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Athletes of the Year: Central Florida

5/18/2009

Editor's note: ESPN RISE Magazine honors the top individual athletes in each of the magazine's 25 regions. Disagree with our choices? Vote for your favorite athletes here. And check out the honorees from other regions here.

Boys' Athlete of the Year

ERIC GRAJALES
Brandon / Wrestling
Is Grajales the greatest wrestler ever to come out of Florida? Only time will
tell, but one thing is for certain: He put together a high school resume that
isn't likely to be topped. Over four years, Grajales compiled a 218-0 record,
winning four individual state titles for the legendary Brandon program. He
has also captured four national titles and made the U.S. Olympic Trials last
year. This season, Grajales won the state crown at 135 pounds and led the
Eagles to yet another team title. He will attend the University of Michigan.

OTHER FINALISTS

KEITH CLANTON
Orlando Christian Prep / Basketball
UNC-bound forward John Henson of Sickles was the McDonald's All-American,
but the UCF-bound Clanton delivered a second straight title for OCP,
averaging 18.2 points, 12.5 boards, and nearly four blocks and four assists.

DENTARIUS LOCKE
Chamberlain / Track
Last year's Class 4A state 100 champ, the Tennessee-bound senior posted personal
bests in winning the 100 (10.35) and 200 (20.99) at the Hillsborough County
Championships. Both were among the best times in the nation this spring.

PATRICK SCHUSTER
Mitchell / Baseball
A Florida-bound southpaw with an unorthodox delivery, Schuster set the
state record by throwing four consecutive no-hitters -- all against good competition.
He was virtually unhittable all season.

Girls' Athlete of the Year

JESSICA YINGLING
Timber Creek / Volleyball
Tallying 517 kills, 363 digs, 46 aces and 17 blocks on the season, Yingling led
Timber Creek to a 31-2 record and the Class 6A state championship in her
final campaign. A 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter, she racked up 20 kills and 15
digs in the championship win over Royal Palm Beach. Yingling, who will play
for the University of Tampa next season, was named Gatorade State Player of
the Year, Miss Volleyball by the Florida Dairy Farmers, and All-Central Florida
Volleyball Player of the Year by The Orlando Sentinel.

OTHER FINALISTS

CORINNE SHOWALTER
Sarasota Riverview / Swimming
Showalter, a senior, led the Rams to a three-peat with her third consecutive
500 freestyle title at the Class 3A state meet. She also placed second in the
200 IM and anchored the winning medley relay team.

KAYLA BALA
George Jenkins / Soccer
Her team fell just short of capturing a second consecutive Class 5A state title,
but the Florida-bound senior midfielder and NSCAA/adidas All-American was
arguably the best player in the state this winter.

KAYLA HALE
Holy Trinity / Cross Country + Track
A four-time state cross country champion and three-time qualifier for Foot
Locker nationals, the Duke-bound Hale -- who also had five track golds entering
this spring -- will go down as one of the state's premier distance runners.