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Voting underway for Breeze Readers’ Choice Athlete of the Year

By Breeze Staff Report - | May 28, 2024

It’s been quite a year for high school athletics in the Cape Coral Breeze coverage area during the 2023-2024 high school season.

The Breeze will be recognizing its Athletes of the Week at the Breakfast of Champions event Saturday, June 1, at Vineyard Community Church. There, each Breeze selected Athlete of the Week for the entire year will be honored.

Additional awards will be given for male and female Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, and team of the Year. There is also a Readers’ Choice Athlete of the Year, with 11 nominees to choose from the Breeze list of this year’s Athletes of the Week. Voting starts today, May 24, and will run until May 31. Voting can be found on the home page of www.capecoralbreeze.com.

The Breeze sports staff has selected the following student athletes to be nominated for Readers’ Choice High School Athlete of the Year:

• Max Brady, Mariner High School: Brady defeated Bradenton Manatee’s Luke Arthur by major decision in the 132-pound final to take home the FHSAA 2A State Championship in the 132-lb weight class. This is the third consecutive state championship for Brady, who finished the season with a 47-2 record.

• Mackenzie De Lisle, Bishop Verot High School: De Lisle finished second overall in the FHSAA 2A girls cross country State Championships in Tallahassee. Her time of 17:52.2 helped pace the Vikings to a fourth-place finish in the team standings. She also won the FHSAA Class 2A championship in the 1600 meters. Her winning time of 4:59.82 was more than a second faster than the next-best competitor.

• Justin Lewis, Mariner High School: The senior two-sport athlete excelled on both the gridiron and basketball court this year once again. He scored four touchdowns in the annual Black and Blue Bowl and was a key starter for the hoops team that went to the state final four.

• Mia Lane, North Fort Myers High School: The junior led a Red Knights team that made it to the regional final with 7 home runs this season, while posting an impressive .516 batting average. She scored 43 runs on the year, compiling 49 hits, and led the team in slugging percentage and RBI with 52.

• Carter Smith, Bishop Verot High School: One of the top quarterbacks in the region showed why he’s a special player throughout the year, setting several Lee County records at his position. The junior helped lead the Vikings to the regional final game. The University of Michigan commit threw 29 touchdown passes and rushed for 19 more, posting a 129.4 quarterback rating. He threw for 2,223 yards on the year.

• Ryleigh Acosta, Mariner High School: The Athlete of the Month for February and University of Florida commit, the senior standout helped the Tritons again return to the FHSAA 5A-3 Regional Championship with an assist in the opening round versus Seminole, and a two-goal, two-assist performance against Naples in the semifinal match.

• Melissa Blaine, Cape Coral High School: Blaine finished second in the 200 individual medley in the FHSAA Class 3A State Championships in Ocala, and brought home a fifth place finish in the 500 freestyle. The senior also contributed to the Seahawks’ 200 medley relay team that came in eighth; and a seventh place in the 400 freestyle relay.

• Saige Thibodeaux, Ida Baker High School: The senior was on top of her game in both volleyball and weightlifting this year for the Bulldogs. The senior was tops in District 2A-13 in Olympic Weightlifting in the 169-pound weight class. Thibodeaux’s lifts totaled 290 pounds. She led the volleyball team with 199 kills, 247 digs and hitting percentage.

• Camren French, Mariner High School: French, with a sparkling 54-1 record at 126 pounds, was a FHSAA 2A State Champion in Kissimmee. The junior captured his first state title winning after twice being a runner-up via major decision against Rylan Herrera of Clay.

• Sophia Kerns, North Fort Myers High School: The senior was a major player in the Red Knights trip to the state championship this year, leading the team in goals with 30. Kerns also was tops on the team with 14 assists.

• Katarina Hagler, Oasis High School: The senior bowler continued her stellar high school career this season, helping the Sharks take home a district championship. Hagler was inducted into the Florida State USBC Hall of Fame for Superior Performance, and set a new state record for high school bowling with her 5-game total at FHSAA state championships, as well as increased another 10 Lee County records along with high average for the county.