News honors 2008's elite

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Buford's Banks, LHS Trueheart are top athletes

By Robert Howey

A pair of multi-sports performers, who distinguished themselves in elite competition, are The Lancaster News’ 2008 Athletes of the Year.

u Buford High School senior golfer Trevor Banks, the Class AA medalist, and Lancaster High School girls basketball star Miteka Trueheart are the top athletes.

Banks, who plays golf, football and has wrestled at BHS, made headlines last spring as the medalist in the Class AA state golf tournament.

Last spring in Banks’ junior campaign, he shot a four-over 148 to win the Class AA state medalist at the two-day tournament at the Village Green Golf Course in Inman.

Banks shot 75-73 over two days to notch the state title by a shot over Broome’s Tyler Comer and Zach Grossman of Bishop England. Banks’ first day saw him post a 75 on the windy course. He followed with a one-over 73 to nab the state crown.

The coveted state title appeared out of reach after Banks began the second round with a bogey and a double bogey. He quickly rebounded to notch a birdie, par, birdie.

Banks highlighted his final round with five birdies and nine pars. He made for an interesting finish with a bogey on No. 17, but deftly sank a 12-foot par putt to seal his state title-clinching win.

Banks’ 148 (75-73) helped the Jackets to an eighth-place finish in the field with a 664.

Banks, the Jackets’ golf MVP, reaped Class AA all-state honors and all-region accolades.

Banks wrestled for the BHS team last season and reaped all-region honors. In football, he was a standout in the Jackets’ secondary and earned second team all-county laurels with 43 first hits, 28 assists, three tackles for loss and six broken up passes.

u Trueheart, a five-year member of the LHS girls’ varsity basketball team, capped her Lady Bruins’ hoops career in splendid fashion.

A two-time all-state pick and a three-time all-region selection, she was the 2007-08 Region III-AAAA Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

Trueheart, The Lancaster News girls’ basketball Player of the Year and the LHS MVP, averaged 12 points, five rebounds and six steals for the 14-7 Lady Bruins of coach Ronnie Robinson.

She capped her prep basketball career, playing in the Carolinas All-Star Classic last spring in the Charlotte Bobcats’ Time Warner Cable Arena, where the S.C. all-stars defeated N.C., 81-66. Trueheart, a captain for the S.C. team, is the first LHS athlete to play in the Carolinas All-Star Classic for basketball.

Trueheart was also the girls basketball MVP in the annual Comporium Christmas Classic at Andrew Jackson High School where she scored 30 points in two games. Her Comporium Classic honor marked the third straight year she was a holiday basketball tournament MVP.

Trueheart was a key performer on the Lady Bruins’ track team, boosting the team with her effort in the 4 x 100, 100- and 200-meter events.

She signed to play college basketball at the University of Alabama at Birmingham last spring.

Bruins, Lady Vols            earn top team honors

The Lancaster High School football team and the Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers’ softball squad earned recognition as the most outstanding high school sports teams for 2008.

u Bruins’ third-year head coach Bennie McMurray, a Lancaster native, led LHS to a 10-4 mark, its best finish since the 2006 season, to earn the male sports honor. The Lancaster High team, a Class AAAA state semifinalist, posted its first winning season since 2001 and earned its first playoff berth since 2000.

LHS had two players reap postseason all-star laurels as senior linebacker Dawan Thompson was named to the 61st annual North-South Coaches Association all-star game and senior offensive lineman William Kirkland was selected to play in the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl.

u Coach Steve Middleton’s Lady Volunteers, who saw their state title run end at two seasons, still produced a stellar season, going 20-11, their seventh straight season of 20 or more wins.

The Lady Vols made a fierce charge to capture the Conference VIII-AA softball championship for the 10th straight season. AJ senior standouts Tessa Faile and Caroline Phillips were selected to play in the annual North-South All-Star softball tournament in Aiken.

McMurray, Middleton    are News’ top coaches

LHS head football coach Bennie McMurray and AJ softball coach Steve Middleton reaped top coaching honors for 2008.

u McMurray led LHS to a 10-4 record this football season and the Bruins were a Class AAAA state semifinalist. McMurray is 196-92 in 22 years as a prep head football coach.

u Middleton guided the AJ girls to a 20-11 record, giving the Lady Vols seven straight seasons of 20 or more wins. AJ also captured its 10th straight region title. In 26 years coaching softball, Middleton is 470-183.

Lady Bruins, BHS golf most improved teams

The Lancaster News’ honors for the most improved sports teams of 2008 are the Lancaster Lady Bruins basketball team and the Buford golf team.

u Coach Ronnie Robinson’s LHS girls, 9-13 for the 2006-07 season, rebounded to post a 14-7 record and earn a Class AAAA Upper State bid as the No. 4 seed out of Region III-AAAA. LHS capped its home schedule, dealing eventual region champion South Pointe its first region loss, 51-45. South Pointe finished the season as the Upper State runner-up. LHS won the Comporium Christmas Classic over the yule holiday break.

LHS senior Miteka Trueheart, the team MVP and Region III-AAAA Player of the Year, earned recognition as the first Lady Bruins’ player to be selected for the Carolinas All-Star Classic in Charlotte. She served as a S.C. captain in the elite game. Trueheart signed with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

u The Buford High  golf team of first-year coach Jeff Moyer had quite a run. The Jackets, after going winless in 2007, earned their first Class AA state tournament berth in 30 years and shot 664 to place eighth in the state. BHS was the Conference VIII-AA runner-up and finished fourth in the Class AA Lower State match. Team MVP Trevor Banks and Taylor Banks each earned Class AA all-state and all-region honors.

LHS’s Catoe, AJ’s Faile   top scholar athletes

The News’ scholar athletes are Andrew Jackson High softball star Tristan Faile and Lancaster High School three-sport standout Michael Catoe.

u Faile, who recently signed to play softball at Francis Marion University, is No. 6 in the AJ Class of 2009 with a 4.49 grade point average. Faile is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as vice-president of the AJ Beta Club chapter.

Last spring, the AJ shortstop  batted .490 with 28 runs batted in and earned the team’s MVP, Best Offensive Player Award and Class AA all-state laurels for the 20-11 Lady Vols.

u Catoe, who plays football, basketball and baseball, sports a 4.125 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society member. He is No. 30 in the LHS Class of 2009.

During the LHS football season, he was a standout for the Bruins as their punter and receiver. Catoe averaged 37.3 yards per kick to earn all-county honors. In basketball, he was the LHS MVP and was named to the all-county team. Catoe is an all-region performer in baseball.