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Football, basketball stars prep athletes of year

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Associated Press
July 16, 2009
— Quarterback Garrett Gilbert, headed to Texas in the fall, and guard Skylar Diggins, a Notre Dame basketball recruit, were honored as national high school athletes of the year Wednesday.

Gilbert, a senior at Lake Travis High in Austin, Texas, led his team to a 16-0 record and the Class 4A Division I state championship last season. He had a 3.78 GPA.


Diggins, a senior at Washington High in South Bend, Ind., led the Panthers to a 26-1 record and a runner-up finish in the Class 4A state tournament last season. She compiled a 3.92 GPA and graduated summa cum laude.


Gilbert is the third football player to win since the award went national in 2003, joining Matt Barkley last year and Greg Paulus in 2005. Gilbert was 895-for-1,368 and 12,537 yards and 136 touchdowns.


Diggins joins Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Candace Parker as girls basketball winners.


Gilbert received his award from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. Diggins was handed her trophy by softball Olympian Jessica Mendoza and pro beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor.


“Mom, this is for you,” Diggins said, pointing her silver trophy in her mother’s direction.


Gilbert will attend Texas in the fall, where he’ll likely be No. 3 on the depth chart behind Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy and Sherrod Harris.


“I still don’t know if I’m going to redshirt or not,” he said.


Diggins led Washington High to a 102-7 record and four consecutive state final appearances. She will stay in her hometown to attend Notre Dame.


“Luckily for my family, my parents are right down the road,” she said. “We’ve started lifting, conditioning and playing a little pickup ball. We’re going to look to be a powerhouse.”


Diggins’ goal is a career in the WNBA.


“I would like to play basketball as long as possible, but I also would like to be an orthopedic surgeon,” she said.


Gilbert and Diggins join such previous winners as LeBron James, Allyson Felix, Dwight Howard, Candace Parker, Greg Oden, Maya Moore and Kevin Love, all of whom went on to successful pro careers.


They were among 12 finalists for the awards that recognize athletic achievements, academic excellence and character.


The other boys’ finalists were: distance runner Reed Connor of The Woodlands (Texas) High; basketball player Brandon Knight of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; soccer player Dillon Powers of Plano (Texas) High; baseball player Matt Hobgood of Norco (Calif.) High; and decathlete Curtis Beach of Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy.


The other girls’ finalists were: volleyball player Gina Mancuso of Papillion (Neb.)-La Vista High; distance runner Jordan Hasay of Mission College Prep in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; soccer player Rachel Quon of Lake Forest (Ill.) High; softball pitcher Kenzie Fowler of Canyon Del Oro High in Oro Valley, Ariz.; and thrower Anna Jelmini of Shafter (Calif.) High.


Each year, sponsor Gatorade picks national players in various sports. Those winners vie for the two national awards, chosen by a panel of sports media.



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