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Meet the winners of the 2024 Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards




The Tennessean’s Middle Tennessee High School Sports Awards wrapped up Monday night at Marathon Music Works in Nashville with a show in partnership with Nissan highlighting the best athletes in the area

Twenty-six athletes from the Nashville area were honored with player of the year awards. The awards show also handed out premier awards for girls and boys athlete of the year, coaches of the year and teams of the year, including an Scholar Athlete Award, School Spirit Award, Courage Award, the Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kaia Jergenson Courage Award.

Here are the list of winners from Monday’s awards show.

Boys Athlete of the Year, sponsored by Nissan

Blades Brown, Brentwood Academy, So.

The Brentwood Academy sophomore tied the TSSAA boys golf state tournament two-day scoring record, with a 6-under, 66, at Sevierville Golf Club to finish at 14-under, clinching his third straight Division II-AA state title in October. He made his PGA Tour debut in the Myrtle Beach Classic last month.

Girls Athlete of the Year, sponsored by Nissan

Claire Stegall, Nolensville, Jr.

Claire Stegall is one of the top female distance runners in the nation, and no Tennessee high school state record is safe. She broke her own state track records in the 800 (2:05.51) and 1,600 (4:35.36) at the Great 8 Invitational this year. She followed that by winning her first TSSAA Track and Field Class AAA 800 state title, setting a new state meet record with a time of 2:08.63. She also won her third consecutive 1,600 state title with a time of 4:58.73. Last fall, she took home her second straight Class AAA state cross country title in a time of 16:56.32.

Boys Coach of the Year

Mark Wilkins, Independence

Mark Wilkins joined his father, Mitch, and his brother, John, among the ranks of TSSAA state basketball championship winning coaches last March when Independence captured the program’s first state title in Class 4A. Wilkins led the Eagles to a 53-44 win over Cookeville. The championship came a year after the team finished state runner-up.

Girls Coach of the Year

Brent Smith, Pickett County

The Byrdstown native, who helped the boys’ program capture the 1990 Class A title as a player, guided the girls’ program to its first state championship in 35 years with a 56-45 win over Moore County in the Class A final last March. Before this past season, he’d taken seven Lady Bobcats teams to state, losing in the state quarterfinal seven times since 2009.

Boys Team of the Year, sponsored by Two Rivers Ford

Pearl-Cohn football

With Pearl-Cohn’s 36-27 win over Upperman in the TSSAA BlueCross Bowl Class 4A state football championship, the Firebirds captured their first football state title in 26 years. They brought the gold ball trophy back to Metro Nashville for the first time since 2008 and Pearl-Cohn coach Tony Brunetti captured his first title on his fourth championship appearance. Pearl-Cohn broke through thanks to a talent-rich team that included a 181-yard, two-touchdown performance from game MVP Zeion Simpson-Smith. Pearl-Cohn finished the season undefeated at 15-0, the first undefeated season in school history.

Girls Team of the Year, sponsored by Two Rivers Ford

Gordonsville softball

Gordonsville captured its second straight Class 1A state softball championship with an 11-1 win over Jo Byrns for the program’s third state title and first back-to-back. Gordonsville was led by Tennessee softball commit Kailey Plumlee, senior first baseman, Kelcie Watts, catcher Bailey Stewart and sophomores Mackenzie Herron and Kailyn Roberts. The Lady Tigers didn’t lose a game in the state tournament.

HERE ARE THE NOMINEES: Middle Tennessee Sports Awards show set for Monday: Here are the nominees in each sport

Baseball Player of the Year

Dominic Monaco, Brentwood Academy, Sr.

Monaco went 8-2 and finished with a 0.82 ERA, to go with 105 strikeouts in 67.2 innings. He also batted .362 with 16 extra-base hits, three home runs and 34 RBIs. The Western Kentucky signee was named the Division II-AA Middle Region MVP and was a Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Division II Mr. Baseball finalist. 

Boys Basketball Player of the Year, sponsored by Slim Chickens of Middle Tennessee

Tyler Tanner, Brentwood Academy, Sr.

The Vanderbilt signee is a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year and captured the DII-AA Mr. Basketball award this season. He averaged 26.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists while guiding the Eagles to the DII-AA state championship game last month. He’s one of three players in Brentwood Academy history to record over 2,000 points in his career, joining Darius Garland and Brandan Wright.

