CHAPEL HILL --- Two Burke County athletes, Ali Ford of Morganton Freedom High School and Tyler Shatley of East Burke High School, have been named winners of the 2009 Athlete of the Year awards by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
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 E, Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus during the NCHSAA's Annual Meeting on Thursday.
Both of the winners were 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 have tremendously impressive credentials along the lines of the previous outstanding winners of this award, and we certainly wish them the best in the future."
Shatley is a tremendous three-sport athlete, excelling in football, wrestling and track.
In football, he was a star who was the 2008 Northwestern Conference Player of the Year as a fullback, defensive lineman and punter. During the 2008 campaign he rushed for 792 yards and scored 18 touchdowns while recording 51 tackles and three sacks. The team captain also punted for better than a 40-yard average. He was named to several all-star teams in that sport and played in the Shrine Bowl.
In wrestling, he was a two-time Northwestern Conference champion and Western Regional champion and was the state runner-up in the heavyweight classification in both 2008 and 2009. He had a record of 34-1 with 29 pins this season and was 38-1 in the 2007-08 year.
He is currently competing in track and field, but Shatley is the defending state champion in the shot put and set an East Burke school record last year with a toss of 58 feet, 1 inch. He was fifth in the state in the discus in 2008 as well. A stellar student who is a member of the National Honor Society with a 4.58 weighted grade point average, he will attend Clemson University next year on a football scholarship.
Ford has had a remarkable high school career, earning an amazing 18 varsity letters and 12 all-conference recognitions. She has participated in three varsity sports for four years each, including golf, basketball and softball, ran cross-country three years while playing tennis for two seasons and running track as a freshman. She has played five sports during her senior year.
She played in the women’s golf state championships all four years at Freedom and was runner-up for the conference player of the year honor in that sport. In basketball she earned the Northwestern Conference Player of the Year award this year and finished her career with 2,502 points, seventh best all-time in the NCHSAA in the five-player game. She also hit 286 three-point field goals during her career, the fifth best mark all-time. Ali was chosen to play in the North Carolina-South Carolina all-star game in Myrtle Beach, where she won the three-point competition and set a new game assist record.
In softball, she was runner-up for the league player of the year award last year and will be a four-time all-conference, all-district and all-region selection. She is an outstanding shortstop who is also one of her team’s top hitters. Ford has signed a basketball grant-in-aid with Elon University.
Contact: Rick Strunk (919-962-7786)