and Signal Mountain's Kara Wilson.
Allen was voted GHSA Region 7-AAAA's top girls' basketball player after averaging 12 points and seven rebounds to help the Lady Bruins reach the state quarterfinals. However, she put up even more impressive numbers in volleyball by leading the area with 552 kills and also totaling 454 assists, 96 aces and 50 blocks in 47 matches for Northwest, which advanced to the state semifinals.
Blevins, a Middle Tennessee State University softball signee, helped the Bruisers reach the TSSAA Division II-AA state title game, batting .554 this season with an incredible 20 home runs, seven doubles, 51 RBIs and 42 runs scored. She was intentionally walked 25 times, struck out only 11 times and owns the GPS record for homers with 40 despite not having a sophomore season due to the coronavirus pandemic. In volleyball, she was a two-time all-region honoree who had 356 kills, 43 aces, 223 digs, 163 blocks and 48 assists.
Hayes, who will continue her basketball career at Chattanooga State, averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and two steals per game, and that came after leading the Lady Hurricanes volleyball team to a TSSAA Class AA state runner-up finish with 272 kills, 71 aces, 244 digs and 20 blocks.
Henry won a GHSA Class AA track and field state title in the triple jump (37 feet, 10.5 inches), finished second in the long jump and was third in the high jump. A Kennesaw State softball signee, she hit .570 with three homers, six triples, 53 runs scored and 32 stolen bases to earn all-state recognition in that sport this past fall, and in basketball she was named All-Region 7-AA after averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Long is a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball signee who went 25-3 with a 0.49 ERA, allowing just 68 hits while striking out 435 batters in 200 innings pitched to help her team to a state runner-up finish in GHSA Class AAA.
Wilson won TSSAA Class AA track and field state titles in the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter hurdles, and she finished runner-up in the state pentathlon, scoring 38 points alone to help lead the Lady Eagles to the team state championship. In soccer, she ranked among the area leaders with 24 goals scored.