Big School Athletes of the Year
Published: Friday, June 7, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
SIR JACKSON, EASTSIDE
FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, TRACK AND FIELD
One of the area's most versatile athletes who excelled on the football field, basketball court and track for the last two years, first-team all area in those sports as well. Jackson led Eastside to its first district title in football since 2008, passing for 206 yards with four TDs, rushing for 124 yards and blocking a game-deciding field goal in regulation as the Rams upset North Marion on the road, 42-41, in overtime. The Colts had won nine straight district titles up to that point. On the basketball court, as a guard, Jackson averaged 16.4 points, six rebounds and five assists per game as Eastside, despite a tough schedule, reached the Class 5A regional semifinals. And on the track, he won both Alachua County and district titles in both the 110-meter (15.10) and 300 hurdles (38.85), which he also took home a regional title. Jackson is the first boys repeat winner for this honor.
Son of former Florida Gator and NFL wide receiver Willie Jackson, Sir is heading to Alabama State, signing a football scholarship with the Hornets back in April over Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic. Although he has also played wide receiver and defensive back, Jackson was recruited as a quarterback. “If I come in and learn the system, I should get a shot,” he said. “I can play any position. I just want to play quarterback first because that is what I am comfortable with and have played all my life.” Alabama State, which plays out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, opens Aug. 31 at home in Montgomery against Jacksonville State.
“I didn't expect to win it two years in a row. I did individually what I needed to do for my teams. Winning districts my senior year means the most. That (North Marion) was one of my favorite games of all time. The blocked field goal ... all game I was hearing, ‘You can block it, you can block it.' So when I finally blocked it I was thinking I could have done that the whole game.” — Sir Jackson
LOGAN BOSS, SUWANNEE
VOLLEYBALL, WEIGHTLIFTING, TRACK AND FIELD
Lettered in both volleyball and weightlifting for the first time this season. She totaled 63 blocks as a mid blocker and made first team all-area in weightlifting, taking third at districts and 21st at state in the 139-pound division with a 260-pound weight total. Boss set a school record for her clean-and-jerk lift of 150 pounds. All of this weight lifting was just to prepare Boss for her true love, which is track and field. The 2013 track and field athlete of the year captured the Class 2A state title in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), the Bulldogs' first female state champion in track in 26 years. Her personal best leap of 5-10 this season ranks her among the top 50 in the nation. Boss qualified for three other events at state and placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles. Besides the high jump, she tops the area in triple jump (37-6) and is second in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Only a junior, she has received college inquiries from about eight schools, including Tennessee, Oregon State, Boston College, Mississippi State and Columbia. She is the first Suwannee recipient of this honor.
Boss, who is 15, is already taking college courses through Suwannee's dual enrollment program with North Florida Community College. It is part of the reason she transferred from Branford after her sophomore year. She competed in weightlifting as a way to prepare for track season, and did a lot better than she expected. “I wanted to do something so I wasn't being lazy,” she said. “I'm sure if I work harder over the summer and during the season I can place higher at state.”
“My goal for next year is to jump at least six feet. That has been my goal since I started high jumping, and I never really thought I would get there. But now that I'm this close it seems like it is realistic. When I set that goal I was probably jumping five feet. I wanted to set a goal that would make me push myself.” — Logan Boss
BIG SCHOOL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR HONORABLE MENTION
Bradford: Mackenzie Gault, junior, volleyball, basketball, softball; Buchholz: Eric West, senior, soccer; Jessica Thomas, senior, golf, basketball; Columbia: Laremy Tunsil, senior, football, weightlifting; Hannah Burns, sophomore, swimming; Eastside: Jurnee Pettigrew, senior, volleyball, basketball; Fort White: Michael Mulberry, senior, football, basketball, track and field; Lynce Stalnaker, senior, volleyball, soccer; Gainesville: Ralph Webb, football, track and field; Deja McPhee, senior, basketball; Interlachen: Dijon Green, senior, football, basketball, soccer, weightlifting; Jennifer Roberts, junior, volleyball, soccer, track and field; Santa Fe: Damian Johnson, senior, football, weightlifting, track and field; Kayla Cain, senior, volleyball, weightlifting; Suwannee: Kyle Stebbins, senior, football, track and field; Williston: Tre Wilson, senior, basketball
PREVIOUS BIG SCHOOL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
1999-2000: Gregg Brown (Eastside), Jenilee Garner (Gainesville)
2000-01: Vernell Brown (Gainesville), Khiana Williams (Bradford)
2001-02: Thomas Olmsted (Columbia), Jessica Brady (Santa Fe)
2002-03: Ryan Altenhof (Santa Fe), Candi Hicks (Buchholz)
2003-04: Bo Smith (Buchholz), Bekah Babston (Santa Fe)
2004-05: Avery Barnes (Santa Fe), Bekah Babston (Santa Fe)
2005-06: Tim Shankle (Eastside), Natalie Doss (Buchholz)
2006-07: Linval Joseph (Santa Fe), Wilamena Hopkins (Buchholz)
2007-08: Wiley Sinkus (Eastside), Wilamena Hopkins (Buchholz)
2008-09: John Little (Eastside), Wilamena Hopkins (Buchholz)
2009-2010: Brach Bessant (Columbia), Celeste Gomez (Columbia)
2010-2011: Tim Jernigan (Columbia), Grace Chrzanowski (Eastside)
2011-2012: Sir Jackson (Eastside); Alison Wrench (Fort White)
Note: The Sun's big school athlete of the year was selected by high school sports editor Larry Savage with help from area coaches. If a team is not represented, it is because the athletic director did not respond to numerous reminders by email.