Devin King and Mason Vicknair Earn Top Athlete Recognition for June and July park
Pole vault star Devin King from Southeastern Louisiana and baseball standout Mason Vicknair have been selected as the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athletes of the Month for June and July, respectively. The monthly award-winners are chosen in voting by the Greater New Orleans Sports Award Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
King, a sophomore from Kentwood, earned All-American status in the pole vault for the second straight season with a third-place finish at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships on June 8 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. King, who set the meet record at the Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Track & Field Classic in 2013, cleared 17 feet, 10.5 inches. Tennessee senior Jake Blakenship won at 18-4.5 with Virginia Tech sophomore Torben Laidig second at 18-2.5. King was also third at the indoor championships in March. He is the eighth two-time All-American in Southeastern track history.
In July, Vicknair, playing for the Pedal Valves Cardinals, tossed a complete game in the American Legion district championship game vs. Townsend Homes, allowing just five hits, while walking three and striking out 10 to pick up the win. In the state championship game against Ponstein's, Vicknair tallied another complete game, allowing just four hits, walking one and striking out 11 in another victory. In two critical postseason contests, he posted a 1.00 ERA with 21 strikeouts, allowing just nine hits and four walks over 18 innings. As a batter, Vicknair blasted five home runs in the month of July and batted .392. The Cardinals closed the summer with a 29-8 record after being eliminated in the Mid-South Regional in Little Rock, Ark., on Aug 3-7th.
Other June nominees included Nicholls State softball star Amanda Gianelloni, who was one of 40 finalists for the 2016 USA Baseball Women's National Team roster; 13-year old amateur boxer Alexis Lavarine, who won the Title National Championship in the 125-pound weight class; and Southern Miss' Thomas Peters, a Brother Martin graduate, who placed second in the javelin at the 2016 USATF Junior Outdoor Championships.
July featured five other nominees. Two more baseball stars had standout months as Cyle Clayton keyed an excellent month for Ponstein's American Legion baseball team, picking up three wins on the mound while hitting .386 at the plate; former Delgado star and current LSU standout Cole Freeman led the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League in batting with a .374 average. A pair of track standouts were also in the July mix as West Jefferson High star Tahja Mitchell won an age group (17-18) national title in the 400-meter dash at the AAU National Club Championships while representing Press Park Track Club; and UNO's Michael Nicholls a native of Bridgetown, Barbados, earned a sixth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championship in Bydgoszcs, Poland. Also nominated for July was Lavarine, who captured the 132-pound title, her third straight USA Boxing Ringside World Championship.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee has been selecting an Amateur Athlete of the Month each month since 1957. The athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region in order to be eligible. Each of the monthly award winners will be honored in the summer at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.