We all know at this point things didn’t go according to plan, especially in track and field, where almost no one got in a true meet in 2020. We still knew who the front-runners were for Athlete of the Year, and taking the honors back-to-back is Union County’s Zoe Sanchez.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2020: 3 1st Place Finishes (2x 1600, 1x 3200)
- 1600 M: Region Champ (’19), Runner-up (’18), 3rd (’17) / State Runner-up (’19), 9th (’18), 13th (’17)
- 3200 M: 2x Region Champ (’19 & ’18), Runner-up (’17) / State Champion (’19), 5th (’18), 7th (’17)
- PR: 5:44 (1600) / 11:52 (3200)
The senior distance champion was likely going to win another one or two state titles. She already had one in track and field and two in cross country. She goes down as an all-time great.
- Zoe Sanchez – 48.75 pts (6 1st-place votes)
- Anna Moore – 44 (4)
- Jada Pittman – 32.75 (3)
- Reid Kafsky – 24 (2)
- Rachel Lovell – 24 (1)
- Lauren Massey – 16
- Dasha Cannon – 6.5
Voting for Player of the Year is performed by an internal voting panel consisting of mostly local sports reporters, as well as a small group of former officials, former players, and former coaches. The panel ranks the finalists in order, producing a Heisman-style voting point total.
HISTORY OF T&F ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
2020 – Zoe Sanchez – Union Co SR Distance
2019 – Zoe Sanchez – Union Co JR Distance
2018 – Rachel Gearing (White Co SR Jump/Sprint) & Anna Davis (Tallulah Falls SR Hurdles)
2017 – Rachel Gearing – White Co JR Jump/Sprints
2016 – Kate Massey – Commerce SO Distance
2015 – Jenna Gearing – White Co JR Distance
2014 – Sally Woerner – White Co SR Hurdles/Throw
2013 – Jenna Gearing – White Co FR Distance
2012 – Jessie Dotson – White Co SR Distance
2011 – Madalyn Walters – Dawson Co JR Distance
2010 – Madalyn Walters – Dawson Co SO Distance
Sanchez is the fourth to claim the honor more than once, and the third to go back-to-back. All four multiple-time winners are distance runners. It marks only the fifth time a senior has taken the hardware, but the eighth time it has gone to a distance runner.
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE
With Sanchez graduating, as well as Moore (Jefferson), Kafsky (Tallulah), and Lovell (White), that brings back Jada Pittman (Jefferson), Dasha Cannon (White), and Lauren Massey (Commerce) as those who will be back next year. Moore would be the early favorite based on this year’s voting, but keep in mind this season we didn’t truly get to see the new standouts of the future. It could be anyone, including possibly Commerce freshman Paden Bell.
POY Graphic (Framed 11×17) – Zoe Sanchez
POY Graphic (Framed 11x17) - Zoe Sanchez