Records, controversy among award winners
They made have just missed the cut for our list of the Top 10 Stories of the Year, but that doesn't mean these stories aren't award-worthy:
Most Likely to be Turned Into A Movie
Talk about resolve. The Kalskag (Alaska) boys' basketball team lost its school, gymnasium and equipment in a January fire. The Grizzlies were forced to practice in a makeshift gym inside an elementary school cafeteria the rest of the season. Nevertheless, in an inspiring example of perseverance, Kalskag went on to capture the state championship with a 71-57 win over Newhalen (Alaska).
Fiction Turns to Fact Award
Remember how Matt Saracen took over for Jason Street to lead Dillon to a state title in the first season of "Friday Night Lights"? Well, the same story line played out with a pair of juniors at Allen (Texas) during the Class 5A Division I playoffs this past fall. When Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year Matt Brown suffered a shoulder injury in the second round, backup Tucker Carter stepped in and led the Eagles to four wins and the state crown.
Young Money Award
Though Chaz Ortiz may have just wrapped up his freshman year at Dundee-Crown (Carpentersville, Ill.) this year, he's already a legitimate endorsement darling. Also sponsored by Zoo York and DC Shoes, Ortiz inked with Gatorade this past January and was the lone skater to appear in the Spike Lee-directed "What is G?" commercial that also starred icons like Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and Muhammad Ali.
Worst Display Of Sportsmanship
This one goes out to the Georgia Football League for not allowing Kacy Stuart to kick for the New Creation Center (McDonough, Ga.) football team because she's a girl. This after she tried out and made the team, then practiced for two months. Thankfully, the Georgia Football League eventually realized it's no longer 1950 and decided to allow Stuart back on the field later in the season.
Coincidence Least Likely To Be Duplicated
On Dec. 5, the South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) football team had the nation's longest active winning streak snapped at 89 games when it lost to Meridian (Miss.) in the state final. With South Panola's loss, Maryville (Tenn.) inherited the nation's longest active winning streak with 74 games. But on Dec. 6, Maryville lost to Hillsboro (Nashville, Tenn.) in the state final. Both streaks are in the top five on the all-time national list.
Most Groundbreaking Athlete
At a time when relations between the U.S. and Iran continue to deteriorate, Arsalan Kazemi cut through the politics one dunk at a time. The Patterson School (Patterson, N.C.) senior forward first made headlines on the 2008 summer circuit with his athleticism and potential. This past fall, he became the first Iranian to earn a Division I scholarship when he inked with Rice.
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