Athletes of the year
Walker Kessler, Woodward Academy: The 7-foot senior center averaged 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocked shots in leading the War Eagles their first state title. He had 17 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots in a 75-56 victory against Cross Creek in the Class AAAA final. Kessler, the No. 20 senior nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings, has signed to play basketball at North Carolina.
» All-Metro boys team | All-State boys team
Raven Johnson, Westlake: The 5-foot-8 junior guard averaged 15 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.9 assists for a team that won its third consecutive Class AAAAAAA title. Johnson is the only player to start in all three finals victories. She scored 23 points in the 2020 final, a 72-53 victory against previously unbeaten Collins Hill. Johnson, who is uncommitted, is ranked as the No. 13 junior nationally by ESPN.
» All-Metro girls team | All-State girls team
Raven Johnson (25) led Westlake to its third straight state title in 2020.
Credit: Curtis Compton
Credit: Curtis Compton
Sidney Butler, Union Grove: The senior, a varsity-team member for four years, earned all-region honors and was named the Georgia Cheerleading Coaches Association state cheerleader of the year. "She will practice everything until it is perfect, and then perform with all her heart," Union Grove coach Kristen Tilson said. Butler will attend Georgia and plans to try out for the cheerleading team.
Cross country (boys)
Graham Blanks, Athens Academy: The senior set an all-classification record at the state meet in Carrollton when he ran the course in 15:33.32 to win the Class A Private individual championship. The Spartans finished fifth in the team competition. It was the second consecutive individual state title for Blanks, who had a winning time of 16:31.89 in 2018. He will run cross country and track at Harvard next season.
Cross country (girls)
McKenna Trapheagen, Woodland-Cartersville: The senior posted the fastest time at the state meet, running the course in 18:27.67 to win the Class AAAAA individual title for the second consecutive season. During Trapheagen's four-year career, Woodland won two team titles (2016, 2018) and had two runner-up finishes (2017, 2019). She has signed to run cross country and track at Georgia Tech.
Marietta tight end Arik Gilbert (2) had 105 receptions for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019.
Credit: Jason Getz
Credit: Jason Getz
Arik Gilbert, Marietta: The 6-foot-5, 253-pound senior tight end was the Gatorade national player of the year, a USA Today first-team All-American and the No. 1 tight end (No. 5 player overall) in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He finished the season with 105 receptions for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns and led a star-studded Marietta team to its first state title since 1967. Gilbert has signed with LSU.
» All-State team | All-Metro team
Jahni Kerr, Wesleyan: The senior outfielder posted a .534 batting average and had 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, seven doubles, seven triples, 41 stolen bases and 55 runs scored for the Class A Private runner-up. Wesleyan won state titles in 2017 and 2018. Kerr was a USA Today All-American and the No. 6 player in FloSoftball's national rankings. She has signed to play softball for Florida State.
Jake Magahey, Mill Creek: The senior won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races at the Class AAAAAAA meet for the third consecutive season. His time of 1:34.37 in the 200 broke the state record, and his 4:15.63 in the 500 last season broke a 36-year-old national mark. He is one of four swimmers tied for the No. 1 ranking nationally by CollegeSwimming.com. He has signed to swim for Georgia.
Abby McCulloh, Parkview: The junior won the 200-yard free (1:47.95) and 500-yard free (4:46.21) at the Class AAAAAAA meet for the second consecutive season and earned another title when she anchored her team's first-place 400-yard free relay (3:29.26). McCulloch is ranked as the No. 1 junior in Georgia, according to CollegeSwimming.com. She has committed to swim for Auburn.
Savannah Bray, Etowah: The 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter led the state in kills this season with 734 and had 705 digs, 53 blocks and 33 service aces for an Etowah team that reached the Class AAAAAAA semifinals. She broke the state's career record for kills with 2,304 and the school's career record for digs with 2,314. Bray will play volleyball next season at the U.S. Military Academy.
Gavin Kane, Cambridge: The senior won the Class AAAAAA championship in the 182-pound class and helped the Bears to a second-place finish in the team competition at the traditional state meet. The individual title was the fourth for Kane, who finished his high school career with a record of 167-2. Kane, named the No. 1 wrestler in the state by Georgia Grappler, has signed to wrestle at North Carolina.