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2003 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Lionel Jackson
Albany High
Lionel Jackson was born on March 15, 1985 in Hawkinsville, Ga. He is one of a set of twins born to Bernia Jackson. Over his young life he has become well-known for his athletic abilities, even at a young age playing frisbee. He is a diverse athlete participating in football, volleyboll, track and field, wrestling, basketball, weight training and many other sports. During his years at Albany High, he has earned numerous accolades in track and field, wrestling,and football. He was nominated for the 2001 Indian Heisman Award, has qualified for the AA State wrestling tournament and is a four-year letterman in wrestling and track. Lionel has also been a leader as captain of the wrestling team for three years, and was team captain for every game of the 2002 season in football. Over his years in athletics, Lionel says, "my participation has made some very exciting and special memories."


Cory Knight
Byne Memorial
Cory Knight as an Albany native, Cory Knight has been involved in sports most of his life.  "My dad was my biggest influence, in sports, even when I was young. We constantly played sports and he always knew I would do well as an athlete," says Cory. Right now, Cory is enjoying his senior actiities and is looking forward to graduation. Aithough he is undecided with a college, he does want to pursuit his interest in accounting. Cory would also like to continue playing sports. Cory has lettered one year in baseball and three years in basketball. He has received most Improved Player twice and received an All-State Tournament Award this year. In addition to athletics, Cory is a Regions Bank Jr. Board Member, the senior class treasurer and has been selected as one of Who's Who among American high school students.


Wayne Riles
Deerfield-Windsor
Wayne Riles as a senior at Deerfield-Windsor Upper campus, Wayne Riles is a towering athlete with a mild disposition. He is an All-Region athlete in football, basketball and baseball. In addition, he is All-State in basketball and football. For three years in a row, Wayne has also been Shot Put Region Champion in track. The major influence in Wayne's athletic career has been his father. Wayne says, "My dad has always pushed me to be the best and supported me in the good times as well as the bad times". Outside of sports, Wayne is an active member of Young Life, a Christian Bible group that meets weekly. Wayne will be heading to Kentucky after high school graduation, where he has received an athletic scholarship to the University of Louisville.


Brandon Beach
Dougherty High
Brandon Beach is a natural born leader with that All-American charm. It's amazing he has time for a personal life with all the activities he's involved in. In school he's active in R.O.T.C. as a Battalion Commander. As a wrestler, Brandon has placed second in the AAAA Tournament and AAAA Championship weight class. He also qualified to wrestle at the National Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. Also, Brandon won first place in the Westover Invitational and in the Tift Co. Blue Devil Invitational. Not only has Brandon excelled in sports but was one of the top ten in the Wendy's Heisman Contest for academics as well as athletics. Outside of high school sports, Brandon has been in martial arts for ten years and is currently a martial arts instructor. He is also in the Young Marines of Albany, and on the American Cancer Society Teen Board. Right now, Brandon has two schools to select from and is weighing his options. Both William Penn University in Iowa and Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC have offered him full scholarships.


Kawanna Jones
Monroe High
Kawanna Jones with a grade point average of 4.0 and a SAT score of 1040, Kawanna is well on her way to achieving her next goal. Kawanna plans to attend Albany State University majoring in biology. After college, Kawanna hopes to become a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior and surgery. While at Monroe High School, she has participated in track and field, softball, and basketball. She also has been All-Region 2001-2002 in basketball. Other athletic achievements include being a Softball-Gatorade Will to Win Athlete and captain of the softball and basketball team. Outside of sports, Kawanna excels in her academics too. She is president of her senior class, received the GA Certificate of Merit, National Honor Roll, 2nd runner-up Career and Technology Student of the Year, US Achievement Academy, a Who's Who student, Student of the Year AP US History, Highest Average US History, and US Academic Decathlon Highest Essay (2002-2003). Kawanna is also Youth Advisor at the US 19 Church of Christ and a peer tutor.


Cara Lucas
Sherwood Christian
Cara Lucas is basically an Albany native. She moved here as an infant and has proudly attended all her grades in Dougherty County. As an athlete, Cara plays softball, basketball, and track, and this is her first year as a goalie in soccer. In track, Cara placed 4th in State with 300 Meter hurdles. Her sports participation has earned her All Region in softball from 10th grade to 12th grade and All-Region in basketball all four years. She was All-State in 12th grade and AAA All-Star Team for softball. In addition, she was All-State in basketball from 10th grade to 12th grade, Albany Herald Super 6 Team and 1st Team All-Area, AAA All-Star Team, Region 3AAA Player of the Year and SCA Career Leading Scorer. Cara has just signed a scholarship to Tennessee Tech University where she willbe attending right after graduation.


Tiana Pope
Westover High
Tiana Pope is an established athlete lettering all four years in basketball and track. She has also lettered in two years of softball. Tiana was Region 1-AAA Player of the Year 2002-2003, she was selected as a member of the All-Region 1-AAA Basketball Team 2002-2003 and of the Super 6 Team 2002-2003. In track, Tiana was the 2002 State Runner-Up in 300 meter hurdles, a member of the 400 Meter Relay State Runner-Up Team in 2002 and a member of the 1600 Meter Relay State Runner-Up Team in 2002. Tiana also participates with the AAU City League SOWEGA Magics. Her athletic career will not stop there though. Tiana has three offers so far for college where she wants to major in sports medicine. She thanks her mother for supporting her through trial and error. So far, Augusta State and Johnson C. Smith University in N.C. have offered her full scholarships in basketball and Georgia State University has offered a partial scholarship in track.
   
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