Area athletes garnering national spotlight

It is no secret that the Panhandle is one of the richest athletic locations in terms of producing blue-chip prospects.

But it seems like our neck of the woods has been especially fruitful of late considering the recent onslaught of collegiate All-Americans, top-10 MLB draft prospects and D-1 signees.

Two days ago I sat down with Choctawhatchee senior Bryan Baker to discuss the upcoming draft (June 6-8). The day after that I had a chat with Choctawhatchee senior Brittany Brown, a standout guard who will star on the Florida State  women's basketball team this fall. Meanwhile up north at the same time, Sports Editor Brandon Walker was sitting down with Niceville senior Nick Haynes, a three-sport standout and offensive lineman who will star the University of Kentucky this fall.

Then today I got wind of NWF State shortstop Nick Masonia earning honorable mention All-American honors, an accolade that has dominated the local headlines lately. Also earning All-American recognition recently were NWF State point guard and sophomore Chris Jones, who is bound for the University of Louisville next season, Niceville and NWF State alum and current Troy outfielder Danny Collins, South Walton alum and current Alabama tennis standout Alex Guarachi, and Niceville alum and current Seminole infielder Kelly Hensley (Academic All-American).

Accolades like this are nothing to gloss over or take for granted. Being grouped with the creme de la creme in the country is impressive even for the Panhandle, which I hope continues to be represented well both locally and nationally by our neck of the woods.

By SETH STRINGER | Daily News Published: June 6 15:48, 2013
 

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