Two young men from the area who made great strides at the highest level of their sports in 2018, golfer Luke List and baseball pitcher Dakota Hudson, are the male co-athletes of the year as chosen by the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.
And for the first time, the hall has attached members' names to its top-athlete distinctions. The men's award now honors the memory of Reggie White, the Chattanooga native who became the NFL's best defensive end of all time, and Lee University soccer All-American Summer Lanter will be the Catherine Neely female athlete of the year in tribute to the legendary former volleyball coach who has continued to serve as East Ridge High School's athletic director and is the president of the hall of fame.
Lanter, Hudson and List will be recognized along with 20 inductees, already announced, and four other special-award winners at the hall of fame banquet March 4 at 6 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets cost $40 and are available through Neely until March 1 at 423-842-7274. Tables of eight can be reserved for $320.
Susan Thurman and John Boynton will receive the Betty Probasco and Walt Lauter awards for lifetime achievement, and visually impaired volleyball player Sierrah Lemons will get the Allan Morris/Jim Morgan Award for dealing with adversity.
The recipient of the Fred Gregg Jr. Award, the highest annual honor the hall bestows, will be announced later.
The 2019 inductees are Bill Burnside, Marvin Burke, Austin Clark, Terry Cordell, Mike Cross, Jim Hennen, Warren Hill, Donnie Holbrook, Jim Jackson, Malcolm Mackey, Scott McMahen, Andy Morgan, Chip O'Dell, Terrell Owens, Audra Brannon Pumpelly, Janet Tate, Charlie Taylor, Danny Williams, Connie Young and Tom Younger.
Lanter is being honored primarily for her final Lee season in the fall of 2017 and for the many awards that followed it into 2018, when she also was a force for the Chattanooga Football Club women's team. Among other achievements, the former Gatorade Tennessee girls' soccer player of the year from Soddy-Daisy High School graduated summa cum laude as Lee's top nursing graduate in the spring of 2018.
After scoring 20 goals in 2017 with eight in the Lady Flames' postseason run to the NCAA South Region final, Lanter was the Gulf South Conference and region player of the year, a second-team All-American and not only Lee's but the GSC's overall top female student-athlete for the 2017-18 school year.
Hudson, who starred in basketball as well as baseball at Sequatchie County High School and then went on to an All-America pitching career at Mississippi State, completed a rapid rise to the major leagues in 2018. A first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016, he was starting in Class AA by the end of that summer and was the Texas League starting pitcher of the year and a Double-A All-Star Game starter in 2017, which he finished with Triple-A Memphis.
He went 13-3 with Memphis in 2018, earning the honors of Pacific Coast League and AAA starting pitcher of the year, before being called up to St. Louis on July 26. On July 28 he made his big-league debut by retiring all three Cubs he faced, two by strikeouts, and he finished the season with a 4-1 record and a 2.63 earned run average for 27 1/3 innings.
List, who lived in Ringgold throughout his time at Baylor School and Vanderbilt, is 34 and coming off his best year as a professional golfer. In March he finished second in a playoff with Justin Thomas in the Honda Classic, and he tied for third in the RBC Heritage in April and had three other PGA Tour top-10 finishes.
One of four Baylor alumni on the big tour, List won $2,710,736 in the 2017-18 season and finished 45th in the FedEx Cup standings. He tied for fourth in the Safeway Open as the 2018-19 season got underway.
Thurman had a 37-year coaching career at Red Bank High School with never a losing season. That included a quarter century as head volleyball coach with a 778-253 record and a pre-classification state-runner-up finish. The Red Bank gym is named for her, and she is the mother of two NCAA Division I athletes.
She also is an accomplished golfer, organizer and volunteer for various community entities. She has won the Valleybrook ladies club championship seven of the last eight years, the Brainerd women's club championship four times and the Chattanooga Women's Amateur Championship senior division three times.
Boynton was a Tennessee All-Southeastern Conference and second-team All-America offensive tackle known for his toughness — he once had a severely dislocated forearm popped back into place during a game and went back in to play — and he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1968. From Pikeville, he returned to Bledsoe County High School to teach and coach, the second time after running a successful sporting-goods business for 24 years.
Raising Charolais cattle and Savannah goats on the family farm, he also has been active through the years in church and community work, coaching youth baseball and having served as a commissioner for the Bledsoe Recreation Center.
Lemons, who turned 18 Saturday, was Soddy-Daisy's and the District 5-AAA most valuable volleyball player last fall, and she previously helped an AAU team advance to a national tournament. She's also a Kids Club coach. Despite the expectation of faulty depth perception, she has succeeded even though her right eye was removed on her third birthday — because of a cancerous tumor.
The 5-foot-11 Lemons excels at kills and blocks and seems to have no difficulty because of her blind spot.
"The way she's adjusted, to be able to do everything she does, is really incredible," Soddy-Daisy coach Libby Peigen said in a Times Free Press story in September.