Three local athletes and a coach will be among the top honorees Saturday at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All-Arkansas Preps awards banquet in the Wally Allen Ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
Among the evening’s awards are honors for outstanding players of the year in football, baseball, softball, volleyball and wrestling and boys and girls basketball, cross country, golf, track and field, tennis, soccer and swimming. Outstanding coaches of the year are selected in football, boys and girls basketball, track and field, wrestling, golf, baseball, softball, tennis, cross country, boys and girls soccer, volleyball and boys and girls swimming.
Christyn Williams of Central Arkansas Christian is the player of the year in girls basketball. Connor Gaunt of Cabot will be honored for boys golf. Daryl Fimple of North Little Rock is the coach of the year for girls basketball. Savana Melton of North Little Rock will receive the Hussman Community Award, which honors an outstanding athlete who has also worked for the betterment of his or her community.
“I am very honored to be a part of an elite group of athletes that strive to be the best they can be,” Gaunt said.
Williams, the Naismith, Gatorade, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and MaxPreps National Player of the Year and the McDonald’s Morgan Wooten Player of the Year and MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, has been taking summer classes at Connecticut prior to playing with the USA Basketball U18 National Team next month.
“Unfortunately, I am not coming back home for the banquet,” she said in a text on Monday.
Awards for Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year will also be announced.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the former Olympian, will be the keynote speaker and present the awards. Previous speakers have included Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Dick Vitale, Cal Ripken Jr. and Emmitt Smith.
Tickets are available to the public for $75 each at www.allarkansaspreps.com and must be purchased in advance. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with the Parade of Athletes.