It was about a year ago that Darren McFadden, a former Arkansas Razorback and Dallas Cowboy, greeted hundreds of award winning high school athletes at the inaugural Times Record Best of the Best River Valley All-Star Banquet. Now, Alex Collins of similar college and professional football fame will do the same on June 8.
The 2018 version of the River Valley All-Star Banquet will welcome another strong class of local high school athletes across Arkansas and Oklahoma. Among the many will be five Mansfield Tigers.
Nicodemus, a junior, was recognized for her achievements in softball. For the Lady Tiger diamond team she was a central figure. Team statistics showed she led in stolen bases, on base percentage, batting average, and slugging percentage. She was the overwhelming pick for Offensive Player of the Year for Mansfield. Conference coaches recognized that talent as well by selecting her to the All-District and All-State squads. She returns next season as one of the leagues most experienced pitchers.
Willsey, a baseball junkie by his own admission, made the All-Star event for the second time as well. An all-around force on the baseball field, he was named to the 3A District 1 All-District team for the second consecutive season. A high volume hitter as well as reliable pitcher and infielder, Willsey will lead the Tiger attack next season as a four year starter.
Weaver received her invitation because of her dominate performances on the volleyball floor. This past volleyball season she was awarded All-State honors out of the 3A-4 District. She was Mansfield’s Offensive Player of the Year and the Overall Player of the Year. This was her second time to be named the Lady Tiger Volleyball Player of the Year. She returns to the court next season as a senior.
James, a senior, made the All-Star Banquet for the second time in its two years of existence. He was a four year starter on the Tiger baseball team helping it win three conference championships. He received All-District and All-State honors as voted by the 3A Region 1 conference coaches. He was the Mansfield Offensive Player of the Year as well as one of its most dominate defensive players. At the yearend MHS Booster Club Sports Banquet, James received the T. Franklin Boyd Male Tiger Athlete of the Year plaque.
Rose, the most decorated of the Mansfield Tiger sports family this past season, received an invite because of her outstanding performances in both cross country and track. The college bound senior runner was a four time district champion in cross country and a state indoor and outdoor track fixture. She was named the 2017-2018 T. Franklin Boyd Female Tiger Athlete of the Year, Cross Country Athlete of the Year, and Track Athlete of the Year.
Megan Rose and Rylea Weaver were already named to the prestigious banquet back in the fall. After the spring sports were concluded, Rose received a second invitation along with newly elected members Brennan James, Caroline Nicodemus, and Hunter Willsey.
The River Valley Best of Best Banquet invites hundreds of athletes, coaches, and state championship teams from multiple counties in the Times Record readership area. The nearly three hour event offers attendees a formal look back at an outstanding athletic season through pictures, videos, and speeches. A catered meal in a first class setting at the Fort Smith Convention Center tops off the highlight evening.