NCHSAA Athletes of the Year Named at Annual Meeting (1996-97)

CHAPEL HILL--- The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has named Jackie Houston of Kings Mountain High School and Tyrell Godwin of East Bladen High School as winners of the 1997 NCHSAA Athlete of the Year awards.

These are the top athletic awards given by the NCHSAA to honor the most outstanding male and female high school athletes in the state. They were presented at the Dean Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus during the NCHSAA's Annual Meeting.

Both Houston and Godwin were nominated by member schools and selected by a special panel of media representatives from across the state. They were each presented with the Pat Best Memorial Trophy, named for the former Goldsboro High principal and president of the NCHSAA who died unexpectedly in 1988. A record number of nominations was received for both the men's and women's awards.

"We congratulate these fine student-athletes on their great achievements during their high school careers," said Charlie Adams, executive director of the NCHSAA. "Both Tyrell and Jackie have tremendously impressive credentials along the lines of the previous outstanding winners of this award. We certainly wish them the best in the future."

Houston has made her mark at the highest level in two sports-- tennis and track. She was the NCHSAA state 3-A singles champion an unprecedented four years in a row, earning all-conference honors four years and conference Player of the Year status in three seasons. She was an amazing 81-0 in singles play and lost only four sets during her high school career. She is ranked first in the 18 and under category in North Carolina by the United States Tennis Association, third in the Southern region and 32nd in the nation.She has also been selected to represent North Carolina on both the Junior Federation Cup and Junior Davis Cup teams.

In track, she has been outstanding in the 400, 1600 and 3200 meter runs as well as in relays. She has been the conference player of the year in track and earned all Southwestern Conference honors in four events as well as setting two new Cleveland County records. Jackie is the two-time defending state 3-A champion in the 400 and won last year's title by an incredible four seconds.

Godwin is a highly regarded football player who is also considered a top professional baseball prospect and is an excellent track athlete. He is also an outstanding student, having earned a prestigious Morehead Scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is ranked first in his senior class at East Bladen with a 4.22 grade point average.

He rushed for 2,060 yards and scored 34 touchdowns in his senior season, including returningthree kicks for scores, and also had 100 tackles and four interceptions on defense. He was chosen for both the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team and the East-West all-star game in Greensboro, earning all-state honors and making a couple of prep All-American teams.

A preseason high school baseball all-American as designated by both The Sporting News and Street and Smith Magazine, he was an all-state baseball player as a junior and is currently hitting .497 while playing the outfield. He has also recorded the fastest time in North Carolina high school track this spring with a 10.47 clocking in the 100 meters.

Contact: Rick Strunk (919-962-2345)