(NORFOLK, VA) – Sixteen student athletes from across the state were honored Sunday night as part of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Foundation’s 19th annual Student Athlete Achievement Awards. The reception and ceremony, held in the Priority Automotive Lounge at S.B. Ballard Stadium on the campus of Old Dominion University, featured high school student-athletes from across Virginia that excel academically and in their communities. The event was hosted by the Hall of Fame, with 2019 VSHF Inductee, Wendy Larry, providing keynote remarks.
As part of the nominating process, the Hall received more than 140-nominations, a record for this program, from which 16 finalists were chosen by an awards selection committee. Among the 9-girls and 7-boys, the top four were selected as the Hall of Fame’s Student Athletes of the Year. This year’s winners are;
- Emily Edwards, 12th grade, Galax High School, Galax, VA
- Braden Lee, 12th grade, Lafayette High School, Williamsburg, VA
- Ashlyn Newman, 12th grade, Carroll County High School, Hillsville, VA
- Breyona Robinson, 12th grade, Hermitage High School, Henrico, VA
In addition to being named the Student Athletes of the Year, this year’s winners are the recipients of a $1,250.00 scholarship award to be used towards furthering their education. The remaining 12-finalists were each presented with a $750 scholarship award.
This year’s finalists feature a diverse array of student-athletes that participate in multiple sports, have received numerous academic awards and recognitions, and have logged thousands of hours of volunteer work and community service initiatives.
“The Hall of Fame is proud to honor these outstanding student-athletes as part of our Student-Athlete Achievement Awards” says Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director, Will Driscoll. “Highlighting their accomplishments on the field of play, and their work in school and in the community is in full alignment with our core values.”
The Hall of Fame would like to thank our sponsors for this year’s Student Athlete Achievement Awards: Presenting Sponsor, The Beck Foundation, Priority Automotive Group, Sentara Health Plans, Atlantic Union Bank, Baker’s Crust Artisan Kitchen, DAVCON Inc., and Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1
For more information on upcoming events, visit the Hall of Fame’s website www.VaSportsHOF.com, or follow the Hall on social media;
Facebook – Virginia Sports Hall of Fame (@VaSportsHoF)
Twitter – @VaSportsHoF
Instagram – @vasportshof
LinkedIn – Virginia Sports Hall of Fame
All event photos courtesy of Lizzie Bankowski Photography
2023 Student-Athletes of the Year
Emily Edwards is a four sport varsity athlete at Galax High School in Galax Virginia. A member of the Volleyball, Basketball, Softball and Track and Field teams, Edwards has become a leader and champion for each in her time at Galax, including VHSL Shot-put State Champion just this past year. Edwards spends much of her time involved in extra curricular activities, serving as Vice President of her class, President of National Honors Society and member of Student Ambassadors. During all of this, she has still taken a heavy courseload but managed to maintain all A’s every year to climb near the top of her class earning a 4.48 GPA. She believes the skills learned through sport are priceless and teach countless lessons. She has earned her CNA Certification during her Dual Enrollment at Wytheville Community College. Edwards plans to attend a four year university to pursue a Nursing Degree and would love the opportunity to join the Track and Field Team as well.
Braden Lee is a senior at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg who is a member on the Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor T&F and Baseball Teams. Sporting a 4.259 GPA, he currently serves as Secretary for the National, Math and English Honor Societies, and is also a member of the Science and Spanish Honor Societies. Athletically, lee has excelled in multiple sports. He has been named team captain on the Cross Country and T&F teams earning honors including 4x All-District, and 2x All-Region among others. In the pool, Lee was also named team captain and earned 2x All-State recognition. On the diamond, Lee is a two year varsity starter on teams that have advanced to back to back state semifinals. Lee also offers plenty of support through community servoce work, having traveled on a mission trip to Guatemala, serving as a tutor for fellow athletes, and participating in clubs such as Young Life, Rambassadors, and Future Business Leaders of America. He is very interested in finance and plans to attend college while majoring in Business with career aspirations to become a Financial Advisor.
Ashlyn Newman, is a senior at Carroll County High School and has earned valedictorian status with a 4.615 GPA. Newman has spent four years on the girls soccer team at CCHS, two as varsity team captain, earning 1st team All-District two years and has tied the school record for most points in a game. She’s played with her soccer travel club since age 8 and was selected for Rush Select in 2020. She has also been a member of her school’s varsity cross country program. In her school community she has served as President for both her junior and senior classes, is President of the National Honor Society, Co-President of Save the Next Girl, a leader of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Parliamentarian of Future Business Leaders of America, and the Community Service Chair of Interact Club. She plans to attend Liberty University to pursue a degree in Music and Worship with a concentration in Biblical Studies.
