Greater Knoxville Hall of Fame announces High School Athletes of the Year

Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame recognizes six High School Athletes of the Year for 2021
Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame selects six High School Athletes of the Year
Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame selects six High School Athletes of the Year(GKSHOF)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:32 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Six East Tennessee athletes are recognized as part of the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame High School Athletes of the Year for 2021.

Kalib Fortner, football, Central High School

Fortner signed to play at Army West Point. He is a three-time All-State selection. Mr. Football Finalist in 2020. In 2018, Fortner started all 15 games and was selected the Class 5A Blue Cross Bowl MVP and the 5Star Preps Defensive Underclassman of the Year. In that same year, Central won the school’s first State Championship title. In 2019, Fortner was named the 5Star Preps Defensive Player of the Year as Central won its second Championship title. He finished the season with 62 solo stops, 23 assists, 17 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, six hurries, two interceptions, 67 interception return yards, six pass break-ups, one blocked punt, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Offensively, he had 10 receptions for 134 yards.

Lance Simpson, golf, Farragut High School

The number 21 ranked golfer in the 2021 class, Lance Simpson has left his mark on high school golf in the state of Tennessee. The Farragut High School product claimed the 2018 and 2020 TSSAA Class AAA individual state titles, while also helping lead the Admirals to the team title last month. Simpson’s 13-under performance during two rounds at the 2020 TSSAA state championships was the second-best tournament score in state history. Simpson also claimed the 2020 Tennessee Junior PGA Championship by eight strokes in June after shooting 10-under in two rounds at Nashville’s Old Hickory Country Club. Simpson will continue his academic and golf career at the University of Tennessee this fall.

Christian Langlois, track, Bearden High School

Christian Langlois capped his senior year off with two record setting performances. At the TSSAA Spring Fling, Langlois took gold and set records in the 100m (10.43) and 200m (21.09) dash. Langlois will attend the University of Tennessee this fall as a member of the track team.

Denae Fritz, basketball, Maryville High School

The Iowa State signee recorded more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, was a two-time District 4-AAA MVP and was named Class AAA Miss Basketball this season, a year after being a finalist for the state’s top individual award. She also led the Rebels to back-to-back state tournament appearances, where she helped them notch their first tourney win in almost a century. Fritz averaged 20.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 blocks during the regular season before leading Maryville to its first win at the state tournament since 1923.

Catelyn Riley, softball, Jefferson County High School

An Ole Miss signee, Catelyn Riley led Jefferson County to the 2019 Class AAA state championship. In her career at Jefferson County High School, she was a 2-time District 2-AAA Player of the Year, named to the All-State AAA team by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association, AAA East Tennessee Miss Softball and as a freshman was the District 2-AAA Tournament MVP. In her senior year, Riley had an ERA of .481 with 235 strikeouts.

Cassie Kuerschen, volleyball, Knoxville Catholic

Cassie Kuerschen is a two-time 5Star Preps Volleyball Player of the Year and helped Catholic reach multiple state championship game appearances. In 2020, Kuerschen was named the PREPXTRA Volleyball Player of the Year. The libero will play for Penn State, a nationally renowned volleyball school.

The dinner and induction ceremony is set for Thursday, August 24th at the Knoxville Convention Center. Peyton Manning, University of Tennessee award-winning quarterback, two-time Super Bowl-Winning Quarterback, Five-Time NFL MVP & Member of the Pro Football HOF Class of 2021, will be the guest speaker. Hospitality begins at 5:30 p.m.; Master of Ceremonies Bob Kesling will make welcoming remarks before dinner at 6:30 p.m.; the induction ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m.

Limited seating is available. Tickets are available for purchase for $200 each, or a table for $2,000.

All proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, which serves more than 6,700 youth and teens at 20 Club locations in Knox, Blount, Loudon and Anderson Counties.

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