Best Preps 2020

It’s safe to say most East Texas sports fans and athletes have never witnessed a school year like 2019-2020.

A year that started with such great promise and featured another state football championship coming back to the Pineywoods and another volleyball team punching its ticket to the state tournament, came to an abrupt halt in March.

Schools shut down for spring break, and before most of the students and teachers tore out of the parking lot, signs went up on campuses across the state and nation telling them to stay gone.

The COVID—19 pandemic cheated spring sports athletes out of the chance to represent their schools and communities at various district, regional and state competitions. The closing of campuses didn’t allow for closure.

“Normal” went out the window, but one thing didn’t change.

The student/athletes in East Texas continued to shine in their chosen sports, in the classroom and in the community.

To that end, the Longview News-Journal and ETvarsity.com decided to continue the tradition of honoring these student/athletes by presenting the sixth annual Best Preps Awards.

This year’s event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, will look different than previous versions. Instead of honoring athletes in person at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, the event will be held online due to social distancing guidelines.

The process of nominating student/athletes and selecting the winners didn’t change.

Coaches from participating schools were asked to submit nominations 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.

Once coaches nominated the student/athlete, a panel of judges pored through the list and selected one overall winner from each sport along with specialty awards – Heart and Desire, Going the Extra Mile, Outstanding Achievement in Academics, Sportsmanship, Community Excellence, Coach of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year and Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Congratulations to our honored student/athletes and coaches. We’re proud to recognize you, and we thank you for providing a shining example during troubled times.

Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter:

@lnjsports