Ten local athletes have been announced as finalists for the Dawson County News Athlete of the Year Award, which will be celebrated at a banquet event in mid-May.
Joakeim Celestin, Jaden Gibson, Luke Hamby, Brendan Swafford and Kinkade Weaver were named as the five male finalists and Maddie Anglin, Caroline Cranford, Bella Henson, Emily Kurtz and Kirklyn Porter were named as the five female finalists.
Celestin is a senior who spent his first season on the Dawson County varsity basketball team after transferring from Forsyth Central High School in Cumming. Celestin previously won Region Player of the Year, voted on by basketball coaches throughout Region 7-3A. He also finished Third Team All-State for 3A and a North Georgia All-Star game participant.
Gibson was nominated on the All-Region team for both basketball and football in 2020. The Tigers football coaches named him the Player of the Year as he threw, caught and ran for a touchdown. On the basketball court, Gibson had a team-high 18 assists in a game and was nominated for the North Georgia Underclassmen All-Star game.
Hamby is part of the DCHS track team’s 4x800 team that has broken the school’s record three times this season. He had the fastest time at the boys cross country state championship on a Tigers’ team that won silver, with the 13th best time in the state.
Swafford was another part of the cross country team that finished second in the state. During his time at DCHS, Swafford was also part of the swim team and played first singles for the boys tennis team. He finished with seven wins on the tennis team and the fastest 50 free time for the swim team at 29.20 seconds.
Weaver played varsity football and baseball all four years for the Tigers. Weaver led the Tigers’ defense in tackles this season and committed to Reinhardt University where he will continue his football career. He is hitting above the .300 mark on the Tigers baseball team with one series against Lumpkin County left.
Anglin scored the 1,000th point of her basketball career at the end of her senior season with the Lady Tigers. She was nominated to the All-Region team and played in the North Georgia All-Star game. She averaged 17.6 points per game throughout the season and also played for the Tigers’ golf team.
Cranford was a part of the Tigers’ competitive cheerleading team that won their region this season and finished third at the state tournament. Cranford was voted onto the All-Region team and won the 2021 Dawson County Most Valuable Player.
Henson played varsity softball all four years of her career at DCHS. Henson hit four home runs and drove in 20 runs at the plate. She added 24 hits and scored 21 runs, good enough for an All-Region team nomination. Despite injuries, Henson played on the basketball team as well.
Kurtz played on the softball team with Henson, starting in center field. She added 14 hits and stole seven bases. Kurtz also tied the track and field girls’ pole vaulting record at 7 feet 6 inches. Outside of school, Kurtz is nationally ranked in Crossfit for her age group.
Porter led the Tigers’ volleyball team with 85 kills and 36 aces. She added 129 assists and 93 digs. On the basketball court, Porter scored nine points per game and recorded four assists per game. She was an All-Region honorable mention and played in the North Georgia Underclassmen All-Star game.
The DCN Athlete of the Year Awards Banquet will be held on May 12 at Cold Creek Farms in Dawson County.