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North Girls Take North-South All-Star Volleyball Match 3-0 over South at AUM Basketball Complex Thursday

   MONTGOMERY – The North All-Stars needed only 65 minutes to post a 3-0 win over the South Thursday afternoon in the AHSAA North-South girls’ volleyball match held at Auburn-Montgomery’s Basketball Complex.
   The volleyball match and the 58th annual North-South football all-star game Thursday closes out the 2017 All-Star Sports Week competition for the 21st annual Summer Conference. The football game was still underway Thursday night at Cramton Bowl.
   The Summer Conference concludes Friday for member schools with special mandatory sessions for member school principals, athletic directors and administrators. It will also feature two banquets, the AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon at noon which recognizes 107 high schools that were fine and ejection free during the 2016-17 school year, and the Coaches’ Awards Banquet at 6 p.m. Both banquets will be at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. A highlight of the Awards fete will be the presentation of the Making A Difference Award to seven individuals, one coach or administrator from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications. The individuals were selected for the positive impact they have made in their schools and communities.
    Two student-athletes, Pelham’s Hasaan Hawthorne and Opelika’s RaKavius Chambers, will also be recognized for capturing the NFHS Section 3 “Sprit of Sport” and ”Heart of the Arts” awards. They were selected from a field that included the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
     The AHSAA Officials luncheon, which is set for  11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Renaissance, will close out the week officially. The Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week has been hosted annually since 1997 by the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
NORTH GIRLS 3, SOUTH GIRLS 0:  Mountain Brook’s Libby Gann had 30 assists, four kills and seven digs to lead the North to the 25-22, 25-16, 25-20 win. The victory improved the North’s record in the series to 14-6.  For her efforts, Gann was named North MVP.
    Karlee Hale of Geraldine and Tierra Porter of Hazel Green had 9 and 8 kills, respectively, on the front line for the North, coached by Coco Tate-Hughes of Hazel Green and Whitney Welch of Alexandria.  Gann also had a team-high three service aces, and Alexis Snow of Danville had 12 digs. Maci Battle of Hazel Green also added nine digs.
    The South, coached by Bridgett Brantley of Opp and Neysa Hernandez of Prattville, was led by South MVP Spanish Fort’s Reilly Vought. She had 14 assists, three kills and six digs. Brantley Rhodes of Bayside Academy had nine kills and four digs, and Caroline Kirkham of Montgomery Academy had five kills.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARD: Seven individuals will be recognized in the Making A Difference Award Class of 2017: Winterboro football coach Alan Beckett (1A); Dale County Schools recently retired associate superintendent Lamar Brooks (2A); Ohatchee principal Bobby Tittle (3A); Bibb County athletic director Charles McCaleb (4A); Lawrence County head football coach Richard Dutton (5A); Chelsea athletic director Janeice Calhoun (6A); and Buckhorn softball coach Alvin Rauls (7A).
   The award, now in its seventh year, was first presented in 2011.
ALABAMA MEDIA GROUP TO PRESENT SEVEN GRANTS: Russellville High School head baseball coach Chris Heaps will be the guest speaker at the 10th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon. A total of 107 high schools, up from 75 the previous year, will be recognized as fine and ejection free for 2016-17. Alabama Media Group has selected eight of the schools, one from each district, to receive a $1,000  al.com sportsmanship grant. The schools are: Blount (District 1); Red Level (District 2); Linden (District 3); Holtville (District 4); Pleasant Grove (District 5); Ranburne (District 6); Hubbertville (District 7); and West Point (District 8).
   The $8,000 distributed this year brings the total to $80,000 since 2008 distributed by Alabama Media Group in support of the AHSAA member schools’ commitment to good sportsmanship.
HAWTHORNE, CHAMBERS EXCEL IN AHSAA: Hasaan Hawthorne, a wrestler at Pelham High School, was selected as the 2017 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School “Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). He was one of eight student-athletes to earn the prestigious section award and finished third in the overall balloting nationally.
    The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
     Hawthorne displayed amazing grit and determination rising from a 12-22 start as a seventh grader to finish undefeated at 38-0 and earning MVP honors in Class 6A as a senior while winning the Class 6A state 145-pound state title. While Hawthorne’s accomplishments would be remarkable under any circumstances, they move into the realm of being truly extraordinary when one considers the fact that he had both legs amputated at the knee at age four months.  His inspirational example of courage and tenacity was documented by ESPN Sports and earned him Class 6A Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award recipient in 2016.
     He now wrestles for North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
     RaKavius Chambers of Opelika High School was selected as the 2017 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School “Heart of the Arts” Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). He was one of eight student-athletes to earn the prestigious section award and finished second in the overall balloting nationally.
    The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify how the arts and athletics represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
    He received the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award for his balance between his love for sports and the arts.  A leader in all aspects of his life, he helped OHS capture first place in the state high school theatrical competition at Florence – playing the lead role of “God” in the play “Children of Eden.” He was also a member of the OHS Show Choir and Symphonic Band. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman helped the Opelika football team reach the Super 7 Class 6A state finals in 2016 earning All-America and All-State honors while also being named team captain. The Duke University football signee graduated with a 4.33 grade-point average, scored a 32 on his ACT test and ranked second in his graduating class of 248.
    Chambers was also named the recipient of the Bryant-Jordan Foundation’s Larry D. Striplin, Jr., AHSAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  The program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant of Alabama and Ralph "Shug" Jordan of Auburn, recognized 52 regional scholar-athlete winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics and 52 achievement winners chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school athletic careers.
     Chambers, who plans to study medicine at Duke University with his goal of becoming a cardiac surgeon, also was the recipient of the Watkins Award, which is awarded annually to the top Afro-American high school student-athlete in the U.S. as selected by the national committee.


NFHS NETWORK:
  The NFHS Network started a special live-stream series July 19 entitled “30 Plays in 30 Days” over the NFHS Network featuring a top highlight from around the country each day beginning July 19. AHSAA member schools are being featured throughout the 30 days – including the first segment on Wednesday, August 4, August 6, August 13, August 14, and August 17. The schools featured include Briarwood Christian, Blount, Prattville, Gadsden City, Madison Academy and Russellville.
AHSAA SUMMER CONFERENCE APP: The week’s festivities can be found on the new AHSAA Mobile App, which can be downloaded free at Apple and Google stores online or by going to the following link: https://admin.mycaboodleevents.com/event/detail/79/ahsaa-2017-ahsaa-summer-conference