Girls Basketball Player of the Year, sponsored by Slim Chickens of Middle Tennessee

Imari Berry, Clarksville, Sr.

The McDonald’s All-American and Louisville signee averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and four steals while 50% shooting from the field and 72% at the foul line. She led Clarksville to the Class 4A state tournament for the second year in a row. Berry reached 2,510 career points to break Clarksville’s all-time scoring record previously held by former Tennessee standout and WNBA player Bashaara Graves.

Boys Bowler of the Year

William Davis, Columbia Central, Jr.

Davis captured the Division I state championship, bowling a 226 in the championship match. He had a state tournament average of 221.4 pins and is making his second straight All-Midstate team.

Girls Bowler of the Year

Olivia Rush, Friendship Christian, Sr.

Rush captured the Division II state championship for the second straight year, bowling a 181 in the title match. She had a tournament average of 185 while helping her team capture the state title over St. Benedict.

Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year

Miles Ramer, Ravenwood, Sr.

Ramer, a Tennessee signee, captured his second state championship in three years with a time of 15:00.75 in the Class AAA state meet.

Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year

Abby Faith Cheeseman, Webb School – Bell Buckle, Jr.

Cheeseman tied a TSSAA record, capturing his fourth straight DII-A state title and finishing over three minutes ahead of her competitors in a time of 16:44.09.

Offensive Football Player of the Year, sponsored by the Nashville Kats

Braden Graham, Riverdale, Sr.

Graham exploded this season to lead Riverdale to a Region 3-6A championship, beating rival Oakland in the regular-season finale. Graham was 255-of-350 passing, completing 72.9% of his passes for 3,492 yards, 42 touchdowns and only three interceptions while being named Region 3-6A MVP and was a Tennessee Titans Class 6A Mr. Football finalist.

Defensive Football Player of the Year, sponsored by the Nashville Kats

Edwin Spillman, Lipscomb Academy, Sr.

Spillman finished his high school senior season with 87 tackles, 14 for a loss, three sacks. His instincts, speed and athleticism proved to be difficult combination for blockers. He was named TSWA All State team and First Team All-Midstate Large Class by The Tennessean

Boys Golfer of the Year, sponsored by Golfweek 

Blades Brown, Brentwood Academy, So.

He won his third consecutive Division II-AA individual title, shooting 64-66 to finish 14 under. His 130 total score tied the TSSAA boys state championship record. Brown finished with a 66.2 season average per 18 holes. 

Girls Golfer of the Year, sponsored by Golfweek

Karlie Campbell, Summertown, Sr.

The Kentucky commitment won the Class A individual title by 10 strokes, shooting 68-67 to finish 5-under par for the tournament. She averaged 67.5 per 18 holes on the season.

Hockey Player of the Year, sponsored by the Nashville Predators

Ben Sonkin, Ensworth, Sr.

Sonkin’s hat trick lifted Ensworth to its first Predators Cup state championship in March with a 6-4 win over Ravenwood. Sonkin, the team captain and one of only two seniors on the roster, scored two goals in the final period, including one to break a 4-4 tie and another on an empty net in the final 20 seconds.

Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year

Brocks Petterson, Brentwood, Sr.

Petterson scored a team-high 50 goals for Brentwood as it repeated as the Division I-AA state champion. He had two goals in a 6-4 win over Nolensville in the state final. He also had 15 assists, 62 ground balls and 19 takeaways on the season.  

Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year

Charlotte Myers, Harpeth Hall, Sr.

The Dartmouth signee scored 95 goals and added 51 assists, 18 caused turnovers, 49 ground balls and 75 draw controls. This marks her third straight season of being named The Tennessean’s girls lacrosse player of the year.

Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Jack Boring, Brentwood, Sr.

The Louisville signee could shift from midfield to forward and was named District 10 player of the year. He was also named to his third straight All District team after finishing the season with 18 goals and nine assists.

Girls Soccer Player of the Year

Katie Shea Collins, Pope John Paul II, Sr.

The South Carolina signee and U.S. Women’s Youth National Team selection scored 44 goals and added six assists in 15 games, earning the Division II-AA Middle Region MVP honor. 

Softball Player of the Year

Kailey Plumlee, Gordonsville, Jr.

Plumlee was a dual threat on the softball diamond as a hitter and pitcher. The Tennessee commit pitched 149 innings, gave up 32 hits, with 359 strikeouts and a 0.987 ERA while opponents batted just .067 against her. She also  batted .551 with 54 hits, 17 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs and 68 RBIs. Plumlee was also named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

Boys Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year

Spencer Nicholas, M.L. King, Sr.

