Top high school athletes from Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Jacksonville honored

·3 min read

The wait finally ended Monday night.

After releasing dozens of All-Area teams up and down the coast, beginning last November and running through this month, the Finalists and Players of the Year for each high school sport were announced at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach.

Gannett's annual Sports Awards Show returned to an in-person event for the first time since 2019 on Monday, with nearly 600 student-athletes, parents and coaches in attendance from the Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Greater Jacksonville areas.

The show, which featured Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer Andruw Jones as the guest speaker, was produced with the support of Halifax Health and Amish Home Furnishings.

The event was part of the USA Today High School Sports Awards program, the largest high school sports recognition program in the country.

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The News Smyrna Beach beach volleyball team was named Team of the Year for Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns during Monday's show.
The News Smyrna Beach beach volleyball team was named Team of the Year for Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns during Monday's show.

"It's so nice to see all this young talent around the country," said Jones, a five-time All-Star who played from 1996-2012 and won 10 straight Gold Gloves with Atlanta. "I never finished high school, so I really want to press the kids to have a goal to go to college and get a great degree.

"Coming from the island (of Curaçao), they never gave awards to high school kids ... so this is really awesome."

Monday's event in Daytona, which was a combined show with Jacksonville, honored hundreds of athletes up and down Florida's coast.

Nease track star Rheinhardt Harrison was named the Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns Male Athlete of the Year, while Flagler Palm Coast's Jada Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year.

Orange Park's Josiah Sabino took home Male Athlete of the Year honors for Jacksonville, while Bolles' Jillian Candelino was named Female Athlete of the Year.

Jacksonville's Boys Team of the Year award went to the Trinity Christian football team, while the St. Johns Country Day soccer program was named the Girls Team of the Year.

The Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns area had one overall Team of the Year — the New Smyrna Beach girls' beach volleyball team, which won a state championship earlier this month.

Flagler Palm Coast weightlifting coach Duane Hagstrom was named the Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns Coach of the Year after the Bulldog boys won the program's first ever state title, while Fletcher's Bradley Plummer took home the award for Jacksonville.

Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns and Greater Jacksonville area athletes were honored Monday in Daytona.
Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns and Greater Jacksonville area athletes were honored Monday in Daytona.

The Fletcher girls' soccer team won a state championship in DeLand last February.

"This was awesome for the kids, I'm kind of jealous," Jones said with a laugh. "They worked hard (for this) and I'm happy to be a part of it."

The two final awards of the night went to the Courage Award recipients in each coverage area.

University High's Dre Schulz won the Kayne Finley Courage Award for Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns, while Bolles' Will Moore took home Jacksonville's award.

For photos from Monday's show, and a full list of winners for each sport, please visit www.news-journalonline.com or jacksonville.com.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Gannett honors top high school athletes in Daytona, St. Augustine, Jacksonville