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Coaches, athletes with local ties among nominees for 2018 Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year Award

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Northern Kentucky is well represented on the list of nominees for the 2018 Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year Award that’s sponsored by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.

CovCath guard C.J. Fredrick was named most valuable player in the boys state basketball tournament.

Media members from around the state are asked to submit ballots for the annual award. The list of eligible candidates includes any athlete, coach or sports administrator at any level who is from Kentucky or is affiliated with a team in Kentucky.

Two high school coaches on the list of nominees selected by the Lexington Herald-Leader are Covington Catholic basketball coach Scott Ruthsatz and Beechwood football coach Noel Rash. They both led their teams to state championships during the 2018 calendar year.

C.J. Fredrick, the leading scorer on CovCath’s basketball team, is also a candidate. He was named most valuable player in the state tournament after scoring 111 points and shooting 63 percent from the field in his team’s four victories.

Two highly successful college basketball coaches that media members are asked to consider for the prestigious award are John Brannen at Northern Kentucky University and Jeff Walz at the University of Louisville.

Walz, who graduated from Highlands High School, guided the Louisville women’s team to the NCAA Final Four last March and finished with 36-3 record. Brannen took the NKU men’s team to the NIT after winning the Horizon League regular season title.

Notre Dame graduate Morgan Hentz was named co-most valuable player on Stanford’s national champion volleyball team.

Highlands senior pitcher Drew Rom received a nomination for being named Mr. Kentucky Baseball last June. He won two games in the state tournament to finish with a 10-6 record and had 135 strikeouts in 80 innings.

Morgan Hentz of Lakeside Park put her name on the list by being named co-most valuable player in the NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament after her Stanford University team won the championship match in December. She’s a graduate of Notre Dame Academy.

The winner of the 2018 Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year award will be announced Jan. 30 at the Bluegrass Sports Awards Banquet in Lexington. Results of the voting will be posted on kentucky.com and in the Herald-Leader newspaper on Jan. 31.

The list of past award-winners includes Boone County gradate Shaun Alexander and Newport Central Catholic graduate Eddie Eviston, who were both outstanding football players.

Alexander won the award in 2005 after he was named the NFL’s most valuable player as a running back for the Seattle Seahawks. Eviston won the award in 2001 after he received his third consecutive NAIA Player of the Year award as quarterback for Georgetown College.

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