SEBRING — Avon Park’s Alfred Brown and Lake Placid’s Breauna Corley were recognized as Athletes of the Year during Saturday night’s third annual All-Highlands Parade of Athletes Banquet at the Highlands Today Center.
Brown had a spectacular year in three sports, excelling on the gridiron, the hardwood, and the diamond. Brown took over as starting quarterback near the end of the season, helping the Devils beat rival Lake Placid for their lone win.
In basketball, Brown guided Avon Park to the Class 4A-District 9 championship while averaging 10.5 points, 2.1 assists, and 3.1 steals. In the first round of the state playoffs, Brown spearheaded a 13-point comeback to beat Tampa Catholic in overtime.
“Alfred started every game for us and was our best on-ball defender,” said Avon Park boys basketball coach Marty O’Hora. “He is a tremendous athlete, was a team player and did anything he could to help us win games.”
Brown was just as prolific in baseball. Playing center field for the Devils, Brown batted a robust .378, scored 26 runs, had 12 RBIs and the senior speedster swiped a team-high 23 bases to lead Avon Park to an impressive 20-5 record and the Class 4A-District 9 championship.
“Alfred’s athleticism, speed, arm strength and competitiveness were great assets,” said Avon Park baseball coach Whit Cornell. “It was an advantage when Alfred was on base because pitchers had to throw a lot of fastballs to give their catcher a chance at throwing him out.”
Brown was recognized as player of the year in basketball and baseball for his efforts.
“It means a lot to win this award,” Brow said. “All the dedication and hard work paid off and winning district titles and this award is a great way to finish my high school career.”
A natural athlete, Corley was a prominent fixture on many Lake Placid athletic teams during her high school career. A member of the Green Dragons soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball teams, Corley gravitated towards softball and volleyball as she matured.
Under the tutelage of first-year volleyball coach Charlotte Bauder, Corley was a terror at the net, compiling a remarkable 193 kills, 52 blocks, 122 digs and 38 aces. Her play helped the Dragons compile an overall record of 25-4. They went unscathed in district play, reached the state quarterfinals before bowing out to Tampa’s Berkeley Prep.
“Breauna has a lot of heart and plays with everything she has,” Bauder said. “She takes everything personally and is a great team player. She was a pleasure to coach.”
When spring came, Corley made the transition effortlessly to softball. A four-year varsity player, Corley batted .302 with 19 RBIs and had an on-base percentage of .466, while playing solid defense from her shortstop, catcher and outfield positions.
“Breauna was versatile enough to play several positions,” said Lake Placid softball coach Alesia Cheshire. “She had a big desire to get better, was very coachable and loves the game.”
Corley was honored for her efforts as Player of the Year in both volleyball and softball. She’ll be attending South Florida State College on a volleyball scholarship, but hasn’t ruled out playing softball for the Panthers.
“It’s such an honor to win these awards,” Corley said. “This was a goal of mine and it feels great to know that all of my hard work paid off. I’m hoping to be able to play both sports at SFSC,” Corley said. “I love both sports and I’m always pushing myself to improve.”