Nicholas, a Virginia signee, set state and national records on his way to two state titles. He broke the 100 butterfly national public school record in preliminaries (45.44) and then broke his new mark with a time of 45.08 in the finals; the previous national record was 45.47 set in 2021. Nicholas also won the 100 backstroke state title with a time of 46.68. His preliminary finish of 46.58 set the new state record, breaking the previous mark of 46.97 set in 2022. 

Girls Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year

Lilly Robertson, Ensworth, Jr.

Robertson, a Tennessee commitment, won titles in both events for the second straight season. She finished the 200 with a time of 1:49.70 and swam the 100 in 49.80. 

Boys Tennis Player of the Year

Rich LaLance, Siegel, Jr.

LeLance didn’t drop a game, winning in straight sets in all three of his Class AA singles state tournament matches to capture the state championship with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Hume-Fogg’s Elliot Parker.

Girls Tennis Player of the Year

Evelyn Risner, Brentwood, Jr.

Risner captured the Class AA singles state championship with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Blackman’s Ozge Yuksel. Risner captured a quarterfinal win over White Station’s Emma Wang and a semifinal win over Farragut’s Riley Cassity. Brentwood girls also captured the team state championship with a 4-0 win over Collierville.

Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Hudson Allain, Brentwood, Sr.

Allain captured Class AAA titles in both events, breaking the TSSAA state meet record in the 400 with a time of 46.60. That also tied the overall state record. Allain ran the 200 in 21.53.

Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Claire Stegall, Nolensville, Jr.

Stegall set the 800 state meet record with a time of 2:08.63 to win the Class AAA title. She also won her third consecutive 1,600 state title with a time of 4:58.73. 

Volleyball Player of the Year

Kaira Knox, Nolensville, Jr.

The Western Kentucky commit helped leads the Lady Knights to a Class 3A state runner-up finish. She had 516 kills, 326 digs, 87 blocks and 49 aces and was named all district, all district tournament and all region.

Boys Wrestler of the Year

Jarvis Little, Summit, Sr.

Little finished 55-5 and won the TSSAA Class AA state championship by pin. It marked his third straight title.

Girls Wrestler of the Year

Mariana Bowen, West Creek, So.

Bowen finished 44-1 and took the TSSAA girls state championship, winning the final by pin. It’s her second straight state title.

Kaia Jergenson Courage Award, sponsored by Southeast Financial Credit Union

Faith Swaby, Beech, Jr.

Swaby became Beech’s fourth-fastest girls cross country runner in history, following a road of recovery from scoliosis surgery. Swaby had a 63% spine curvature in November 2021 when her family decided to undergo the operation her freshman year. Swaby restarted her training from the ground up, beginning with walking. She was cleared to run in May 2022 and made Beech’s varsity team four months later. She finished 15th in the Class AAA state meet this past season with a personal-best time of 18:55.59, qualifying for a place on the podium. 

Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award

Mike Purcell, Brentwood soccer coach

During his 22-year head coaching run with Brentwood’s boys soccer team, Purcell has 364 wins, more than a dozen district and region championships combined and the five TSSAA state soccer titles. He won back-to-back state crowns in 2022 and 2023. That 2023 team finished 25-0 and ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps. His 2008 state champion team finished 24-0 and held a national ranking as well. He spent eight seasons as the head coach of the girls program (2002-2009) and took the 2008 team to a state runner-up finish.

Scholar Athlete Award

Benton Brown, MBA, Sr.

Brown is basketball and lacrosse player at MBA, who helped the Big Red capture the 2023 TSLA championship. But he’s even more impressive in the classroom. Brown, who will attend Clemson University in the fall, has a total cumulative GPA of 5.02 with an ACT superscore of 35. He’s accumulated 10 AP classes during his high school years with the rest being honors classes. He’s a member of the Honors Society and is in the Cum Laude Society. He’s received the Honorable Merit “Magna Cum Laude” for Outstanding Performance on Advanced prose National Latin Exam.

School Spirit Award

Page High School, sponsored by Nissan

The school spirit contest honors a school where the community goes above and beyond in supporting their athletic endeavors. Page High also receives a $1,000 donation to its athletic program.

Reach sports writer George Robinson at and on the X platform (formerly Twitter) @Cville_Sports. 

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