LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos quarterback and future Hall of Famer, will be the keynote speaker for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's All Arkansas Preps awards banquet, sponsored by St. Vincent.
The event is this Saturday from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Wally Allen Ballroom in the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock and tickets are on sale now to the general public for $75. (must be purchased online in advance) The ticket price includes a sit-down dinner. Manning will be the banquet's featured speaker and will sit down with emcee Keith Jackson, former NFL star, for a question and answer segment. The banquet is to honor the 300 student athletes who have been chosen for the 2012-2013 All Arkansas Preps teams. More than 1,000 will attend the invite including student athletes, parents, sponsors and the general public.
Other special guests and former college/professional athletes from Arkansas will also be in attendance to show their support for these students: Shawn Andrews, former Razorback and NFL three-time Pro Bowl and two-time All Pro; Reggie Swinton, former Central High School athlete and former NFL wide receiver/punt returner; Matt Jones, former Razorback and NFL player; David Bazzel, Cedric Cobbs, former Razorback and NLF athlete; former Razorback; Pat Bradley, former Razorback.
All Arkansas Preps celebrates high school athletes from across the state and their accomplishments in eight different sports. An editorial committee from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette picks first, second and sophomore male teams in football, basketball, baseball and soccer, and female teams in basketball, softball and soccer. Male/female teams in golf, tennis and track are chosen through Overall and Meet of Champs statewide competition. The committee polls coaches and media members from across the state for team recommendations, taking into account individual statistics and team success from the previous season.
"The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a long history of honoring athletes in our home state, but this takes it to a new level. I am personally excited about our role in this great new event that will recognize the best high school athletes," said Wally Hall, Assistant Managing Editor/Sports for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The Outstanding Players in each sport have already been decided and are: Girls Tennis: Mary Wright, Lakeside High School; Boys Tennis: Julio Olaya; Pulaski Academy; Girls Golf: Summar Roachell, Conway High School; Boys Golf: Landon Hearnes, Central Arkansas Christian; Football: Drew Morgan, Greenwood High School; Girls Basketball: Tyler Scaife, Hall High School; Boys Basketball: Bobby Portis, Hall High School; Baseball: Trent Finley, Harding Academy; Softball: Rachel Box, White Hall; Girls Track: Kelsey Hermann, Crossett; Boys Track: Mark Guffin, Little Rock Christian; Girls Soccer: Tayler Estrada, Bentonville; Boys Soccer: Wes Carson, Fort Smith Southside.
The Overall Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year will be announced at the banquet. For a complete list of athletes and coaches selected, visit www.allarkansaspreps.com
Other awards will be given to honor special athletes that have made an impact on and off the field. St. Vincent will present an award to a student athlete who has overcome a health challenge to excel in one of the eight sports. The P.A.R.K Education Award will recognize one athlete who has made great achievements on the field and in the classroom. The Hussman Award will be presented to an athlete who has excelled off the field in his/her community. All those honored will be chosen by committee from entries submitted by high school coaches and the general public.
The All Arkansas Preps event is also sponsored by Metropolitan Bank, Academy Sports and Arkansas Select Buick GMC Dealers.