CHAPEL HILL — Jannetta Robinson of Pender High School and E.J. Abrams-Ward of Thomasville High School have been named winners of the 2008 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.”
Abrams is a tremendous three-sport athlete, excelling in football, basketball and baseball.
In football, he was a 6-5, 220-pound star who was a linebacker but played quarterback because that is where his team, a perennial power, needed him. During the 2007 campaign he rushed for 1,288 yards and scored nine touchdowns while throwing for better than 2,000 yards and 24 scores. He was named to several all-state teams in that sport and played in the Shrine Bowl.
In basketball he averaged 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals a game and wound up with better than one thousand points for his career. He was an all-Northwest selection by the Winston-Salem Journal on a team that got to the regional finals and he was the Lexington Dispatch county Player of the Year.
A pitcher and outfielder who started late due to the length of the basketball season, he is one of the team’s top hitters and had 20 strikeouts in his first 12 innings as a pitcher, winning his first two starts. He will attend the University of Tennessee next year on a football scholarship.
Robinson has been a star in three varsity sports for four years and recently added a fourth sport. She has played for five NCHSAA state championships in three different sports and has won two in her career.
Her volleyball team had a 96-11 record during her four-year career. She was second on the team in kills and blocks and led her club in digs, earning all-Waccamaw Conference honors in that sport.
She led the Pender basketball team to a 30-2 mark this year and state runner-up finish, averaging 17.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 4.3 assists per game. She was Eastern Regional Most Valuable Player this season and made the Associated Press all-state second team. Her teams posted a 92-26 mark during her four seasons of play.
Softball is perhaps her best sport, as she is the leadoff hitter for the defending state 1-A champions who were 28-2 a year ago. Recently she was batting .545 with an on base percentage of .636. Her teams have posted a 79-12 record in her first three varsity seasons and she was selected as the 1-A Eastern Player of the Year by the North Carolina Fastpitch Softball Association.
And because the team needed her, she tried track for the first time recently. In her second meet, she won the conference championship in the 200 and was second in the 100 and has qualified for the regionals in three different events. She plans to further her education at Barton College.
This is the 23rd year in which awards have been given to the top overall male and female athletes. Previous winners of the award include:
NCHSAA ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Winners of the Pat Best Memorial Trophy
1985-86 Pam Doggett, Dudley Patrick Lennon, Whiteville
1986-87 Andrea Stinson, North Mecklenburg Robert Siler, Jordan-Matthews
1987-88 LeAnn Kennedy, Trinity Chester McGlockton, Whiteville
1988-89 Danyel Parker, Clinton Ethan Albright, Grimsley
1989-90 Karen Davis, Forbush David Inman, Terry Sanford
1990-91 Christy Cagle, Hayesville Mike Kendall, Albemarle
1991-92 Wendy Palmer, Person Rusty LaRue, Northwest Guilford
1992-93 Holly Hill, Southwestern Randolph Tyrone Westmoreland, South Iredell
1993-94 Jamie Parsons, Millbrook Brian Roseboro, T.Wingate Andrews
1994-95 Aedrin Murray, Chatham Central Na Brown, Reidsville
1995-96 Shea Ralph, Terry Sanford Titcus Pettigrew, West Forsyth
1996-97 Jackie Houston, Kings Mountain Tyrell Godwin, East Bladen
1997-98 Clifeteana McKiver, East Duplin Julius Peppers, Southern Nash
1998-99 Anna Tharrington, Southern Nash Nick Maddox, A.L. Brown
1999-2000 Courtney Willis, Terry Sanford Manny DeShauteurs, Brevard
2000-01 Molly Pyles, Hendersonville Derrele Mitchell, R.J. Reynolds
2001-02 Katrelle Armwood, Durham School of Arts A.J. Davis, Northern Durham
2002-03 Anna Evans, Lumberton Drew Williamson, Cummings
2003-04 Eva Baucom, Forest Hills Jim Ollis, Polk County
2004-05 Jessie Sims, West Henderson Terrell Hudgins, Rocky Mount
2005-06 Megan Zullo, Farmville Central Kendric Burney, Southwest Onslow
2006-07 Gabby Mayo, Southeast Raleigh Dee Bost, Concord
2007-08 Jannetta Robinson, Pender E.J. Abrams-Ward, Thomasville
Over 140,000 athletes compete in the NCHSAA’s 21-sport program.