LONGVIEW -- A trio of Harrison County athletes earned top athlete honors on Tuesday at the fifth annual Best Preps Awards program. Marshall’s Brevin Randle was named Football Player of the Year while Anjela Garcia, also of Marshall earned Soccer Player of the Year honors and Hallsville’s Kirah Zulliger was named Volleyball Player of the Year.
The awards program honored the area’s top student athletes – nominated by their coaches based on the students’ GPA, community involvement, the impact they had on their classmates and teammates and their performances in athletic competition.
Guest speaker for the event was Jon Peters, a record-setting high school athlete at Brenham High School in the late 1980s who recently chronicled his own battles with off the field in a book titled “When Life Grabs You by the Baseballs.”
As a senior linebacker, Randle helped guide the Mavericks a 10-3 overall record and a second-straight district sweep, but he has also left a mark off the field.
“He tutors younger students on the football team, and goes over the junior high and helps with younger kids on his own,” Marshall athletic director and head football coach Jake Griedl said. “He’s a member of the FCA, reads to elementary students, helps with senior citizens in the community and has a 3.92 GPA. He’s also a pretty good football player and he’ll be at Stephen F. Austin State University in the fall.”
Garcia played all four years for the Lady Mavs soccer team.
““She is a four-year varsity starter and two-year captain, the first junior in program history to be named captain,” Marshall girls head soccer coach Wayne Borden said of Garcia. “She is on the honor roll every grading period, and has taken college level courses the last two years. She volunteers as a mentor for her youth group at church, is a junior high soccer program mentor and volunteer instructor, volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, soccer recreation league volunteer and referee, Feed My Starving Children Organization Volunteer, Special Needs Field Day Buddy and a member of the National Honor Society, Anchor Club, Interact Club, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and a member of Ready, Set, Teach.”
Zulliger has also made her mark on and off the court.
“Over the past four years in the volleyball program, she has shown you can be a successful student athlete while making time to serve others,” Hallsville head volleyball coach Cara Cullum said. “Her volunteer work includes Pine Forest Youth Group, two mission trips to Belize and 43 community service hours during the current school year. She has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. On the court, she was named District 16-5A Libero of the Year and was a TGCA Academic All-State selection.”
Tatum two-sport standout OB Jones and New Diana teammates and lifelong friends Joelle Newton and Lauren James earned top honors.
Jones, a standout in basketball and football at Tatum, was named Male Student Athlete of the Year, and Newton and Sampson – who competed in nearly every sport offered at New Diana – shared Female Student Athlete of the Year accolades.