The Sun's Big School Athletes of the Year
Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 at 5:28 p.m.
As interest and offers from Division I schools streamed in ahead of this year, Kenric Young and Logan Boss wasted no time showing why they deserved the attention during their senior seasons.
While both would eventually whittle down their college choices to one, it was their versatility as athletes that interested such a wide variety of programs.
Young, a standout 6-foot-2 wide receiver and sprinter at Gainesville High, signed with Utah after leading the Hurricanes for the second straight season with 567 receiving yards and a team-high eight touchdown receptions.
Though he was being recruited primarily as a wideout, Young was also willing to sacrifice time at his natural position to help Gainesville keep its three-year playoff streak intact.
“He wants to win more than the guy across from him,” GHS coach Mark Latsko said. “He definitely played some on the defensive side of the ball this year, especially when we played teams that threw the ball a lot.”
Seeing time solely at defensive back in a 35-6 win at Ocala Vanguard on Oct. 18, Young paced the 'Canes secondary with seven total tackles and three passes defended against a Knights team that led District 5-6A in passing yardage. Gainesville, which held VHS to a season-low output through the air, clinched its second-straight district title with the road win.
“He's just as good as a cornerback or safety as he is a receiver,” Latsko said. “That's just a testament to his athletic ability and his competitiveness.”
An elite speedster, Young continued to shoulder a demanding workload when the Hurricanes began track and field season.
Young, who is also The Sun's Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, had a hand in 21 of the 27 points Gainesville tallied in its fifth-place finish at the Class 3A state meet in Jacksonville on May 3.
Before running the final leg of the 'Canes third-place 4x400 relay team, he blazed to his highest individual results at state after finishing second in the 200-yard dash (21.30) and fourth in the 100 (10.76).
“It was the best way to go out,” Young said. “I knew they had me and looked up to me as a leader. For the last 4x400 meter, I just looked in my teammates' eyes and said, 'Hey, just get me the baton, and I'll give my all for us. We're going to get on that medal stand no matter what.' ”
Boss, who is The Sun's Girls Athlete of the Year for the second straight season, also took the area's top track honor after another exceptional finish at the state championships.
Coming off a Class 1A state title in the high jump for Suwannee last season, Boss set a series of challenging personal goals for her senior season, including clearing 6-foot and repeating as state champion.
While Boss came up short of another gold medal, the future Mississippi State heptathlete placed in three different events, including second in the triple jump with a leap of 37 feet, 2.5 inches, fifth in the high jump (5-2) and eighth overall in the 100 hurdles (15.19).
“I wanted to high jump 6-foot, and I didn't get that, and I wanted to be repeat champion for high jump and I didn't get that either,” Boss said. “But instead of that, I came home with three state medals. So you take what you can get. Are you good at one thing, or are you really good at three things?”
In addition to track and field, Boss has competed on the SHS weightlifting team for the last two years and made the state finals each season. After finishing third at districts, Boss finished among the top 30 lifters in the 139-pound weight class with a 265-pound total, including a 120-pound bench press and 145-pound clean and jerk.
“It was something I did because my weightlifting coach (Seth Stebbins) was also my track coach,” Boss said. “It was just something to prepare yourself for track and kind of keep your body up and it ended up being really fun.”
Suwannee girls track and field coach Eric Rodriguez said Boss' background in weightlifting will have practical applications as she adds two throwing events to her repertoire next year at MSU. Though Boss specializes in short-distance running and jumping events, heptathletes have to also maintain upper body strength to compete in the shot put and javelin.
Before leaving for Starkville, Miss., Boss is set to compete in one track and field meet this summer, the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., from June 13-15.
“I'm kind of taking this summer off, because I know for the next four years it's just going to be so busy,” Boss said. “It's like the better (college athlete) you are the less likely you're going to get time off.”
Young, meanwhile, is making an early move to Salt Lake City on June 13 to take two summer courses. One of three area players to sign with the Utes, Young will be joined on the football team by Fort White's Tavaris Williams and Newberry's Monte Seabrook.
“I've have been watching film for at least two or three months now and have been just going through everything,” Young said. “Me and Monte Seabrook are like best friends now, and we'll be roommates as soon as we get there. I'm keeping up with Tavaris Williams, and he'll be right across the hall most likely. So we're just sticking together, and we're ready to go make some plays.”
Buchholz – Cassidy McDilda, senior (softball, weightlifting); Columbia – Anthony Springborn, senior (weightlifting); Hannah Burns, junior (swimming and diving); Eastside – Wesley Olmsted, senior (swimming and diving); Barry Johnson, senior (football, basketball); Madison Burger, senior (volleyball, lacrosse); Fort White – Kellen Snider, senior (football, weightlifting); Emily Roach, senior (volleyball, weightlifting, softball); Gainesville – Peter Slaton, senior (tennis); Kevin Bolen, senior (basketball); Tony James, senior (football); Jessica Kinsler, senior (weightlifting); Janiah McKay, junior (basketball); Casey Troiano, senior (soccer, lacrosse); Christy Caton, senior (lacrosse); Interlachen – Elijah Nelson, sophomore (football, basketball, track); Jennifer Roberts, senior (volleyball, soccer, track and field); P.K. Yonge – Joseph Janson, senior (cross country, track and field); Kalen McGill, senior (softball); Santa Fe – Tray Presley, senior (football, track and field); Ashtin Strickland, junior (softball); Suwannee – Eric Walker, senior (football, weightlifting).
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)
2012-2013: Sir Jackson (Eastside); Logan Boss (Suwannee)
Note: The Gainesville Sun all-area teams, player of the year and coach of the year were selected by John Boothe with help from area coaches. If an athlete is not represented, it is because the coach did not respond to emails sent to the school requesting information.