Breyona Robinson, is a senior at Hermitage High School in Henrico Country who has earned letters on the Girls Varsity Basketball, Cross Country, and Outdoor Track Teams. Athletically, Robinson has earned accolades as Team MVP and 1st Team All-Region in basketball in both 2022 and 2023, and qualified for the state championships in the high jump in 2022. Robinson has earned a 4.1 GPA during her time at Hermitage, and is a member of National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, National Technical Honor Society and was the recipient of the Sports Backers All Star Scholar Athlete Award in 2023. In her community, Robinson has participated in food and clothing drives, helped collect toys for a local Children’s Hospital, and help tutor fellow students. Additionally, Robinson participated in the DREAM Porject in the Dominican Republic which offers literacy, early childhood education, and youth leadership to students in the country. She hopes to pursue a degree in Sports Medicine and play basketball collegiately.
2023 Student-Athlete Achievement Awards Finalists
Olaedo Anyanwu, a senior at William Byrd High School in Vinton, Virginia is a scholar in the classroom and a high performer on the track. A varsity captain her senior year on the cheerleading team as well as the track and field team, she is a four year letter winner on both. Anyanwu excels in the classroom as well claiming valedictorian status for her class, serving as a student representative on the Roanoke County Student Advisory Committee, member in the National Beta Club and the Student Advisory Council of her school. Anyanwu has shown her true passion for helping others through her various community service events which include volunteering with the Carilion Civic Memorial Hospital and putting meals together for Feeding Southwest Virginia. She was the recipient of her high schools “Top Terrier” Award which recognizes excellence in athletics, academics, community engagement and character which we is evident from all of her work in and around her community. Anyanwu plans to attend a four year university to major in chemistry or computer science and has career aspirations of opening her own practice as a dermatologist or computer scientist.
Matthew Bowman is a senior at Oakton High School in Vienna. A member of the Varsity Swim Team and current team captain, Bowman has earned District, Region and State Honors each of the last two seasons. Bowman has also competed on the Fair Oaks Swim Team since 2014. Academically, Bowman has accumulated a 4.4 GPA and has earned numerous awards for academic acheivements including, the AP Scholar with Distriction Award in 2023. Bowman spends much of his time volunteering through coaching, including a significant amoutn of time dedicated to the Special Olympics and helping swimmers with intellectual and developmental disability. Bowman would like to attend UVA to major in Biological Sciences before attending Dental School, and hopes to own his own practice one day.
Aliyah Elliott is a standout basketball captain for the L.C. Bird High School team as well as her AAU Fairfax Stars team. Athletically, Aliyah has excelled earning accolades such as second and third team all state. She is a consistent volunteer in her community with the Chesterfield Food Banks, and provides free swim lessons for inner city youth. Elliott is part of L.C. Bird’s National Honor Society, Junior Marshall and an honor roll student. Whlie managing all of this, she has taken her academics seriously to set herself apart from others. As an honors student, she has managed to earn a 4.3 GPA and ranks in the top five percent of her class. Elliott is an exceptional young lady who plans to attend a four year institution to continue basketball while majoring in Business and Marketing.
Taylor Jennings-Ward, from Kings Fork High School in Suffolk, is the school’s Track and Field 500 and 800 meter record holder. Jennings-Ward is a two time State Champion in the 4×200 and 4×100, and has earned the Kings Fork Sportsmanship Award that recognizes the individual who demonstrates high attitude and demeanor in academics, athletics, and character. Through her various community events including volunteering with the Special Olympics Big Feet Track and Field Meet and Mercy House food distribution, she has found the importance of serving her community and giving back. She is part of the International Baccalaureate Program at, a member of the National Honor Society member and consistent Honor Roll recipient. Jennings-Ward attended the US Naval Academy camp this summer and was awarded the Iron Woman Award which was given for her athletic performance at the camp. This award along with her exceptional background during her high school career shows her true passion, leadership and understanding of connecting athletics into the world. She plans to attend college as an athlete and major in Kinesiology, Exercise Science or Health Science.
Isaac Lamprecht is a senior at New Kent High School where he has earned a 4.368 GPA, and competes on his school’s varsity Cross Country, Indoor & Outdoor Track, and Swim teams. Lamprecht is also a champion triathlete, and is a Gold Medalist on the Team USA and Endorphin Fitness Youth National Triathlon team. He is a USAT three time All-American, two time USATF All-American and three time State Qualifier. He holds multiple accolades in his time spent on the Track and Field teams at New Kent including a AAU National Champion in the 3000 Meter Event. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Gold Medalist of the Presidental Service Award in 2023 and Dual-Enrolled Student who will have earned an associates degree by May 2024. As a volunteer, Lamprecht has supported Thrive Physcial Therapy, Live Red Foundation, Endorphin Fitness, Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, and USA Paratriathlon. Lamprecht plans to attend either Duquense Univeristy or Wingate in their Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program. His career aspirations are to become a Physical Therapist and work for a professional franchise.
