Arab athletes – and former athletes – continnue to make news this summer.
Will Hudson on Tuesday played in the North-South All-Star baseball doubleheader Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery as part of AHSAA All-Star Sports Week.
This evening at 6, Arab’s Alex Murray will compete in the North-South All-Start soccer tourn-ament.
Con-grats to those two Knights.
And, tech-nically, former Arab volleyball star Anna Katherine Griggs was honored (yet again) by AL.com for her outstanding career at Arab, particularly her senior season.
This time, it wasn’t an award but a ranking. She was declared the 38th best high school athlete for 2018-19 as part of AL.com’s list of the 101 best high school athletes in this past school year.
Now, I’m not going to get too picky about this because just making this list is an honor (read on).
But the 6-foot-2 AK is one of those once-in-a-generation type athletes and deserves to be a little higher, in my humble opinion. But she’s been well-recognized, especially by AL.com, who named her the All-Huntsville Volleyball Player of the Year award after recording 933 kills, 232 blocks and 122 aces as a middle blocker.
Now, many of the athletes ranked ahead of her played multiple sports and/or did some incredible things. A softball player (No. 4 Libby Baker, G.W. Long) set a new national single-season home run record, for insstance.
And, it’s hard to begrudge Jay Spencer of St. John Paul II coming in at No. 23. Spencer is legally blind but still won the Class 1A-5A state wrestling title at 160 pounds.
AL.com selected him as the Huntsville Male Athlete of the Year.
Spencer finished his senior wrestling season with a 39-2 record, defeated 6A 170-pound state champ Mason Blackwell of Wetumpka at Bama’s Battle of the Best and had his 7-6 decision over Hayden’s Colby Hallmark (58-5) in the state championship match selected as the best 1A-5A match from the season-ending AHSAA tourney.
He also played football. That’s pretty sporty.
And what about Mountain Brook’s Trendon Watford at No. 6. All he did was win Alabama’s Mr. Basketball for the second straight season.
Another wrestler came in at No. 1, and like with Spencer, I was at Von Braun Center when his career ended. Christian Knop of Alexandria competed in wrestling, boys cross country and boys track and field.
The North Carolina State signee and AL.com’s Wrestler of the Year finished with a 71-0 record and won the Class 1A-5A title at 195 pounds. He finished his career on a 235-match winning streak while capturing four titles. He also recorded the most pins at this season’s 1A-5A state championships and he won the senior 195-pound national title. His AHSAA career record is 300-14.
Bama QB signee Taulia Tagovailoa came in at No. 31. Auburn QB signee Bo Nix was ranked No. 5.
I think AK should be a little higher than 38th, but as you can see, 2018-19 was a pretty good year for athletics in the state.
• Now that the seniors have survived their senior trip of whitewater rafting trip down the Chattooga River on Friday, football activities will intensify in the coming days and weeks.
Monday will include team photos at the stadium. Tuesday will include an OTA at Russellville and Thursday will include an OTA date at home.
It’s all leading up to the first day of practice on Monday, Aug. 5.