Central Ohio All Star Preps: ThisWeek counting down to awards show

LEE COCHRAN
lcochran@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

ThisWeek Community News will honor the top athletes and coaches in its coverage area with the Central Ohio All Star Preps awards show at 6 p.m. June 18.

The in-person event May 26 was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the online show will feature celebrity award-presenters and hosts.

The show will be available at thisweeknews.com/allstarpreps.

"It's still great to acknowledge everyone's accomplishments," said Pickerington North's Matt Duvall, last year's boys cross country Athlete of the Year and a finalist for the award this year. "That's always a good thing. It was a really nice banquet (last year), really a big thing with a great atmosphere. It was definitely a big deal for me. It was great to win and even get to give a speech. Everyone in the area coming together was nice.

"To get together online is still a big deal. It's better than not having a banquet at all."

Registration is not required to watch the show, during which 247 central Ohio athletes from 22 sports will be honored. In addition, a Player of the Year and a Coach of the Year will be named for each sport. An overall Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year will be named.

"Any time you can recognize the successes of high school athletes and coaches for what they've been able to accomplish over the last year, that's always important," Westerville Central boys basketball coach Kevin Martin said. "A lot of kids have lost out on some opportunities the last few months, but at the same time, for them to be recognized for as much hard work and effort as they put into their sports, if nothing else, it allows those kids for one night to be happy and proud of who they are and what they do and the talents that they are able to use when performing.

"Having it online won't change my mind at all. I'll be watching for sure."

Martin is the boys basketball Coach of the Year and a finalist for the overall coaching award.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will announce the Male and Female Athletes of the Year, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will present the Coach of the Year award.

Other athletes who will announce the Players of the Year for each fall and winter sport covered by ThisWeek include:

*Stephen Curry, basketball

*Venus Williams, tennis

*Michael Phelps, swimming and diving

*Drew Brees, football

*Wayne Gretzky, hockey

*Gabby Douglas, gymnastics

*Jackie Joyner-Kersee, cross country

*Gary Woodland, golf

*Misty May-Treanor, volleyball

*Jordan Burroughs, wrestling

*Norm Duke, bowling

*Rose Lavelle, soccer

*Jessica Mendoza, softball/baseball

*Keli Smith Puzo, field hockey

TV sports broadcasters Jesse Palmer, Sage Steele, Dr. Jerry Punch and Courtney Cronin will host the show.

The sponsors are Nationwide Children's Hospital Sports Medicine, Raising Cane's franchisee RCO Limited and Branch Insurance.

Because of the cancellation of spring sports, those athletes will not be honored as Players of the Year or by the announcement of the ThisWeek all-star teams. Instead, there will be a recognition of seniors who missed their final season as part of a national tribute video that will be shown during the broadcast.

ThisWeek also will participate in a national effort to raise funds locally for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Donate on the event website (thisweeknews.com/allstarpreps) to the “Team Central Ohio Covid Relief Covid Relief.” This national effort will support the United Way, the American Red Cross and Feeding America. The community that raises the most funds by June 20 will receive a matching donation from the USA Today Network, up to $10,000, for those local charities.

The public also can show support for seniors by joining in the national movement with support messages on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #DontStopNow. One person nationally using #DontStopNow will win $1,000 and also $1,000 for the charity of his or her choice. See details on the event website the night of the show for additional information.

lcochran@thisweeknews.com

@TWLeeCochran