Longview’s Drew Beltran and Tatum’s Essence Allen took top honors on Tuesday as the sixth annual Best Preps Awards Program rolled out its list of winners via Facebook.
The event, typically held at Longview’s Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, was held online due to social distancing guidelines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beltran, a football and baseball standout at Longview, was named this year’s Male Student Athlete of the Year. Allen, who participated in nearly every sport Tatum had to offer, was the Female Athlete of the Year.
The awards program honored the area’s top student athletes, who were nominated by their coaches based on the student/athlete’s contributions on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The nominees were required to be varsity athletes, have a GPA of 3.0 or better and to have verifiable community service or volunteer credentials of 10 or more hours in the current year.
Title sponsor for the event was Peters Chevrolet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat.
Other sponsors included East Texas Professional Credit Union (Red Carpet Sponsor), Eastman Credit Union (Varsity Sponsor) and Gold Sponsors Texas Bank and Trust, Cubby Hole Self-Storage, Keebaugh and Company, Whataburger, Texas Real Estate Executives and Chick-fil-A.
Beltran, who ranked No. 42 out of 524 seniors in Longview’s Class of 2020, participated in football, baseball, powerlifting, UIL Academics and the International Baccalaureate program.
After turning in a solid junior season in 2018, Beltran became one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the state in 2019 – recording 64 tackles, 11 sacks, 27 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for the 11-1 Lobos. He earned first team All-East Texas honors from the Longview News-Journal and was a second team all-state selection by the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors.
Allen, nominated by her coaches in volleyball and basketball, also played softball and golf, ran track and was a two-time All-American cheerleader during her career at Tatum.
As a senior, she dominated in volleyball, earning district and All-East Texas MVP honors as well as being named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association, Texas Sports Writers Association and Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches all-state teams.
A Texas A&M-Commerce signee, she recorded 601 kills, 453 digs, 179 assists, 92 blocks and 90 aces her senior year.
On the basketball court, she was the district MVP and a first-team All-State player after averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists per game.
She played in just six softball games after joining the team late this spring, but hit .500 with five RBI, seven stolen bases and 30 strikeouts recorded in 23 innings pitched.