Excellence in sports is often subject to the interpretation of the media who scrutinize every team and every play.
The vast number of sports, teams and athletes can make it hard to develop a consensus definition of what excellence is.
However, The Advocate sports staff had no such issues when it came time to selecting the 2012 finalists for its annual Athlete of the Year awards.
Donaldsonville High’s Devon Breaux, Dutchtown’s Landon Collins and Episcopal’s Vincent Dellocono are the boys finalists, while St. Amant’s Toni Rodriguez, West Feliciana’s Britney Washington and Hosanna Christian’s Laticia Watson are the girls finalists.
The winners will be announced during the Star of Stars awards banquet set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at The Advocate’s administrative offices located at 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd.
In addition to honoring the finalists and the overall winners, The Advocate will also honor the Star of Stars in a wide range of high school sports for their top performances in 2011-12.
All six finalists made their mark in multiple sports during the 2011-12 school year. Five of the six finalists are seniors. St. Amant’s Rodriguez, a sophomore, is the only non-senior in the group. Dellocono and Washington were finalists a year ago.
Donaldsonville’s Breaux is a Tulane football signee. He was voted The Advocate’s All-Metro MVP and the Class 3A MVP after passing for 2,873 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also ran for 975 yards and 13 TDs. In basketball, Breaux led the Tigers to a top 10 ranking and a playoff berth, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds a game.
In track and field, he was voted the Outstanding Boys Performer in Class 3A at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Track Meet, helping DHS finish as the 3A state runner-up. Breaux’s bests included a long jump of 24 feet, 7 inches and a high jump of 6-8.
Dutchtown’s Collins, an Alabama football signee, was one of the nation’s most celebrated football recruits. He was voted Louisiana’s Mr. Football after earning all-state honors on offense and defense last fall. Collins ran for 1,218 yards and 21 TDs and also had 45 tackles, four tackles for loss and returned two of four interceptions for TDs.
There was more to Collins’ sports year than football. He helped Dutchtown win the 5A state title in track with bests of 10.62 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.53 in the 200 meters. Collins was also part of a 4x200 relay team that turned in the nation’s third best time.
Dellocono lettered four years in football, basketball and baseball. He helped Episcopal to the 2A football quarterfinals by passing for 1,470 yards and 16 TDs. He averaged 16 points and five rebounds for a basketball team ranked in the top five all season. In baseball, Dellocono hit .408 with 18 runs batted in and 28 runs scored.
Rodriguez was voted the MVP of the All-Metro volleyball team for Class 5A-4A after compiling 371 kills, 77 blocks and 71 aces and is scheduled to participate in the USA Junior Olympic High Performance Championships.
In basketball, Rodriguez helped the Gators to the playoffs by averaging nine points and eight rebounds. In track and field, she recorded the area’s best mark of 5-4 in the high jump, along with bests of 36-2 in the triple jump and 16-4 in the long jump.
Washington is a Southern University basketball signee who earned All-Metro honors in volleyball for the third time by tallying 457 kills, 92 blocks, 85 aces and 62 digs. She returned from an injury to earn All-Metro basketball honors again with averages of 26.4 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. In track, she had the area’s top mark of 130-3 in the javelin.
Hosanna’s Watson signed to continue her track career at Louisiana Tech last week. Watson was voted the Division V, District 8 MVP in volleyball and compiled 100 kills, 30 aces and 16 blocks and averaged 9.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for an HCA basketball team that made the playoffs.
Watson was voted the Outstanding Girls Performer during the Class B portion of the LHSAA State Track Meet after winning four events and achieving records in three of the four. She set a record in the triple jump with a leap of 37-31/4, tied the 100 hurdles record in 15.94 seconds and broke the 300 hurdles record in 46.64. She also won the long jump (17-6). She also was the Division II indoor champion in the triple jump.