Nelson Lattimer is a senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke who letters in Varsity Track and Field, Cross Country and the Freshman Basketball Teams. Nelson is an All-State Athlete both in the indoor and outdoor 4×800 meter and All-District in the 800 meter. Academically, Lattimer has achieved a 4.558 GPA and is a National Merit Semifinalist and African American Scholar. He has also received honors from the College Board for the National Recognition Program, and AP Scholar with Distinction. Outside of school, Lattimer serves on the Youth Advisory Board at the Children’s Science Center, and has volunteered for organizations such as Food for Neighbors, Wreaths Across America, and the ECHO Summer Backpack Program among others. Lattimer is highly interested in Mathematics and Computer Science. He would like to attend a four year university to study computer science while hoping to join a cross country or T&F team.
Lillian Parish is a student-athlete from Hanover High School (Mechanicsville) who has spent all of her high school career on the softball team. She is a Regional Champion, All-State Selection, All Metro Selection, Triple Crown National Champion MVP and three time National Champion. Academically, Lillian has maintained a 4.2 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society member, and BETA, and is a current pharmaceutical intern at Walgreens. In her community, Parrish has volunteer at youth church groups, completed 50+ hours of community service for BETA and NHS purposes, and volunteered with local softball groups every week during the winter to help develop younger players. She will be attending University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill as a student athlete on the softball team.
Emma Slutzah is a Hanover High School senior in Mechanicsville who has maintained a 4.072 GPA in her time. She is a 4 year Varsity player on the Softball Team and Girl’s Basketball team. She is a regional champion all three seasons in softball and has earned multiple accolades individually including First Team All Region, First Team All State, First Team all Metro and 2022 Top Offensive Player Award. Slutzah also plays for the Hanover Hornets National Softball Team where she was a USA Fall Champion in 2021, PGF NC State Champion in 2022 and USA Junior Olympic Cup Finalist in 2023. Academically, she is enrolled in the Hanover High School Health Sciences Specialty Center with a focus in Sports Medicine, and is a member of both the National Honor Society, and National Beta Club. Slutzah has contributed over 100 hours of community service to various causes during her time as a high school student-athlete. Slutzah will continue her athletic career at Campbell University and plans to study Kinesiology in order to achieve her goal of becoming either a Sports Nutrionist or Physical Therapist.
Megan Spear is a Frank W. Cox High School senior who has achieved a GPA of 4.4 while competing on the Field Hockey and Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Teams. She ranks in the top ten percent of her class and has completed a rigorous courseload, which has included six AP level courses, and earned the Carson Scholar Award. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Science, Math and Social Studies Honor Societies and was recognized on the NFHCA National All Academic Squad in 2023. A three time VHSL State Champion in Field Hockey, Spear has been named to USA Today’s Top 50 National Field Hockey Student Athletes, and earned 1st Team All-State and All-Region honors In her community, Spear has spent countless hours supporting her numerous initiatives through her church, Holy Family Catholic Church, has volunteered with her local SPCA, supported food drives for area homeless, and served as a camp counselor for youth field hockey camps. Spear will attend Dartmouth University to further her academic and athletic career in Field Hockey. She plans to pursue a degree in International Business with a concentration in Finance and Economics.
Tazewell Rae is a senior at West Point High School who has accumulated a 4.66 GPA throughout this high school career. He is a current member of the Varsity Football, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Soccer Team. Academically, he has earned membership in the National Honors, Spanish Honors, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Socieities and is the Senior Class Vice President. He spent time as a Captain on the Football Team and earned other honors in T&F including First Team All-Region Shot Put and Discus. Rae spends much of his free time volunteering with the Y, and where he can within West Point HS. He would like to continue his athletic and academic career at an instate institution while majoring in Civil Engineering.
Henry Tragle, III is a senior at Riverside High School in Leesburg who has achieved a 4.31 GPA while being a four year Varsity member on the swim team. He has earned USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Honors, Potomac Valley Swimming Scholar Athlete recognition, and is a member fn the National Honor Society. Athletically, Henry’s focus was swimming and he has created an exceptional record for himself, with honors including NISCA All-American in 100 Freestyle, 2x VSHL Class 5 State Champion in 100 Free, 50 Free and Runner Up in 400 Free Relay. Additionally, Tragle was named to the Washington Post All-Met Honorable Mention team, and holds many National Championship Titles in relays in the NCSA Short Course. In his community, Tragle has supported the Special Olympics, served as an elementary school mentor, and is a USA American Red Cross certified lifeguard. Tragles will attend Virginia Tech in the fall to continue his academic and athletic career on the the Men’s Swimming Team. He plans to pursue a degree in Management Consulting and Analytics with a Minor in Engineering Innovation.
Vincent Yi is a senior at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach who currently holds a GPA of 4.39. At Ocean Lakes, Vincent plays on the Tennis and Volleyball teams and earned the 2023 Tennis MVP Award and 2022 All Tidewater Impact Player Award in Volleyball. Vincent spent his summer interning with the Stanford Clinical Science, Technology and Medicine School, and has had public research accepted at the IEEE BHI conference in Pittsburgh. He has volunteered his time as a tennis coach, violin instructor, and through efforts at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. He has a passion for medicine and would like to continue his academic career attending a four year institution pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering.