The first wave of invitations went out for the Best of River Valley All Star Preps Banquet. Among the 54 student-athletes receiving the call so far, are a pair of Mansfield Lady Tigers.
The third annual sponsored event recently announced some of the top athletes from 8 counties and 2 states. Squarely engraved on the opening lists were Mansfield’s Rylea Weaver and Faith Rainwater.
Weaver, an All-State senior, was among 16 area volleyball players to be included on the formal banquet’s invitation list.
Rainwater, one of 9 female distance runners to receive an invitation, earned All-State status as a freshman this past cross country campaign.
The large scale event that will be held at the Fort Smith Convention Center on May 30, 2019 will offer individual awards for athletes and coaches. It will begin with an upscale catered meal, offer video highlights, and feature Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Douglas, an Olympic gold medalist, is the first African-American gymnast to win both the individual all-around title and team title in the same year. She will be the guest speaker.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Weaver who also earned an invitation for her volleyball talents at last year’s BOP banquet. “It’s very special. It’ crazy that I might meet Gabby Douglas. She’s an Olympic winner!”
Weaver completed her prep volleyball career this past 2018 season with a trip to the state tournament. She has twice been Mansfield’s player of the year. She has received All-District and All-State honors as well as many local statistical awards throughout her high school career.
New to the high school scene, Rainwater was in awe of her post season recognition.
“I’m really excited about it,” exclaimed Rainwater, a rookie distance runner that moved to the high school team for the post season. “I’m glad I made it. I’m a little nervous about the big crowd.”
Rainwater packed a powerful punch in a short period of time. She began the year as Mansfield Junior High’s number one runner. She finished the season as the high school’s number one, and the class 3A state’s 12th best finisher.
After moving to the senior high squad, the tiny distance racer swept up post season accolades as if she was running with a broom and a dust pan. Her individual honors this season alone included: 3A-1 West All-District, Top 25 All-Region, AAA All-State, River Valley All-Star, and now Best of Prep River Valley All Star.
To date, only BOP athletes representing tennis, volleyball, and cross country have been revealed. As the school year continues and more championship rounds are played, the remaining nominees from other sports will be announced.
In the future, look for players representing golf, football, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, baseball, softball, and track to be listed.