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Woodard leads way at Parade of Athletes

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:10 PM
TAMPA -

There's just no stopping Riverview High's Faith Woodard, not on the basketball court or the track or at the annual Tampa Tribune Hillsborough County Parade of Athletes Banquet.

For the second straight year, Woodard walked away from the A La Carte Pavilion on Monday with one of the event's most coveted prizes - the Female Athlete of the Year award.

And here's the kicker: Woodard is only a junior.

"Hopefully I can come back and make it three in a row," said Woodard, who averaged 21 points a game in basketball, won the Class 4A state high jump title with a leap of 5 feet, 8 inches and placed sixth at state in the 400-meter run in 56.74 seconds. "To win this two years in a row is really humbling with all these great athletes. I'm so proud to win this again."

Woodard, who is being recruited by Division I basketball colleges from across the country, said she might try playing next fall for the Sharks' volleyball team.

"If it works in my schedule to play volleyball and basketball then I'll do it," Woodard said. "I think I might be able to help the (volleyball team) because I did play a little bit in middle school. I know I'm tall and I can jump."

Woodard was far from the only honoree at the banquet, which drew over 700 athletes, coaches and guests.

On the boys' side, the Male Athlete of the Year, Berkeley Prep's Nelson Agholor, was no less impressive. On the football field, Agholor averaged almost 10 yards a carry as a running back, gaining 1,983 yards and scoring28 touchdowns. By season's end, Rivals.com ranked Agholor as the nation's No. 18 overall football prospect.

On National Signing Day in February, Agholor announced he would play for the University of Southern California, then a few hours later joined practice with the Bucs' basketball team, for which he averaged 13 points, five rebounds and four assists a game, and helped reach the state semifinals.

Overall Coach of the Year honors went to Plant's girls cross country and track coach Roy Harrison and Tampa Prep's boys basketball coach Joe Fenlon.

With Plant's 2011 state cross country title, Harrison became the first coach in the state to win 10 girls team championships. Maybe more impressive is the fact that under Harrison, Plant has qualified for the state meet 25 straight years and finished in the top five 21 times.

For Fenlon, 2012 marked the first time he took home a state basketball title after 29 years, more than 600 victories and eight trips to the state final four. Dozens of former players and hundreds of fans came to the Lakeland Center to cheer Fenlon's first state title.

"We really wanted to win that state title for coach," said Tampa Prep junior guard Josh Heath, who won Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors after leading the Terrapins to a 31-1 record and the state title. "After all those years he coached we wanted to be that special team that got him that state title. I'm so happy that I could have been a part of it."

Sickles senior guard Bre Crum won the Girls Basketball Player of the Year award, averaging more than 20 points a game and accounting for almost 45 percent of the Gryphons offense.

The Baseball Player of the Year Award went to Jesuit pitcher Lance McCullers, a projected first-round pick in the upcoming draft, who went 13-0, allowing just two earned runs in 77 innings for a 0.18 ERA. He also averaged almost two strikeouts an inning.

Softball Player of the Year honors went to Chamberlain's Bianka Bell, an LSU signee, who hit .598 with 13 home runs, 32 RBI and 52 runs scored and helped Chamberlain to the Class 7A state title.

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