Spring Hill’s Sam Schott and Tatum’s Kendric Malone took home top honors Thursday after being selected as the East Texas Professional Credit Union Female and Male Athletes of the Year at the annual Best Preps/ETVarsity Awards.

The event, presented by Peters Chevrolet Buick Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat, was a virtual presentation for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 protcols. The program honored area student athletes for their athletic performances along with their work in the classroom, volunteerism and community involvement.

Schott was a softball, volleyball and cross country standout who will play softball at the University of Texas at Tyler next year.

She hit .545 with nine home runs, 11 doubles, a triple, 34 RBI, 32 runs scored and 15 stolen bases for the Lady Panthers during the regular softball season while also going 15-6 inside the pitcher’s circle with a 3.26 earned run average and 179 strikeouts in 124.1 innings pitched.

Schott was a first team All-East Texas and third team All-State (Texas Sports Writers Association) selection in volleyball in the fall after recording 387 digs, 53 aces and 56 assists.

Malone was a football and basketball standout for the Tatum Eagles.

On the gridiron, he passed for 1,846 yards and 17 touchdowns and added 365 yards and nine rushing scores for an 8-2 squad that captured the District 16-3A title.

In hoops, Malone helped lead Tatum to a berth in the Class 3A championship game, averaging 14 points and five assists per game and earning district MVP honors.

Joining Schott and Malone as major award winners were David Laguna of Longview (Going the Extra Mile), Gage Mitchell of Gladewater (Inspiration), Rachel Petree of Spring Hill (Lynzee Ford Award for Heart and Desire), Kerry Lane of Pine Tree (Coach of the Year), Alan Metzel of Gilmer (Athletic Director of the Year), Tia Reid of Gilmer (Community Excellence), Jim Weaver of Marshall (Academic Achievement) and Alysa Hall of White Oak (Sportsmanship).

Other winners for their respective sports were McKinzee Settles of Harmony (volleyball), Jon Tatum of Ore City (boys powerlifting), Jai Lewis of Pine Tree (girls powerlifting), Peyton Borens of Spring Hill (cheerleading), Braden Nickel of Longview (boys swimming), Caroline Taylor of Longview (girls swimming), Hudson Parr of Trinity School of Texas (boys golf), Abby Sorenson of Tatum (girls golf), Jack Mottershaw of Marshall (boys basketball), Alexis T. Anderson of Kilgore (girls basketball), Schott of Spring Hill (softball), Trenton Bush of Longview (baseball), Colton Cobb of White Oak (boys track and field), Macey Alston of Union Grove (girls track and field), Dominic Tucker of St. Mary’s (boys cross country), Isabel Breaux of Longview (girls cross country), Jenae Rivers of Carthage (girls soccer), Alejandro Rojas Monsivais of Longview (boys soccer), Jon Marc Gorges of Trinity School of Texas (boys tennis), Rylee Camp of New Diana (girls tennis) and Mason Hurt of Gilmer (football).

Philip Humber, who pitched a perfect game with the Chicago White Sox in 2012, was the keynote speaker for the event.

Humber, a Carthage High School graduate, pitched in 97 games at the MLB level with the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.

Selected in the first round (third pick overall) by the Mets in 2004, Humber underwent Tommy John surgery early in his career and did not make his MLB debut until Sept. 24, 2006.

On April 21, 2012, while pitching for the White Sox in Seattle against the Mariners, Humber pitched what was then the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history.

Major sponsors of Best Preps were East Texas Professional Credit Union, M Roberts Digital and Eastman Credit Union. Gold sponsors were Keebaugh & Company — Full Service Real Estate, Texas Bank and Trust, and Cubby Hole.

Look for a special section honoring all nominees and winners in the Sunday Longview News-Journal and Marshall News Messenger.

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Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports

Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.