Throughout the school year, SoCal Prep Legends has been recognizing the best high school student-athletes in Southern California. As the end of the spring sports season approaches, the SoCal Prep Legends Awards will announce award winners in 11 categories, including boys and girls Athlete of the Year winners, June 10 on KABC immediately following the NBA Finals.
This week, we’ll announce finalists for the awards from KABC and the Southern California News Group that includes 11 news outlets throughout Southern California.
Here are the nominees for Boys Athlete of the Year:
Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills basketball
Regarded as one of the best high school basketball players in the country, Ball led his Chino Hills Huskies to an undefeated season (35-0) while averaging 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 11.5 assists, 5.1 steals and 2 blocks per game. The UCLA-bound point guard totalled a remarkable 16 triple-doubles this season and capped off the season by winning the coveted CIF Open Division California State title. Ball has won the USA Today’s ALL-USA Basketball Player of the Year, MaxPreps National Basketball Player of the Year, and was also named the winner of the prestigious Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year.
Mique Juarez, North Torrance football
Juarez is the epitome of a football player. His speed, size, strength and competitiveness are on display every Friday night, and are the reason this North Torrance linebacker was one of the most recruited prospects in the country. The UCLA-commit finished a stellar high school career by amassing 146 tackles (91 solo), 21 tackles for a loss of yards, five sacks, nine hurries, four deflections, two caused fumbles, and surpassed the school career tackle record of 337 with 397. At quarterback he totaled 3,028 yards of offense and 60 touchdowns this season and finished with 107 career touchdowns.
Michael Norman, Vista Murrieta track
Norman can flat out fly. The reigning 2015 Gatorade National Track and Field Athlete of the Year proceeded to go into the CIF State meet with California state records in 100- (10.27 seconds), 200- (20.51) and 400-meter races (45.51). At the 2016 State meet he became just the second sprinter ever to sweep the 200 (20.42 ) and 400 (45.77) in back-to-back years. Norman ran the 200 in 20.23 (the fastest time in the world this year against a headwind) a week prior of State at the SS-Masters Meet.
Grant Shoults, Santa Margarita swimming
Shoults had a day on May 14 in Riverside that many consider the best high school swimming performance ever. Shoults broke not one, but two, national high school records in the CIF-SS Finals in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle. His 200-time was 1 minute, 33.26 seconds, while his 500-time was 4 minutes, 12.87 seconds. The Stanford signee smashed the 500 record by a full second. The time would have placed Shoults fifth at the NCAA men’s final. Shoults is keeping his sights on peaking at the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June.
Phillip Rocha, Arcadia cross country
Imagine running a year worth of races and never losing, that’s what Rocha did. An undefeated senior season capped off by consecutive CIF Southern Section and CIF State titles had made Rocha one of the country’s best runners at the prep level. He set a course record in winning the Stanford Invitational in 14:32.5 and tied a school record in winning the Mt. SAC Invitational in 14:24, tying for the second-fastest time on the historic course. He finished in the Top 10 in all four of his CIF-SS Final and State appearances and has finished in the Top 10 of every meet since his freshman year.
SCPL Awards Show: The winner will be announced June 10 on ABC7 at the SoCal Prep Legends Awards presented by Toyota.
The show is scheduled to air live immediately after Game 4 of the NBA Finals