Versatile Paul London of Bethel and Jackie Pratt of Middlesex were named the Daily Press' male and female high school Athletes of the Year at the annual spring sports banquet co-sponsored by the Peninsula Sports Club Thursday night at the Hampton Holiday Inn.
London, who will attend the University of Virginia on a football scholarship, starred in football and baseball for Bethel.
He passed for 1,134 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall in his first season at quarterback. This spring, he led the Bruins to the Peninsula District baseball title, hitting .492 with 30 runs batted in.
Pratt, who also won the award in 1990, will attend James Madison University on a basketball scholarship.
She averaged 25.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in leading the Chargers to the state Group A basketball semifinals last fall.
Last month, she scored all 44 of her team's points in leading Middlesex to the girls' state Group A track championship. Pratt scored in six events, including a first place in the 300 hurdles.
The other four finalists were Kecoughtan swimmer Kurt Jachimowski, Denbigh distance runner Tony Sawyer, Phoebus basketball player La-Keshia Frett and Ferguson track, hockey and basketball performer Lenny Van Eekelen.
Eighteen Players of the Year in 17 sports were honored as well as the Daily Press' all-star girls' and boys' basketball teams.
Purnell urged the athletes to be aware of the importance of being leaders and role models for their peers.
``You are special people and should use your talents to be successful in life because others are looking up to you,'' Purnell said. ``You're in a great position to influence others.
``University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias, the best athlete I've ever been around, didn't die in vain if athletes like yourselves understand you are special and don't step down to the group.''