By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
In the shadows of FedEx Field a new array of sports were recognized at the second annual Pigskin Club of Washington Spring Awards Banquet at the original First Baptist Church of Glenarden.
Known primarily for honoring the excellence of football and basketball student athletes from the Metropolitan area, the event has expanded with another awards ceremony that hopes to grow as a platform that will expand the visibility of swing sports such as baseball, softball, golf, lacrosse, along with Olympic sports such as swimming and track and field.
Two Washington Catholic Athletic Association male and female athletes were acknowledged as the metropolitan area’s player of the year for their athletic prowess in basketball. Each are committed to play next year at colleges in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
DeMatha’s Justin Moore won top honors for the boys and Jakia Brown-Turner of Bishop McNamara earned the McDonald’s High School All American along with her Pigskin Club award.
Moore added his name to their list of distinguished alumni as a four year varsity player who led the Stags to five post season games over his last two seasons. He led them to the WCAC championship and scored 57 points over his last two games. Moore was also named the Gatorade Player of the Year from Maryland.
Brown-Turner is rated as a five star prospect and the 18th ranked overall player in the 2019 class nationally by ESPN. She averaged 16.4 points while becoming the first commitment to North Carolina State since Amber White in 2006 who was a McDonald’s All-American from Bishop McNamara.
After winning his third straight DCIAA and a DCSAA championship Wilson boys coach, Angelo Hernandez was named The Billy Coward Coach of the Year, while Sam Caldwell of New Hope Christian Academy won for the Girls. Caldwell led the Lady Tigers to a NACA Division I and GEICO National Championships.
However, the spring sports athletes that were recognized prove that improvements in training and opportunity are impacting the performances in swing sports. The quality of the honorees signals how the area for college recruitment has expanded beyond just football and basketball, especially in young women’s sports.
Ayana Akil of Wheaton High was named Tennis Player of the Year for the second time, while taking AP level courses in her senior year. Akil, who didn’t lose a match after her sophomore season, concluded her high school career by winning a third consecutive 4A singles title.
Team honors were given to the young women who won Pigskin softball and track and field awards. Kennedy Coger lead Prince George’s County with a .600 batting average for the season. Coger helped Bowie High win the regional championship and will be heading to the University of Hawaii to play in college.
Courtney Wyche, an honor student at Montgomery Blair High School, was a four year varsity starter who earned Washington Post all-Met honors every season while setting the all time strikeout record as a pitcher. She will be attending Maryland this fall.
C.H. Flowers was well represented on the baseball team shortstop by University of Hartford prospect Treymane Cobb and pitcher/third baseman Terrell Delaney who will attend Tuskegee. Collin Reed was a three-position standout at Wise whose fastball was clocked at 79 mph and lead them to the second round of the MPSSAA
Flowers coach George Brown was named Coach of the Year after getting to the semifinals of the MPSSAA 4A championship.