NCHSAA Athletes of the Year Named at Annual Meeting (1997-98)

CHAPEL HILL--- The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has named Clifeteana McKiver (muh-KEE-ver) of East Duplin High School and Julius Peppers of Southern Nash High School as winners of the 1998 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 McKiver and Peppers 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.

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

Peppers is a three-sport star in football, basketball and track, headed to the University of North Carolina on a football scholarship. The 6-7, 250-pounder (who wears a size 19 shoe) was a first-team Parade All-American in '97 and was his team's Most Valuable Player for three consecutive years. He rushed for 3,501 yards during his career and ran for 38 touchdowns while catching passes for six more scores.

In basketball, he was the Big Eight Conference Player of the Year in 1996 and finished his career with the Firebirds with over 1,600 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and over 500 assists. He earned all-conference honors and all-area honors all four years he played. In track, he competes in four events, including the triple jump, shot put, 400 meters and the four by 100 relay, and was third in the state meet in the triple jump in 1996.

Athletic director Ray Davis of Southern Nash says that Julius "is the most unselfish individual I have ever coached. He is truly a phenom."

Among the women, three-sport star McKiver participated in volleyball, basketball and track. She was her team's Most Valuable Player in volleyball but achieved most of her acclaim by being a state champion in the other two sports.

A two-time East Central Conference basketball Player of the Year, she averaged 22.0 points, 13.8 rebounds and 5.5 blocked shots a game this season as her team went 29-0 and won the NCHSAA 2-A crown. She set career marks at East with 1,924 points, 1,330 rebounds and 555 blocks, and was named first team all-state. McKiver will also play in the East-West all-star game in Greensboro this summer.

In track, Teana has been an all-conference selection twice and last year won the NCHSAA state 2-A titles in both the discus and the shot put. She was the Most Valuable Performer in last year's state championship track meet and this year has already thrown both implements farther than she did in winning the state crowns.

An excellent student with a 3.57 grade point average for her senior year, she is headed to East Carolina University to play basketball.

Contact: Rick Strunk (919-962-2345)